Monthly Archives: October 2021

all the things

At work, one of my techniques to keep on top of all the stuff I need to keep on top of was to keep an empty, or nearly empty, inbox.  All e-mails got processed – either deleted, read and filed, or filed for future use with the action noted on my to-do list, which I updated daily first thing in the morning and referred to throughout the day.  It wasn’t a perfect system, but I was above average at work, maybe significantly above average in terms of not dropping things and managing e-mail.  My mother used to say I’d forget my head if it wasn’t attached, and she was right, so I think being “above average” at this was pretty good for me.  Keeping track of administrative stuff is not a natural skill for me.

Now, as your friendly neighborhood housewife and stay-at-home-mom, I obviously still have a fair amount of administrative stuff to track.  As the kids have gotten older, they’ve gotten involved in more activities.  I plan all our vacations.  And we’re selling my old house (listed yesterday), and I’ve been managing that with little or not support from Jonathan.  Then there’s all the appointments, Covid tests, and so on.

I’m having trouble managing it all.  I was talking with my husband about it, and I do believe part of the problem is that I don’t empty my personal inboxes (gmail and hotmail).  Maybe it’s time to start.  It’s a lot harder without access to Outlook (I am a big Outlook fan).  In general, Webmail is a pain.  Still, I think it’s time.  If I can’t manage the webmail, maybe it’s time to purchase Outlook, but I think should at least try the empty Inbox webmail approach first.

How do you keep track of “all the things” in your personal, non-work life?

on glasgow

I was chatting with my husband the other day, and it came to light he was under the impression the US was the #1 carbon emitter in the world.  This, of course, is not true.  In terms of absolute emissions, the US is #2 behind China, by more than a factor of two.  That’s right.  China emits more than twice as much as the US.

Another statistic is the US emits a little over 10% of the world’s emissions.  Even the EU and the US combined only emit about 20% of the total emissions.  In other words, the US and Europe could emit nothing, and I’m not sure it would really help all that much.

In terms of per capita emissions, you may be under the impression that the US is the #1 emitter.  Again, you’d be wrong.  The US is #16 on this list, though some of the countries ahead of it are tiny and should probably not be counted.  Nevertheless, major countries like Canada and Australia.

Does anyone remember when the whole world ganged up on Bush because he didn’t sign the Kyoto agreement, which basically called for the US to reduce emissions and nobody else to do anything?  Well since 1990, the US has only increased emissions by 0.4%, despite the population increasing increasing 30%.  Though I don’t think anyone should get a pass for increasing population.  With that said, our per capita emissions have decreased by about 30%, and a lot of our population gain is due to immigration, not births.

By contrast, Canada increased emissions by 35% despite signing Kyoto.  Their population increased 40%, so even per capita they decreased emissions minimally.

Similarly, I remember my Irish boyfriend giving me no end of crap about the US not signing Kyoto.  And yet Ireland increased emissions nearly 18% (compared to 0.5% by the US).

China increased their population by 23% and their emissions by 30%.

Anyway, the latest kerfluffle is the climate gathering in Glasgow.  I surprised to hear that China does not plan to attend.  China emits significantly more than the US and Europe combined.  I can’t help but think climate talks without China’s participation aren’t particularly useful.  With that said, I did think this was an interesting piece on Xi Jinping the environmentalist.  (Disable Java to read.)

The real question for me is whether carbon emissions are the most pressing environmental problem right now.  I think they are not.  They are really a proxy for population, and we are playing whack-a-mole and another population-induced crisis will pop up soon if we manage to contain this one.  And yes, with three kids, I realize I am not helping the problem.


I know I wishfully say I hope Covid goes away from time to time, but does anyone actually think it’s going to happy?

Newsflash: Covid is not going away.

In my most optimistic scenario, Covid deaths decay at a rate of roughly 50% per year.

  • Year 1: 534K
  • Year 2: 267
  • Year 3: 133
  • Etc.

Except we are a little more than halfway through year 2, and we’ve already had 226K deaths.  I actually predicted that we’d have 267K deaths this year at the end of the first year, but clearly I was wrong.  I think, in fact, that we’re more likely to see a 25% year over year decline:

  • Year 1: 534K
  • Year 2: 400K
  • Year 3: 300K
  • Etc.

