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Signs Your Sign Will Go Viral

ows-sign-wrong-create-mortage-backed-security

A cute protest sign based on a blog quip has created a minor internet sensation.

Pedestrian Safety: Preventable Deaths?

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Thousands of pedestrians are killed in America each year. Are we doing enough about it?

Technology and Currency

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Have credit cards and ATMs eliminated the value of large currency zones?

Charity Without The Middle Man?

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Why not just give poor people money rather than start up big charities?

The Security State

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The People In Charge telling us that something is Necessary For Our Own Good makes a large number of people accepting of the inconvenience, no matter how asinine or unsupported by evidence.

Social Security Payouts Too Low

social-security

While Social Security has radically lowered the elderly poverty rate, it hasn’t eliminated it. Should we do more?

I See White People

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The Republican “Pledge to America” is chock full of photographs of Real Americans. And they’re disproportionately old white people.

When Will Brits Learn Proper English?

us-vs-uk-english

Should proper nouns be exempt from local spelling conventions?

Those Overeducated Ethiopians

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Bryan Caplan argues that the fact so many kids in the developing world don’t go to school proves that education isn’t very valuable.

American Taliban, Liberal Fascism, and Judging a Book By Its Title

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Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas’ new book, AMERICAN TALIBAN: HOW WAR, SEX, SIN, AND POWER BIND JIHADISTS AND THE RADICAL RIGHT, continues a long tradition in political polemics.

Christiane Amanpour’s “This Week” Debut

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ABC’s Sunday talking heads show has a new host. Is she a secret Taliban sympathizer?

Conservative Media Bias

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Conservatives have long complained about liberal media bias. But conservative media seems to be much worse.

Seat Hogs: Subway Villains?

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WaPo’s Breaking News Blog highlights a story that is, well, hardly breaking news: inconsiderate people on the DC subway.

Writing Op-Eds Doesn’t Pay!

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AEI’s Charles Murray, he of Bell Curve fame, is irked at the NYT: To all my fellow ink-stained wretches, a heads up. I got my check from the New York Times for an op-ed that was published a few weeks ago. It was for $75. Not that anyone has ever paid the mortgage by writing […]

Regulating Banking Practices

credit-cards

It had to happen eventually, I guess:   Matt Yglesias is to my right on something.   While I was reasonably sympathetic to Kevin Drum‘s argument that banking and credit card policies which force low income customers to pay exorbitant fees that effectively subsidize wealthy ones, Yglesias is having none of it: I just don’t trust arguments […]

Marriage and Divorce

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Glenn Greenwald points to the news of Rush Limbaugh’s fourth marriage this weekend, as well as the fact that Newt Gingrich is on his third marriage, to argue that conservatives who oppose gay marriage and say that they are doing so to defend Traditional Marriage are dishonest. They don’t really advocate the law’s recognition of […]

Lowden Plan Medical Chicken Calculator

Sue Lowden Medical Chicken Calculator

Senate candidate Sue Lowden’s repeated suggestion that we go back to the barter system for health care (“in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I’ll paint your house”) has generated endless fun for leftie pundits and, now, some wag has generated a “Lowden Plan Medical […]

Americans Giving Up Citizenship Over Taxes

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A small but growing number of Americans are renouncing their citizenship because the tax burden outweighs their perceived benefit: According to government records, 502 expats renounced U.S. citizenship or permanent residency in the fourth quarter of 2009 — more than double the number of expatriations in all of 2008. And these figures don’t include the […]

DC Woman Killed In Collission With Security Vehicle

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A 68-year-old DC woman was killed last night as her bicycle collided with a 5-ton military truck providing security for the attendees of the Nuclear Security Summit.  ABC7: “Our assignment was to block the intersection as motorcade came through,” stated Major General Errol Schwartz. D.C. National Guard moved in to block 12th Street at New […]

Virginia’s McDonnell Declares Confederate History Month

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My governor has opened up an old wound, declaring April Confederate History Month. Anita Kumar and Rosalind S. Helderman seem to have broken the story for WaPo’s Virginia Politics Blog: Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has quietly declared April 2010 Confederate History Month, bringing back a designation in Virginia that his two Democratic predecessors — Mark […]

American Soldiers Kill Unarmed Reuters Reporters in Iraq (Video)

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A disturbing video which seems to show American soldiers shooting unarmed civilians just for fun is making the rounds. CSM’s Dan Murphy has the backstory: A video released on the Internet Monday by WikiLeaks, a small nonprofit dedicated to publishing classified information from the US and other governments, appears to show the killing of two […]

