why Donald Trump is a dangerous candidate





Sam Harris (born April 9, 1967) is an American author, philosopher, and neuroscientist.
Sam Harris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Desired Things

 Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with the universe,
whatever you conceive it to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Original by
Max Ehrmann
1927

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost
1916

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight



Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas
1952

The Magic of Dialogue



The Magic of Dialogue

The act of collaboration must start with dialogue. You cannot build relationships without having an understanding of your potential partners, and you cannot achieve that understanding without a special form of communication that goes beyond ordinary conversation....But what is dialogue, and what can it do for us that other ways of talking cannot?... Doing dialogue takes special skills that most Americans do not yet possess.

Webster defines the purpose of dialogue as "seeking mutual understanding and harmony." I put less emphasis on harmony than the dictionary does, because the outcome of dialogue is not always harmony. In fact, as a consequence of dialogue you may come to understand why you disagree so vehemently with someone else; there will be better understanding but not necessarily more harmony.

All practitioners of dialogue emphasize that debate is the opposite of dialogue. The purpose of debate is to win an argument, to vanquish an opponent. Dialogue has very different purposes--it's about exploring common ground. Dialogue is also different from discussion. Like discussion, dialogue can take place among a larger group than two people. There are distinctive features of dialogue that differentiate it from discussion or other forms of talk.

1. Equality and the absence of coercive influences. Mixing people of unequal status and authority does not necessarily preclude dialogue, but it makes it more difficult to achieve. Dialogue becomes possible only after mutual trust has been built and the higher-ranking people have, for the occasion, removed their badges of authority and are participating as true equals.

2. Listening with empathy. The gift of empathy--the ability to think someone else's thoughts and feel someone else's feelings--is indispensable to dialogue. This is why discussion is more common than dialogue: people find it easy to express their opinions and to bat ideas back and forth with others, but most of the time they don't have either the motivation or the patience to respond empathically to opinions with which they may disagree or that they find uncongenial.

3. Bringing assumptions into the open. Unexamined assumptions are a classic route to misunderstandings and errors of judgment. Dialogue requires that participants be uninhibited in bringing their own and other participants' assumptions into the open, where, within the safe confines of the dialogue, others can respond to them without challenging them or reacting to them judgmentally.

4. Err on the side of including people who disagree. Many meetings take the form of preaching to the converted. This is because it is much easier to spend time congratulating people who agree with you on the wisdom of their views than to seek mutual understanding with people holding different views.

5. Initiate dialogue through a gesture of empathy. A gesture of empathy is probably the closest thing to an "open sesame" for dialogue. Gestures of empathy often come as a surprise. In our transactions with one another, we are so used to wearing defensive armor that expressions of empathy are unexpected--and disarming. (A gesture of empathy usually involves acknowledging the validity of the other person's point of view.)

What to focus on during a dialogue:

Damn Taxes

Lot of talk about the terribleness of the President’s proposal to let president Bush’s tax cuts expire for the 2 top brackets. Mostly as sound bites, or their print / Web equivalent. It seems that the loudest of them oppose it. Either because it's being touted as a screw-the-rich scheme. Or oppose it based on the proposition that since tax cuts create jobs, any increase is a job killer. And in fact, they should be lowered.

Part 1. Screw the Rich

Just who would be effected by this? And just how terrible is the effect?

First, who are effected ?
    For 2007;
       Percent of population falling into the 33% bracket = 1.2
       Percent of population falling into the 35% bracket = 0.7
      (Latest numbers I can find, source; Tax Policy Center ) .

   For convenience, call it 2%. 2 percent.

Second, how are they effected ? Let’s examine just the 33% bracket. We’ll use a single person, everthing is done. All the adjustments are complete. The amounts used are the bottom line. Line 43 in fact. “Total Taxable Income”

To begin with, increasing the $250 K bracket from 33% to 35% is not an increase $82,500 to $87,500. In fact, the 2009 tax on $250K is $72,643 (Source; 2009 Tax Computation Worksheet for Line 44 ). Using the bracket rate as any kind of guage is highly misleading since it only covers the amount inside the bracket. For example, the 2009, 33% bracket covers $171,550 to $372,950.Amounts below that are taxed at the lower rates, and amounts above it are taxed at the higher rates. This is important, and is almost always omitted, or glossed over.

How important? From the same form, the top end of the 28% bracket is $171,549. The tax liability on that is $41,753.72. Adding $3, we jump 5%, into the dreaded 33% bracket. The tax liability on $171,552 is $41,755.16.

Look at that. An increase of 5%, and an increase of $1.16. WHAT? A $1.16 tax on $3.00? That’s a lot!  Almost 50%. But, not really. It’s a $1.16 increase on the total tax. Think of it this way;

          . Another way to express it is as a percentage of his taxable income. Tax/Income, or
         Mr. A has an income of $171,549 and tax of  $41, 753      41,753 / 171,549 = 24.338%.
         Mr. B has an income of $171,552 and tax of  $41,755.      41,755 / 171,552 = 24.339%.
                           That’s not 5%. That’s a whopping 0.001%.

That bracket specifies: (“Taxable Income” X 33%) - $14,857.50 = Amount Owed. The $14,857.50 is the offset amount that has been attributed to the tax due on the lower brackets, inflation, and cost of living adjustments.

Using that formula on three taxable incomes in that bracket results in;
        Amount = Tax
      $171,550 = $ 41,754.50
      $272,250 = $ 74,985.50
      $372,950 = $108,216.50

Remembering that “Taxable income” is the gross income minus all the deductions, exceptions, credits, etc. And assuming that the above amounts reflect none of those, dividing the tax by the income results in the “Effective Tax” as a percentage of income. So, the person that has no deductions, no exceptions, no credits and no etc, with an income of $171,550, $272,250, and $372,950 pays repectively, 24.3, 27.5, and 29.1 percent in taxes. As you factor in the deductions and such, those percentages become even less.

If we plug the 35% proposed rollback rate into that formula we get;
       $272,250 = $ 80,430
       $372,950 = $115,675
And an effective rate of 29.5% and 31.1%

Proposed effective rate on $272,250............29.5
Current effective rate on $272,250...............27.5
                                             Difference = 02.0%

Is 2 cents on the dollar onerous? Are the wealthy getting screwed? I suppose it all depends on your point of view. If you buy a 1 dollar item, the tax is 2 cents and you only have $2.00, you will have 49% of your money left. You can’t even buy 2. If you have $8.00, you will have 87.25% left. You can buy 3 and have money left over. ($272,250 is 4 times the 2007 median income of $67,609. Source; HINC-06--Part1 ) .

Some further reading;
A very interesting comment on Effective Tax is here; Buffett Slams Tax System Disparities
A discussion of Marginal and Average (Effective) taxes is here; Marginal and average tax rate

Part 2. "Effects Employment?" to come