At that rate, it’ll take six years to get under 100K – or to the number of deaths for a very bad flu year.  Even that’s looking optimistic at this point.

The article to me is interesting in that it seems to imply most people have not accepted that Covid is not going away.  Are they awake?  I think there’s a good chance each of us will die of Covid.  More likely we’ll die of cancer or heart disease, but I’m guessing some kind of coronavirus along with other respiratory illnesses might take that third spot.  Not soon.  After 70, since everyone who reads this will keep up with their shots.  But sometime, probably in combination with other health problems, if it happens.

The article quotes one of my most hated people on earth, Jeff, the health czar for County:

Instead, the biggest shift in our new normal could be a growing societal embrace of protective measures, rather than a continued war over school mask wearing or workplace vaccine mandates. “People are not stupid,” said Dr. Jeffrey, the chief of the communicable disease, epidemiology and immunization section for public health in Seattle and King County. “They will come around to accept reality.” To him, the clashes over seatbelt wearing, and its ultimate acceptance, offer a useful comparison.

What Duchin is saying: school masking will be permanent and people will embrace it.  AKA, if you don’t want your kids to wear masks all day long for 13 years of school + 4 years of college, leave King County.

Duchin’s latest act in this area is to require proof of vaccination to enter most indoor spaces in the area.  I am all for vaccine mandates, but they have to be for things like jobs or long-term memberships (eg gyms).  The “papers please” situation we have here is not cool.

Here’s what it’s like in Seattle these days.  If you enter any indoor space these days, like the grocery store or the library, expect to hear announcements on loop saying you must wear a mask.  (This probably doesn’t happen in the library, as ours still has massively reduced hours, so it’s unlikely you’ll actually manage to get inside.  Safety first!)  You might hear a security announcement directing the security team to some area of the school where some person dared go with their face uncovered, as I did on my most recent trip.  (We still also have the plexiglass – do they have that everywhere?) If you enter most indoor spaces, you’ll need to show your vaccine card, or a photo of it.  Combined with the signs about plastic bag bans and the like, I honestly sometimes feel like I moved to the USSR without noticing.

spending our kids’ money

Biden has a giant expensive bill he’s trying to pass – 1.75 trillion.  My basic problem with it is not its contents but the fact that he’s not really paying for it.  Balance the budget – then spend.  Otherwise you’re taking on debt that your children will pay off.  I’m not 100% sure what’s in it, but it mostly sounds like a bunch of malarkey.

Here’s what’s not in it: three months of maternity leave.

Here’s thing.  We’ve had literally decades of democratic rule since 1980.  And yet – no maternity leave.  Why not?  It’s almost like the Democrats bully women into voting for them by pointing at anti-choice Republicans and then, over and over, fail to prioritize things that matter to women – like maternity leave.

And no, 4 weeks of maternity leave is not acceptable.

There are roughly 4 million children born every year in the US.  To pay the parents of every single one of those children $10,000 for leave would cost 4 million * $10,000 = 40 billion per year.

So what if the Democrats had done this one tremendously important thing instead of messing around with this giant bill that, as far as I can tell, doesn’t really do anything great?  It would cost less than 2% of the proposed price tag.

Biden’s original plan called for expanding universal preschool.  Basically, they want to extend public school down to age 3.  I am EXTREMELY opposed to this.  Public school is a failure in many low income areas.  It’s a failure for the most needy kids.  And 3 year olds shouldn’t be in “school” anyway – they should be experiencing play-based learning, Montessori at most.  Want to help parents with child care?  How about giving them money to pay for whatever childcare THEY want to use?  Universal preschool will be a massively overpriced, underperforming boon for teacher’s unions.  You could give parents with children under 5 – ages 0-4 – all $10,000 per year per child for childcare to spend as THEY please – for 160 billion per year.  Less, actually, since a lot of families have at least one non-working parents.  (Call the difference administrative cost.)  So the total cost of the O’Meara plan is 200 billion.  I wouldn’t include anything else.  Keep it simple and actually provide something meaningful we can afford without indebting our great-grandchildren.

But if I were a senator, I would vote against Biden’s crazy bill.  Too expensive, and no maternity leave.

I actually think taxing billionaires net worth is a good idea, but I think it’ll be tossed out in court, making the bill even more responsible from a fiscal perspective.