Monday, November 26, 2018

Murder in the World and in the US - Part Two

Part One of this Article has presented  data on and analysis of the distribution of murders across selected countries, and  the concentration of murders among a minority of the world’s nations. In Part Two, I  discuss the worldwide distribution of murder, and compare the US with other parts of the world.

3. The Worldwide Distribution of Murder:

Table 5, below, shows the regional distribution of the 47 most violent countries of the world.

Table 5. Regional Distribution of the Top 47 countries, Ranked by Murder Rates          

number of countries
1. Latin America
2. Caribbean Island nations
Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean island nations
3. Africa
4. Europe


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Murder in the World and the US - Part One



November, 2018: Another couple of  mass shootings. Nothing out of the ordinary. We have become inured to this. We hardly  react any more. A short while ago it was a synagogue in Pittsburgh, then a nightclub in Southern California, next week it’ll be a school, or a shopping mall, or some other public place. The killing rages on, a dozen innocent people mowed down at a time, often more than that.

The solution is obvious, and before our eyes. It has been so for years. All you have to do is look at dozens of  comparable countries, follow their example, and voila; problem solved. Thousands of American lives saved every year.

In a separate post - Mass Murder Ad Nauseam - I will once again go over the main aspects of this issue. But for now, I am tired of repeating the same refrain.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You


We have all heard the expression ‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes’, but even though they are both certain, we don’t spend weeks on end agonizing over death every time April comes around. It is taxes that gives us heart palpitations, high blood pressure and other physical ailments. Death actually has the advantage over taxes of being non-negotiable. We cannot fudge the books or take any deductions on death. You cannot hide in an offshore account, death will find you, trust me.

But what death mostly has going for it is that it’s a lot less complicated than taxes. I found that out the moment I started doing research for this article. So, rather than pretend that I know what I am talking about, I will admit up front that this essay resembles a piece of Swiss cheese with more holes than cheese.

Let me start with the 47%. Was presidential candidate Mitt Romney right about the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax, during his 2012 campaign? Yes. There is a large proportion of Americans that do not owe money to the government because they either don’t earn enough, they have too many expenses or because they have a lot of deductions.

Was presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrong about the 47%? Yes. The 47% pays payroll tax, state, local and sales tax, gas and property tax. Not only do they pay all these taxes they pay a larger share of their income towards these taxes than the rich. It’s called a ‘regressive tax’. Read more...

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Canvassing Adventure


My friend Karen and I are wading through a thick layer of multi-colored autumn leaves, going door to door in a lower class neighborhood in Nashua, New Hampshire. There are 3 days left before voting day, when Americans all over the country, will go to the polls for the mid-term elections. Since our home state of Massachusetts is considered a sure thing for the Democratic party, we decided to change the course of history by canvassing in beautiful New Hampshire.

Canvassing is a very American art of persuasion. It is part of any political campaign and although there is no clear evidence that it makes an iota of difference in the overall outcome of an election, it gives the people who are involved the feeling that they are doing something, which is what we all badly need right now.

We chose Nashua, the second largest city in the Granite State, because it is close to the state line and more importantly, because it is dotted with Dunkin’ Donuts stores, which is a very important part of our canvassing routine. Read more...

Monday, November 5, 2018

Dionne Warwick

On our recent flight to Europe, we met the legendary songstress Dionne Warwick. I am not telling you about this as a silly boast (there is nothing to boast about accidentally bumping into a celebrity, which I am sure has happened to many of you, and which in and of itself means nothing). No, I am telling you this because of the very fun and funny way in which it happened, and mostly because it was an excellent learning lesson for me:

We were on our way to Brussels, Belgium. We had just spent the night crossing the Atlantic, and we landed in Dublin, Ireland, for our connection to Belgium.

We had a couple of hours to spare, so we went shopping a little bit in the duty-free area. I was standing in line to pay the cashier for some minor purchases. Next to me stood a thirty-something man, also buying some trinkets. He courteously said to me “Go ahead, sir.” I thanked him, and we started chatting a bit. He asked me where I was going, and I told him - Brussels, Belgium. I asked him where he was heading. He replied that he and his family were going to some seaside town in England...he couldn’t quite remember the name of the place...

Figures, I thought to myself. Geography isn’t Americans’ forte. Could he mean London, maybe? The guy was probably not an experienced traveler; maybe his first time in Europe? I also thought, how nice, that “common folks” can travel overseas for leisure... Read more...