Friday, February 28, 2014

The Data

The Beer:  Beer fridge is up and running with two kegs of Red Wheat IPA inside.

The Bicycle:  Still hanging in the garage.  I should be able to ride after Friday.

The VRWC:  Here is the raw data.  It may be a little tedious, but I am going to cover much of this and give you a little optimism to go with it.

So the Washington Post publishes these maps and charts and tells us what they mean...superficially.  But there is more to most of these than meets the eye.

  1. I notice Wisconsin is in the 2nd Quintile for states where people are most "well off", based on Gallup's "Well Being Index".  The well-being index looks at what they consider the 5 essential elements of well-being which you can read about here.  The states in the top quintile are not all that surprising, considering the economic condition and sociological makeup of those states.  The inclusion of Texas in the third quintile, considering the boom going on here now is a little surprise, but there may be other social factors in play.
  2. "Income Inequality" is a major political football right now.  Personally, as long as the money is made legally and ethically I really don't care how much money someone makes.  Not my problem.  But it is interesting that the largest inequality in income is in cities run by Democrats and that have been run by Democrats for decades.  San Francisco is the biggest surprise at #2 because it has such an egalitarian reputation and is populated by gays, yuppies, Whites and Asians.  The silver buckle of the Left Coast Belt.  The disparity baffles me.  Certainly high taxes, expensive housing and other costs play into that.
  3. With the nearby influence of Washington D.C.s political class, does it surprise anyone that Maryland is one of the three states with the highest number of millionaires per capita?
  4. People moving to and from is not terribly surprising, either.  People leave places with no jobs, high taxes for places with many jobs and low taxes.  The boom in fracking has helped several states gain high paying jobs and new citizens (TX, MT, ND, CO).
  5. Conservatives outnumber Liberals, but not the combination of Liberals and Moderates.  This is why it is incumbent on Conservatives to embrace the moderates.
  6. The article points out (correctly) that while "unemployment" is down, long term unemployment remains historically high nearly everywhere.  It is notable that the states with the highest long-term unemployment tend to be more Liberal/Democrat-controlled.  California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey.  I would like to see trend on this and maybe I can find it else where.
  7. It is interesting to note that in Map 12, the Midwest and parts of the West were least affected by the recession.  Texas to North Dakota shows little impact remaining from the recession as does Washington State.  The Liberal East Coast and California still suffer.
  8. In Map 17 lives the hope of those of us who are Conservative.  The 2008 advantage of 30 states leaning or strongly Democrat is down to 3.  It is all about the swing states now.
  9. Map 23 might be the most interesting map of all.  It shows 116 counties where over half of the uninsured live.  80% of that is made up of three counties with very large Hispanic (and illegal) populations.  What this tells me is that Obamacare was devised for the same reason Amnesty is proposed.  Because who doesn't want 30 million new voters?
  10. There appears to be a correllation between pizza joint proximity and brewery density.  Just sayin'.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

4 Women

The Beer: A Red Wheat IPA is kegged and pretty much ready.  Now I have to get my beer fridge up and running.

The Bicycle:  At some point, I will have to start riding again.  It really needs to be soon.

The VRWC:  This is a one-off posting.  An observation of human frailty rather than political opinion.

They had been married nearly 10 years.  He tried to tell her, but she never really seemed to understand.  He was always willing to put her needs first, but it rarely seemed that she cared about his most important needs.  After a time, he began to question if it was him she loved or if she loved the idea of being "married", being a "wife", having a "husband".

Childhood sweethearts, they had been married nearly 40 years.  The cancer not only killed him and emptied their bank accounts, it emptied her heart and soul.  At 58, she was still beautiful.  Rubenesque and red-haired, just beginning to show some gray.  She was aloof, sometimes to the point of cold until she reached her lover's bed.  Then she became a tender and caring partner, attentive and accepting, needing and giving.  But her true lover was in her mind.  It was the memory of him and his touch, his desire, his heart and soul.

At 40, she was widowed 10 years already.  In that time she had also lost a child.  She kept herself occupied by volunteering as well as working and being "mom" to the neighborhood.  She met her lover at the pool table over a couple beers.  He whispered in her ear, "Come home with me."   They were both lonely for human contact and this met their need.  She thought he was "sexy" and he saw a beauty behind the stress and weariness.  They shared each others bed for a time.  When it came time to part, she said, "It's ok."

His abuse sucked the life out of her.  She lost the will to live for a time.  When she finally left him, he continued to torment her.  He allowed the house to go to foreclosure, he destroyed the things she loved.  He tried to turn their son against her.  When she found a lover, he wished him dead.  He hit her. Her lover adored her.  She left her life behind and came to live with her lover.  Her lover told her she was beautiful, she was smart, she was funny.  They were completely open with each other, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Their bed was a playground.  Their lives became instantly entwined.

Of course, this is all a work of fiction.