Monday, November 10, 2014

I'm getting eerily close to going a year without posting

So I suppose I better do something about that.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wall Street Isn’t Worth It | Jacobin

Wall Street Isn’t Worth It | Jacobin
"I argue that society as a whole would be better off if the financial sector were smaller, and received much smaller returns. A political strategy based on cutting the financial sector down to size has more promise for the Left than any alternative approach now on offer, and is a necessary precondition for a broader attempt to make the distribution of wealth and power more equal."

One of the interesting suggestions is the elimination of favorable tax treatment of capital gains. Currently, income received as a capital gain is taxed at a lower rate than regular income, and one of the tenets of right-wing taxation is the elimination of capital gains taxes. Even quasi-lefties like Matt Yglesias support the same thing.

This treatment, though, creates a tremendous economic incentive to make money through capital gains rather than regular salaries. Doesn't this extra incentive create many of the problems associated with a robust financial class. I mean, does this money really go to spurring innovation and jobs or just to line the pockets of the financiers?

What It's Like to Fail

What It's Like to Fail

The author went from relatively successful sitcom writer (for Roseanne) to homeless and back to a stable, but lower class existence. It's an inspirational story, though it highlights how the US lacks real safety nets for the poor.

As an ethical matter, we have a system of little safety and security, we should provide better for the poor.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Potential Gingrich-Santorum Voltron Candidacy Spoiled by Pride

The Secret Gingrich-Santorum 'Unity Ticket' That Nearly Toppled Romney - Businessweek"
"Gingrich thought that he belonged on top of the ticket. “Our reasoning,” says Walker, “is that we had won a major primary at that point [South Carolina] and people like Rick Perry were coming on board. Perry had just endorsed Newt.”

To Santorum’s team, however, the Gingrich campaign was a sinking ship, and their own man was the obvious choice to lead the ticket. “At the end of the day,” says Brabender, “we won 11 states and tied two others. He won two states, which makes it only logical that Rick was the one who had earned the right to go one-on-one with Romney.”"
Who could imagine that the vanity of two men running for president would spoil such a special thing.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Private sector parasites

Michael Lind, Private sector parasites on Salon.com:
Unfortunately, with the exception of some leftist and liberal economic thinkers who distinguish “rentier capitalism” or “financial capitalism” from “industrial capitalism,” conventional political discourse doesn’t distinguish among profit-earning “makers” and rent-extracting “takers.” Many progressives and populists indiscriminately denounce “big business” and “the corporations” as though a productive consumer electronics manufacturer were no different than a company that monopolizes the tolls from a privatized municipal parking meter system. At the same time, the center-left, whose upscale supporters tend to be credentialed upper-middle-class professionals, tend to ignore the antisocial aspects of the rent-extracting schemes of the professional guilds — medicine, law and the professoriate — as well as of their elite accomplices, the credential-granting universities.

On the right, the greatest triumph of the rentier interests has been to redefine “capitalist” to mean, not productive entrepreneur or successful industrial company executive, but “anybody who makes money” — a category that includes not only investors in productive enterprises but also rentiers and a third category of speculators in unproductive assets (Picasso paintings and Persian rugs, as opposed to machine tool factories).
I don't know what I think about this, but it was provocative enough.

Monday, March 04, 2013

It's always fun to pile on David Brooks

David Brooks Wishfully, Wrongly Believes the Chinese Have No Word for 'Nerd'
Whenever you hear someone explain that a concept is so foreign to this or that culture that people cannot even use their language to describe it, it is safe to assume your passport has just been stamped for entry into the Land of Bullshit.
David Brooks is great and writing things that have the ring of truth to them, that just make sense. Unfortunately, the truth is often nonsensical, even jarringly so. So it's safe to say that Brooks is basically a potato head.

Friday, February 08, 2013

I'm oppressed because I can't oppress

Peggy Noonan lauds the Superbowl Paul Harvey ad. One of the many reasons to adore the speech?
Because it explicitly put God as maker of life and governor of reality, again un-self-consciously, and with a tone that anticipated no pushback. God, you could say anything in Paul Harvey's day.
Paul Harvey couldn't go on the radio and say "By the way, there's no god, and often religion causes people to do terrible things." Paul Harvey couldn't go on the radio and say, "We should give gay people the same rights enjoyed by everyone else." This is a classic example of oppression paranoia, like the war on christmas. Because mainstream culture no longer 100% reflects your beliefs or points of view, you think you're being oppressed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Classic Dancing Chicken Moment....

A fellow with Down syndrome writes "An Open Letter to Ann Coulter," taking her to task for using the slur "the retard" in reference to Obama:
Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.
This sort of quote makes me want to throw up my hands and declare humanity a lost cause of vicious misery. These may be my issues talking, mind you.

Enforcing Gender Norms in the Legal Profession

Findlaw's Greedy Associates blog gives advice to prospective Harvard Law students who will have a Skype interview
Dump Hello Kitty for the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Take a look at what's on the shelves behind you. Your interviewer will see these things. So you might want to consider replacing the giant plush Hello Kitty doll, and replacing it with some library-borrowed law books.
Of course, it is a feminine thing that signals your utter lack of competence. Lawyering is serious business, little lady. Another tip from the same post suggests that the interviewee wear khakis for their interview. That's not gender-specific at all, is it?