Tale of Two Couples
Don and Shelly live next to Dave and Leslie. Both couples bought their homes in the past year, and Don and Shelly just got married last week. Dave and Leslie are living together unmarried. Some would call that shacking up, or more politely, common law marriage, but there are big differences. Now Don and Shelly aren't religious and didn't have a big church wedding, they just went down to the courthouse and saw a judge, but if Don gets sick, say goes into the hospital, Shelly can make care decisions for him, she's his wife. If Dave were in the same situation Leslie has no standing as far as the hospital is concerned. Dave's parents or other next of kin would need to be contacted. When tax time comes Don and Shelly will pay less taxes filing jointly than they did filing individually when they were still single. Dave and Leslie are missing out on that benefit as well. And although both couples are young if one partner dies the house and property won't be treated the same. Shelly would inherit Don's estate as his wife, but if Dave died, his estate would probably go to his siblings and Leslie could be out in the cold. Still , no one should get railroaded into getting married if they don't want to. But who said anything about not wanting to? See Dave is David Henry Smith and Leslie is Leslie Raymond Jones, and in most states they can't get married. And you thought it was all about sex.
David Blaine [10:35 AM]
Whats a spoiler? In athletics, when one team can't possibly make the playoffs or championship, but they could knock their opponant out if they win, that's called a spoiler. I never liked that. If you are the team with the weaker record, are you supposed to lay down and give the "better" team the game? If you have the better record do you want to go to the playoffs or championship because someone threw you a bone? Neither side should want the other one to do anything less than give it their best effort, and that would apply to politics as well. Ralph Nader has announced he will be running for president as an independent candidate, and a lot of people don't like that. In the last election, if Nader wasn't running the Democrats could well have kept the White House.
Still Nader has every right to run if he likes. There are a lot of folks who wish to show their displeasure with what is effectively a two party system, and voting for an independent lets them do that. I don't think that any independent candidate has a chance to become president, but that doesn't mean a new political party will never take the presidency. Remember that we have a lot of parties on the ballot for each election. Where I live a lot of people like the Libertarian Party's ideals. On some blogs people have described the American political choice as "Pepsi/Coke" because the Republicans and Democrats don't seem to be that much different from one another. Perhaps Ralph will inspire someone to demand Vernors eventualy.
David Blaine [7:39 PM]
NAFTA or CAFTA? The short and sweet analysis by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is summarized in the following brief statements:
NAFTA has not helped the Mexican economy keep pace with the growing demand for jobs.
Real wages for most Mexicans today are lower than when NAFTA took effect.
NAFTA has not stemmed the flow of poor Mexicans into the United States in search of jobs.
Free Trade agreements should not be thought of as an end in themselves...they should be viewed as part of a larger effort toward...cooperation toward common goals.
Read the whole report here, but don't try to operate heavy equipment while reading it, you may fall asleep!
The Carneigie report authors hope to see other developing countries fair better in future free trade agreements. It is interesting that the report notes both presidents Clinton and Bush sold NAFTA to the public as a way to get more jobs in the U.S., and that the jobs have not developed to any significant degree.
David Blaine [12:38 PM]