Hello. Y'all can call me Xelor. It's a name I created some 20 years ago when I played computer games with my children. I chose the name for several reasons: (1) because it starts with "X," (2) because it sounds like one of those weird names that a fantasy character would have, and (3) I'd just bought a watch. So, as I said, there was a time when my computer geek kids set up a little network in our home and we played computer games as a family. I enjoyed that, but don't mistake me for a computer geek or gamer. Reading voraciously is more my thing, getting through one or two books and half a dozen papers each week, mostly non-fiction, but I do enjoy spy novels and political intrigue. Overall, though, I'm something of a perennial student and as such I put my thirst for information to good use by spending the majority of my career as a self-employed research analyst serving various manufacturing, financial and consumer goods/services corporations and industry associations. Several years back, I sold my firm to a much larger one and now I'm semi-retired and loving it. On a personal level, I'm fairly typical in some ways and probably not in others. I'm a Southern widower with four grown children, two siblings and a short temper. I like music, but not so much that I listen to it all the time or know who's who in the music world. I like movies, but couldn't name any actors who've become famous after I turned 35 or so. Now that I don't have mouths to feed, I might actually pick up some hobbies besides reading, but your guess is as good as mine as to whether I will or what they'll be. I've travelled quite a lot and I like it, so maybe that will be my next hobby. Political and public policy analysis and discussion is not new to me. It is an unavoidable aspect of the type of work I do. You can't really deliver a quality industry or competitive analysis to a company or industry association without discussing the statutory and political factors affecting them. Even though I'm not new to political pondering, this is my first time on a political forum, or forum of any sort for that matter. The social media thing just never interested me; however, after watching this past election and seeing the incessant use of Twitter and hearing about the banter on forums like this one, I decided to see for myself. I hope to learn first hand about the people who use political communication tools like this forum. I'm also curious to discover how discussions on forums differ from those that I and my teams and clients have on public policy matters. Seeing as this is a political forum, I suppose an introduction can't be complete without my doing what I never do in polite company: disclose my political leanings. I describe myself as a "free agent" Republican. What's that mean? It means that I know in the U.S., if you intend to have any say, you pretty much have to register as either a Democrat or Republican and vote for someone running on one of those parties' tickets. I voted for Ford, Reagan, and then Bush I the first time. Then I voted for Clinton and wished I had not voted for Bush II the second time around. I willingly voted for Obama and I voted for Clinton because Trump strikes me as the most disappointing charlatan who, when it comes to deep public policy awareness and honesty is all hat and no cattle and who surrounds himself with people who, when he lies, they swear to it, he believes it and thinks the rest of us are too stupid to tell that's what is going on. For all the reading I do, I don't often read political science texts, but I consume economics papers by the boatload. Of the modern economists who matter, some of my favorites - not because I necessarily agree with them, but because they have interesting ideas that are worth understanding - are: Fehr and Fischbacher - Behavioral economics. Easily applied ideas that form a contextual basis for evaluating the role of branding and social trends when modeling the economic impact of various marketing strategies and for identifying ideal market segmentation and targeting strategies. Christopher Antoniou Pissarides - "Economic crises come and go but young people get just one chance to learn the skills that will get them a job and help them embark on a successful career. Cutting down on education investments because of a temporary economic crisis is short-sighted. It could destroy the lives of a whole generation of young people. Education spending is an investment in our future and should not be part of the government’s fiscal balance." ("Regular Education as a Tool of Counter-Cyclical Employment Policy") Barbara Bergmann - Economics of discrimination and the economic impact and role of women in the workplace. Kenneth Arrow -- He is to welfare economics what Einstein was to physics. He is also the reason conservatives have a leg to stand on when it comes to non-interventionist policies and he is the reason liberals have the other leg to stand on as goes governmental intervention. He managed to do that via set theory by proving empirically the fundamental theorems of welfare economics. (There are other approaches to proving the same theorems: Chipman, Barone, and Debreu to name a few.) It's his work that led to our understanding that both approaches are quite viable. The First Welfare Theorem The Second Welfare Theorem Robert Lucas - What's not to like about a guy whose Nobel lecture makes economics accessible to everyone. You don't have to agree with him, though you should, but you have to appreciate that you don't have to know a lot of math to understand it. What's his big finding? That expectations become reality. (Of course, I'm vastly oversimplifying his ideas. People here realize the foolishness of trying to run with such gross simplifying, right? I guess I'll find out.) With Trump's election we'll see just how his ideas play out because Trumpkins sure are expecting a lot as a result of Trump's rhetoric. Joseph Stiglitz - I assume this guy and his "third way" are universally understood. We are likely to see a lot of his contrarian ideas put in place to greater and lesser degrees in the next few years. On some issues: Gun Control/Rights - Guns aren't the problem, the culture, people and their attitudes are; however, guns are what can be controlled and people far less so. If you're willing to wait as long as we did to create a culture that hates smoking, okay, but if leaders want to effect that kind of cultural change, then they should have to sit in the living rooms of personally face every single mother, father and sibling of a person who was killed or maimed by guns. Abortion - You can't be killed until you've been born. I don't care why she got pregnant. The fact is she doesn't want to be. The live of people who are born are more important than the would be life of the unborn. Taxes - Nobody wants to pay more taxes. The people who pay the most taxes should have the most say about how the government spends the money. Education - Going to school is the job children must perform. They can do what it takes to exceed expectations or not, but what they do in school will have an impact on what they do as adults. It's not a child's fault that his parents are lame, but it's not my fault either and I don't want to hear the sad stories about how formerly low performing students can't get high paying jobs. Middle East - Israel needs to do right by the Palestinians by building high rises on their side of the Strip, Heights, and West Bank and stop building settlements for Jews there. The Palestinians need to stop blowing up shit. The U.S. needs to remove itself from the issue and let someone else solve that problem. ISIS - Why nobody sees the correlation between the Order of Assassins and ISIS and has yet to with unrelenting deliberacy be to ISIS what the Mongols were to the Order is beyond me. I think that is probably enough about me. Now, I'm going to go look through some threads and see if I can find some people who have posted some interesting ideas with some real meat to them. I looked at a few posts before posting this and I am hoping that what I found are the exceptions and not the norm. If not, I will not be here for long.