Misery Loves . . . More Misery

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Matt Yglesias points to David Brooks’ assertion that “The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting” in order to tout a congestion pricing tax. Brooks doesn’t pivot from this into any real policy specifics. But the upshot of the commuting point is very clear—we should charge people a fee to drive on crowded roads […]

NYT Apologizes for Singapore Truth

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The following Correction ran in the March 24 NYT under the headline “Apology.” In 1994, Philip Bowring, a contributor to the International Herald Tribune’s op-ed page, agreed as part of an undertaking with the leaders of the government of Singapore that he would not say or imply that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had attained […]

Health Care Reform Passes, Pigs Fly

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So, the health care reform was passed last night owing to a bizarre compromise is which Bart Stupak persuaded President Obama to issue a meaningless executive order proclaiming that the law passed by both Houses of Congress says what Stupak has spent months pointing out it doesn’t say. The basic facts, from NYT: With the […]

Liz Lemon Ugly

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It’s no secret that almost everyone in Hollywood is very good looking.  But Chloe Angyal is tired of beautiful people playing “ugly” characters on TV.  And not because they’re taking parts away from genuinely ugly people. One of the running themes of Glee is that Rachel, played by Lea Michele, is talented, but annoying, badly […]

Petraeus New Hampshire Speech: Presidential Campaign Underway?

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Reports that General David Petraeus is giving a speech at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics on March 24 is ginning up speculation that he’s running for president. Mark Ambinder: News that Gen. David Petraeus is venturing out of his Centcom comfort zone late this month to the state of New Hampshire is […]

Cable News in Perspective

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CJR Fellow Terry McDermott argues that Fox has “simply (and shamelessly) mastered the confines of cable.”   He blathers on and on and on before finally coming to an actual point: Cable news is not literally a broadcast business, but a narrowcast. At any given moment, there are a relative handful of people (in peak hours […]

Reconciliation, Health Care, and History

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Political scientists  Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein argues that, contrary to Republican claims,   the reconciliation process is neither illegitimate nor rare. Reconciliation was intended to be a narrow procedure to bring revenues and spending into conformity with the levels set in the annual budget resolution. But it quickly became much more. The 22 reconciliation bills […]

Senate Finance Committee Website Optimized for Netscape

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Spencer Ackerman discovered and Matt Yglesias is spreading the word on this helpful advisory on the home page of the US Senate Committee on Finance: This site is optimized for Netscape Navigator 4.x or Internet Explorer 4.x, with an 800×600 screen resolution. As Matt observes, “Netscape 4 was, of course, a fine product in its […]

Atlantic Redesign: The Medium is the Message

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Since hiring Andrew Sullivan and a slew of other already-established bloggers a couple years back, the Atlantic Monthly website has gone through quite a few design changes.  But last week’s total reorganization of the site into a series of channels, subsuming all the blogs except Andrew’s into what amounts to collections of links to archives, […]

Chile vs. Haiti Earthquake Survival

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Haiti suffered much more devastation from its recent earthquake than Chile did over the weekend from a far more powerful earthquake. Jonathan Franklin and Jeffrey Smith report for WaPo: While the death toll rose steadily to more than 700, according to a midday estimate, it remained a small fraction of the tally from a far […]

Joe Stack, Austin Plane Crasher: Terrorist or Nut?

Joseph Stack Austin Plane Crash Photo

As everyone’s heard by now, a man named Joe Stack crashes his small airplane into a building in Austin this morning, thankfully killing only himself. Fox News reports: A pilot furious with the Internal Revenue Service crashed his small plane Thursday into an office building in Austin, Texas, that houses federal tax employees, setting off […]

Education and Employment

Unemployment Education Attainment Graph

The BLS has compiled some data showing, not surprisingly, that unemployment is negatively correlated with educational attainment.  Here‘s a nifty graph: Matt Yglesias suggests, “[I]f someone you know is considering dropping out of high school, you ought to do everything possible to convince him or her to reconsider. Even in non-recession times, the labor market […]

Prestige Jobs Don’t Pay

Sign dollar and the books on scales. 3D image.

Matt Yglesias smacks down Leon Wieseltier for his suggestion that the Internet is a chief reason writers are paid so little.  In addition to rightly pointing out that a lot of bloggers make more money than the junior staff at prestige outlets like Wieseltier’s New Republic, he makes a surprisingly capitalist argument for a fellow […]

Apolitical Philanthropists

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After reading an interview about Bill Gates’ plans to hook up Third World farmers with Coca-Cola, Matt Yglesias observes, What always leaves me scratching my head about uber-rich philanthropists is why so many of their activities are so depoliticized. The state plays an enormous role in the economy and in people’s lives—much larger than any […]

The Plural of Anecdote is Not Recovery

DC Yale Steam Laundry

Good micro-level news on the housing front from Matt Yglesias, who notes the revitalization of his Northwest DC neighborhood: Nowadays we have a few more buildings, including the large complex I live in, but it’s still mostly vacant lots and parking. But as of, say, 18 months ago there were high hopes and big plans […]

Did Saban Run Up the Score?

