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Bad to Know
Smile  A short but interesting read.

It's Bad You Know: More Statistics From Harper's Index
by Jaime O'Neill | December 29, 2019


"Statistics are a bit like clay, you can fashion them into damn near any shape you please. But some statistics only bend in directions that some of us would rather not go. In this month's issue of Harper's, the Index they publish at the front of the magazine each month has several stats that don't bode well for the future of our species.

So, since my Golden Years hobby seems to involve bumming people out on a regular basis, I thought I'd share some of the stuff that bummed me out in case you were blissfully unaware, living in a bubble of your own worries, marching to your own dirge, and not needing any help from me to realize how so much has gone to shit despite all that fretting you've no doubt done all your life. As have I. It was the least I could do.

Take, for instance, the fact that plastic is so ubiquitous that the average person ingests 5 grams of the stuff each and every week. Think of that for a moment. Then think of the whales who wash up dead, full of plastic, from plastic bottles to plastic toys. I suspect, however, that under Trump, the EPA has set new dietary standards that define plastic as a food, with a minimum daily requirement that will tell us we need more than 5 grams a week just to get by and feel tip-top.

Or, if you're not bothered by plastic passing through you on a steady basis, would it bother you to know that American southern states have closed 1,327 polling places since 2012? And might you be a bit disturbed to learn that half of those polling places were closed in Texas where they routinely elect assholes like Ted Cruz, numb nuts like Louie Gohmert, crooked mediocrities like Rick Perry, or super rotten guys like Governor Greg Abbott? And would it surprise you much to learn that nearly all those disappearing polling places were in targeted districts where Democrats are known to be present in large numbers? Republicans know they can't play fair and win, so they don't.
Or, closer to home, perhaps, how does it feel to know that the richest 400 households in the United States pay 23% of their income to taxes, but the poorest half of American households pay 24% of their income to taxes? Seem fair to you? Progressive? Me, neither.

Or, how does it strike you (pun intended) that New York City cops who commit domestic violence lose an average of 30 days of vacation pay. However, if they are discourteous to a supervising officer, they will be punished with an average of twice that many days of vacation pay. It would seem to say quite a bit about priorities, none of it good.
Or, would it surprise you to know that video games are so addictive that 38% of those who are wedded to spending their time that way have skipped a meal in order to keep playing. And, for those of you who still use public transportation, be advised that 25% of gamers admit to having skipped a shower. Oh, and incidentally, teenage kids in households with more than $100,000 a year in income spend an average of 409 minutes in front of computer/phone screens, but kids who live in households with less than $35,000 in income spend over a hundred minutes more than their more affluent peers.

And, if you have come to worry about how polarized our nation is now under Trump, how absolutely divided we are, and how vulnerable that makes us, you might share the slumping feeling I experienced when I read that 76% of Republicans view the Democratic Party as "too extreme, which is precisely the same percentage of Democrats who see the Republican Party as "too extreme." Ain't that a bitch?

But then it mostly all is these days, wouldn't you say?

So, I turned away from Harper's and took up The New York Times, where I learned that anti-Semitic crimes have increased by 18% in New York City. I also learned that the rich pricks are doing very well, thank you very much, with sales of tax deductible business jets up 15% at the end of the third quarter over the same period last year. I also found out that only one-third of 8th graders across the nation are "proficient readers." Last but not least, I learned that Special Ops. Chief Edward Gallagher, the monster, thug, and sociopath Trump pardoned recently was a real piece of very bad work. Just the sort of true shithead you'd expect a guy like Trump to pardon.

What is the "takeaway" from all this? Choose from the following:
a) Read less.
b) Read more.
c) Ignorance is bliss
d) It's bad you know
e) It's always bad, you know.
f) all of the above
g) none of the above
h) Fill in the blank______________

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