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By The Numbers
Issues That Count
July 16, 2018

You are offered a choice of three candidates.

You pick one but are told your candidate may not win due to the electoral college making each vote a state-by-state contest. They offer to let you change your vote to one of the two candidates left. Is it better to change your vote or stick with your initial pick?

It almost sounds like the Monty Hall problem, except candidates are not new cars. They are each at least 35 year old. They have been around the block. Their tires have been kicked. Some have a trunk full of baggage.

In the Monty Hall problem, a contestant picks one of three doors, trying to get a car but two of the doors each have a goat. One of the goats is particularly ornery and confused. Before opening the door the contestant picked, the host opens a different door, which has a less-ornery goat. The host might give the contestant the option to switch doors (presumably to the other unopened door) or stay with the initial pick. Or the host might offer bribes to not switch. Three thousand dollars. Four thousand dollars. Five thousand dollars. “Cash money.
simplified Monty Hall problem
What should they do?

The contestant stares at the two unopened doors, thinks it is one or the other, so it's a fifty-fifty chance. The contestant and the voter have already lost. They are facing the wrong problem.

Why doesn't their vote count? Who is trying to get voters to see a three-way race as a two-way race?

The host is playing psychological games, offering a switch or making the contestant think their selection is valuable by trying to bribe them not to switch. Russia and Cambridge Analytica were practicing psychological warfare too in the 2016 U.S. election and other elections worldwide.

Monty Hall summed up the Monty Hall problem by saying, “If you can get me to offer you $5,000 not to open the door, take the money and go home.

Monty Hall died last September. I cannot help wonder if his will offered his three children: an envelope, a curtain, or a seemingly simple box of Rice-a-Roni (the San Francisco treat).

baby Donald flies

“The angry man will defeat himself in battle and in life.”  - Samuri maxim

Music Association: Nena - 99 Luftballons

Hopes and Dreams

Hey, that's my book!
That's Entertainment
Old School Media

July 13, 2018

The modern dodgeball of entertainment and advertising has so thoroughly dominated lives, that people wonder what life was like before media-phones.

It used to be books.

Abe Lincoln used to walk miles to borrow a book. At least that's what I heard on TV or a podcast or on Wikipedia or an exercise commercial or something.

It probably went something like this.

Knock, knock.

Oh, it's that Lincoln boy again. Let's act like we're not home.

He already borrowed a book. We only have the two books!

Music Association: Gordon Lightfoot - Read My Mind
Picture Caption: “Hey, that's my book!

Language Watch
July 10, 2018

no immigrant has taken jobs

No immigrant has taken a job from a real American. You were laid off by a capitalist who took advantage of that immigrant to increase profits.
Nothing makes that capitalist happier than to hear that you're idiotic enough to blame the immigrant and not the business owner who laid off the more expensive laborer.

Music Association: Billie Holiday - They Can't Take That Away

Hopes and Dreams

Two Steps Backgerrymandering congressional district lines
Democracy In-Action
July 4, 2018

History almost never marches forward.
It does side-steps of ego, fear, and power grabs.
Progress isn't very progressive.

When I was a kid, I had a poster on my wall that said,
When My Brother Is Imprisoned, I Am Not Free.
Being sent to my room without dinner was a social issue.

I imagined a fair world, a just world, and a free world.
I was told that was what we had.
I read Plato's Republic, Thomas More's Utopia, and Thomas Paine's Common Sense.

I was told we had a better world.
I was told we were the free world.
I was told we were the land of opportunity.

I was told everyone could vote.
I was told the person with the most votes won.
I was told we lived in a democracy.

I was told lies.

The United States is a limited-democratic, representational republic
with more prisoners than any other country
and cowering old people afraid of strangers.

Our voting rights differ state-by-state.
District lines drawn to box in minority parties.
With only Maine and Vermont allowing prisoners to vote.

Russians colluded with the presidential candidate's sons and staff,
while Facebook's data fueled Cambridge Analytica
to manipulate the flaws of the Electoral College.

Shutting out and shutting up, isn't what this country was about.
That wasn't what I was told.
That wasn't the sales job I received.

As we celebrate Independence Day, may mental fireworks highlight what our democracy should be.

Music Association: The Who - I'm Free
Book Quotation: “Pride's criterion of prosperity is not what you've got yourself, but what other people haven't got. Pride would refuse to set foot in paradise, if there'd be no under-privileged classes there to gloat over and order about...” - Utopia by Thomas More, 1516

Music Videos

Landmine Hopscotch


Cambridge Analytica's proxy war for Spanky

Impact Investing

Holiday Gifs of Cats and Kittens Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5  

Climate Change Solutions

Southdale Hennepin Library

Wonder Woman

Food Fraud

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