Alabama Texas Scoring Summary (ESPN)

Mike Tomasky and Matt Yglesias both argue that Alabama head coach Nick Saban showed a distinct lack of class by scoring a meaningless touchdown with 47 seconds left in last night’s championship game. Almost to a man, their commenters vehemently disagree.  And they’re right to do so. I’m an Alabama alumnus and fan, so I’m […]

A Few Euros Short

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The FT’s chief economics commentator, Martin Wolf, argues that, without the ability to manipulate national currencies, the EU’s poorer members are going to have a very difficult time recovering from the global recession. As Matt Yglesias notes, If the European Union were a country, it’d be a country in pretty good shape. Better shape than […]

Terrorism Math

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By any reasonable measure, we’re far too apprehensive about terrorism and expend far too many resources and sacrifice far too much liberty defending against its risks.  But there are smart ways and dumb ways to make that point. Nate Silver, responding a few days ago to one of my posts, demonstrates the former: Over the […]

Detroit Terror Plot

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The botched attempt by one Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, allegedly somehow connected to al Qaeda, attempting to blow up a passenger jet as it made its descent into Detroit quite naturally has the blogosphere buzzing. Richard Fernandez and Josh Marshall have good roundups of the news as  it was developing throughout the evening, along with the […]

Is America Ungovernable?

Filibuster Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Jimmy Stewart

Progressives are increasingly frustrated that, despite having won the presidency by a comfortable margin and having solid majorities in the House and Senate — where they have a “filibuster-proof” 60 votes — they still can’t enact the policies they want.   Matt Yglesias says “smarter elements in Washington DC are starting to pick up on the […]

Housing as an Investment

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The recent bursting of the housing bubble has made people think twice about the old notion of buying a house as an investment.  Felix Samon argues that it’s almost never a good idea. Real estate is pretty much never a good investment in a down market, no matter how granular and detailed your local knowledge […]

Parking Policy Disconnect

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Matt Yglesias observes, It’s a bit frustrating sometimes that the only people who seem interested in reforming parking meter policy are generally car-skeptical urbanist types like me. My interest in this, after all, is a bit second-order whereas people who actually drive cars around all the time have a strong interest in getting this right. […]

Public Opinion on the Public Option

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Ezra Klein passes on word that the public doesn’t understand the public option.  Or, more specifically, when asked, “Could you confidently explain what exactly the public option is to someone who didn’t know?” 66% answered no; the others lied or were in error.  Matt Yglesias is bemused by this because, after all, this has been […]

White Cities

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White elites, shockingly, seem to enjoy cities where the culture is dominated by white elites. Aaron Renn breaks the news. Among the media, academia and within planning circles, there’s a generally standing answer to the question of what cities are the best, the most progressive and best role models for small and mid-sized cities. The […]

Brevity is the Soul of Wit

Heebie-Geebie offers some sage advice on story-telling and blogging: First, cut way more details than you want to. Cut almost everything. Cut so much that you’re staying ahead of the person listening. Only fill in extra details if they’re still fascinated and you’re going back to flesh out the situation. Second, if your audience isn’t […]

Obesity: Nanny State Solution

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Ezra Klein enjoys cooking and endorses “Naked Chef” Jamie Oliver’s notion that we’d be a healthier society if we cooked our meals at home rather than eating so much high calorie fare at chain restaurants.  Still, he notes, The problem is that the evidence suggests meals aren’t driving the rise in obesity — snacks are. […]

9/12 Protests

9-12 protest NYT

Yesterday, somewhere between “tens of thousands” and “two million” people flooded the nation’s capital to protest somethingoranother. Thousands Rally in Capital to Protest Big Government (Jeff Zeleny, NYT) A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since […]

The Money Value of Time

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Matt Yglesias points to a recent IBM study trying to map much people hate commuting to work and points to this interesting chart: From this, Matt concludes that all manner of government policies could be framed as a way of reducing the pain of commuting: higher gas taxes, congestion pricing, and so forth. I simply […]

Obama’s Education Speech

Obama Schoolchildren Speech Photo

Matt Yglesias takes mock exception to President Obama’s assertion to our nation’s schoolchildren that “You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.” He notes that, “My father dropped out of tenth grade and has had a […]

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