Friday, November 30, 2012
Ronald Reagan once fell for a “tax now, cut later” deal that he later deeply regretted. Dems got the tax; he never got the cuts. Obama’s audacious new gambit is not a serious proposal to solve our fiscal problems. It’s a raw partisan maneuver meant to neuter the Republicans by getting them to cave on their signature issue as the hold-the-line party on taxes.
The objective is to ignite exactly the kind of internecine warfare on taxes now going on among Republicans. And to bury Grover Norquist.
I am not now, nor have ever been, a Norquistian. I don’t believe the current level of taxation is divinely ordained. Nor do I believe in pledges of any kind. But Norquist is the only guy in town to consistently resist the tax-and-spend Democrats’ stampede for ever-higher taxes to fund ever more reckless spending.
The hunt for Norquist’s scalp is a key part of the larger partisan project to make the Republicans do a George H.W. Bush and renege on their heretofore firm stand on taxes. Bush never recovered.
Sounds about right to me. --TS
Thursday, November 29, 2012
This is where the difference lies between then and now. Those who graduate from Yale remain very impressive. They can argue any side of an issue, and they are willing to work long hours to prove their distinctive value. Most notably, they have been indoctrinated with a particular form of relativism — a learned suspicion of where they come from, be it God or country, and a trained indulgence of certain enemies, foreign and domestic. “Today, I think there are more Yale students who want to be president of the United States than military officers. Over time, Yale has retained its sense of ambition but has lost its sense of responsibility to the nation,” Mr. Harden writes.
I was present as a visiting high-schooler (or maybe I was a freshman at Cornell, I forget) at what subsequently evolved into Sex Week at Yale. It involved just one evening's worth of pornographic films back then, including one starring a white woman and a black man having sex outdoors and another featuring two rather pudgy men. I wondered, as the movie began with two men carrying groceries into their apartment, if this is a porno flick, where are the girls? Alas, there were no female persons in that film. --TS
Endurance Sports: Studies on Older Endurance Athletes Suggest the Fittest Reap Few Health Benefits - WSJ.com
A fast-emerging body of scientific evidence points to a conclusion that's unsettling, to say the least, for a lot of older athletes: Running can take a toll on the heart that essentially eliminates the benefits of exercise.
"Running too fast, too far and for too many years may speed one's progress toward the finish line of life," concludes an editorial to be published next month in the British journal Heart.
Huh. But swimming's probably OK. --TS
Ochlocracy (Greek: ὀχλοκρατία, okhlokratía; Latin: ochlocratia) or mob rule is government by mob or a mass of people, or the intimidation of legitimate authorities. As a pejorative for majoritarianism, it is akin to the Latin phrase mobile vulgus meaning "the fickle crowd", from which the English term "mob" was originally derived in the 1680s.
A useful word. --TS
In 1994 she apparently stated, "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?"
Please bear in mind, it is racist to criticize a person who evidently viewed hundreds or thousands of dead African women, children and men, as so much political fodder. Also, don't forget that it is unjust for Senators to point out that Ambassador Rice, who fell on her sword for Obama, now has a sword sticking out her body. Finally, it would be most unfair to observe that this candidate for our chief diplomat seems to have a preternatural ability to make people on all parts of the political spectrum (e.g., John McCain, Miss Dowd) hate her. Except our president, who probably should get to choose her for State if he wants to. It does make me nervous, however, to nominate somebody who can't seem to tell a lie without getting caught. Nobody ever said that of Kissinger. --TS
With a chip on his shoulder larger than his margin of victory, Barack Obama is approaching his second term by replicating the mistake of his first. Then his overreaching involved health care — expanding the entitlement state at the expense of economic growth. Now he seeks another surge of statism, enlarging the portion of gross domestic product grasped by government and dispensed by politics. The occasion is the misnamed “fiscal cliff,” the proper name for which is: the Democratic Party’s agenda.
I'm not sure what the worst thing would be for the GOP to do, but I am reasonably confident they will find it. --TS
Poor people often do things that are against their long-term interests such as playing the lottery, borrowing too much and saving too little. Shah, Mullainathan and Sahfir have a new theory to explain some of these puzzles. SMS argue that immediate problems draw people’s attention and as people use cognitive resources to solve these problems they have fewer resources left over to solve or even notice other problems. In essence, it’s easier for the rich than the poor to follow the Eisenhower rule–”Don’t let the urgent overcome the important”–because the poor face many more urgent tasks. My car needed a brake job the other day – despite this being a relatively large expense I was able to cover it without a second’s thought. Compared to a poorer person I benefited from my wealth twice, once by being able to cover the expense and again by not having to devote cognitive resources to solving the problem.
Plausible. Something happens at the other end too, when Big Law lawyers et al. don't have time to do the ultimately important things (talk to their children, etc.) --TS
Art Basel: Why I’m not going. (Hint: It’s because the modern art world is the worst.) - Slate Magazine
Why doesn’t Intrade just obey the complicated law and become a licensed exchange? They tried, but the CFTC won’t give them a license. When an established, licensed U.S. commodity exchange applied for permission to do what Intrade does, the CFTC turned them down, too.
Most importantly, in rejecting Nadex’s application to trade “political event derivatives contracts” the CFTC said this:
As a result of reviewing the complete record, the CFTC determined that the contracts involve gaming and are contrary to the public interest…
Thus the CFTC’s attack on Intrade is not about following or not following a particular regulation; it goes much deeper, the CFTC is arguing that all such markets are against the public interest.