STUMP » Articles » 2014: A (partial) year in STUMP » 30 December 2014, 04:41

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

2014: A (partial) year in STUMP  

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30 December 2014, 04:41

Back on March 1, this site went live, thanks to Stu. As I (meep) remarked, we did port over a few posts from a prior blog, but for the most part, I left the past in the past.

So what we were up to?

Stu: Man Behind the Scenes

Thanks to Stu, my husband, for getting this site going.

First off, he bought me the marypat.org domain back in the 90s as a Christmas present (yes, really). We have tried to use the site (and associated sites we owned) for a variety of projects that fell past the wayside, but it was mainly used for personal stuff. Check out my groovy 90s web design.

I have been blogging at a variety of sites and platforms over the years, but I preferred something I could control. So Stu picked out the CMS (textpattern), waved his wand, and STUMP went live.

Stu did write a few posts, but you might be able to tell from what he did write, that his business is keeping the rest of the family alive (and fixing up the site when I screw something up), so he doesn’t write too often.

Here’s to Stu!

Public Pensions

This year, the pension tsunami really hit.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t like that.

But it was really big when pensions to current retirees were cut in Detroit’s bankruptcy. A few California plans have managed to avoid getting cut, but this has been seen as the break in the dike. Everyone ignored little Prichard, Alabama when the money ran out, and Rhode Island? Meh. Insane benefits and underfunded pensions.

But Detroit’s pensions were supposedly well-funded. Mind you, I don’t think Detroit’s pensions are done being cut, but unlike Meredith Whitney, I know it’s tough to time this type of disaster. These sorts of disasters are decades in the making. It may only seem like it goes all to crap at once, but if you look into the past, you will see bad choices made for bad results.

Which brings me to my newest item: the 80% Funding Hall of Shame! This is in honor of all the people who spout a common falsehood about 80% fundedness being “healthy” for public pensions.

If I am successful in my watch, I hope this list will kill itself.

I am not hopeful, though.

While I mainly focus on public pensions (partly because they’re not allowed to fail…. until they fail catastrophically), there are larger issues involved that affect all retirement plans. I will not run out of material, even if public pensions get “fixed”.

Obamacare

Of course, public pensions were not the only disaster for the year.

I think a lot are still in denial with regards to the Obamacare disaster.

I had my most active Obamacare posting season in the first half of 2014, as those forced onto the Obamacare exchanges were still working through everything. But the disaster isn’t finished, and I’m getting ready for the tax season when people are going to be surprised by fines that they didn’t realize were going to be thousands of dollars, so expect this category to pick up again.

I think it’s easy to argue that the obliteration of Democrats on Election Day was heavily due to Obamacare. I don’t see the Republican Congress managing to get around Obama’s veto, so more disaster will unfold from this particular source before it’s all over.

Opera!

I LOVE OPERA!!!!

Let’s face it – my primary topics do not lend themselves well to video. So I finally got to try out how to embed video when talking about my main hobby: opera!

What the hell, have a little opera:

Other stuff

Yeah, there was some random stuff that bubbled up from time to time.

In “real life”, my main interest is in education. No, not the politics of education — just what one should learn and how one should acquire such learning.

Top post on this topic: Teaching Your Kids Math (for free) — I plan on following this up with a post for adults. Basically: what math you should know (and how to acquire that), then where to find interesting/fun math, and if you want to go beyond basic, where you should start.

In my livejournal, I’ve written about women in STEM fields, and I had a wee bit bleed over here. I may pursue this more, but I find it tiresome, and generally full of bad motives. I don’t see that there’s much new or substantive to say on that score. If you want to look at something rarely talked about, check out how many Americans are in sex-unbalanced professions.

I have a long-standing one-sided war with Carl Bialik, but after having seen that he’s gone into the black hole that is 538, maybe I will no longer be tormented by him. Here’s hoping!

Have a Happy New Year!


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