Sites of the Week: October 26, 2014

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”

– George Burns

Factoid: The federal government’s deficit for the 2014 fiscal year fell to $486 billion—a $195 billion drop from 2013. Measured as a share of the economy, the 2014 deficit was 2.8 percent of the gross domestic product. During the Reagan presidency, the deficit averaged 4 percent of GDP.

The Wall Street Journal

Demolishing the case for voter ID

Michael Hiltzik
Los Angeles Times

“In a rational world,” said Michael Hiltzik, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner’s “eloquent, incisive, and angry opinion” on Wisconsin’s voter ID law last week would end all debate on this subject. Posner, a Republican appointed to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan, is “widely regarded as the smartest jurist in the federal judiciary.” In his blistering 30-page opinion, Posner systematically demolishes every argument in favor of voter ID laws, which he says Republican legislatures pass for the sole purpose of “limiting voting by minorities.” But what about voter fraud? Having examined the evidence, Posner concludes that it’s virtually “nonexistent.” Isn’t it easy to get a photo ID? Not, Posner points out, if you’re one of millions of Americans who haven’t kept their birth certificate. Jumping through enough hoops to obtain a photo ID can cost a poor person from $75 to $175—far higher, Posner points out, than the $1.50 poll tax once imposed in Southern states. In Wisconsin alone, voter ID would likely disenfranchise 300,000 voters. To justify voter ID laws, Posner says, Republicans must either be deeply cynical—or live in “a fact-free cocoon.”

Now on to this week’s sites.  This week, I’m sending out three ‘Site of the Week’ recommendations.

Volkswagen Commercial

This site comes to via my friend Ralph. A movie theatre in Hong Kong encouraged its patrons to leave their mobile phones switched on.

LocateMy Name

Have you ever been curious about the origin of your name or that of a co-worker or friend? Ever wonder how many people share your surname. Locate My Name is a site is designed for the sole purpose of answering those questions. mainly used for finding origins of names, curiosity, entertainment and genealogy research. For example, I learned there are over 245,000 with the surname of Russell. In comparison, there are only 56 in the USA with my wife’s maiden surname and the 13 living in California are all her family members. If the name is uncommon such as my wife’s name, it could also help with genealogy.

The Price of Vice

You won’t need to bookmark either of these sites, but you may find the surveys interesting. These companion surveys compare the price of a pack of cigarettes and a fifth of Jack Daniels whiskey in every state of the USA. I had no idea that a New York couple who each smoke one pack of cigarettes a day would burn through almost $800/month. Amazing.

Ernie Orr sez “Check em out!”


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