Be Careful What You Ask For, “Campaign Finance Reform” Edition

In America, vast pools of money in politics give the business community enormous power to influence elections. That’s bad. But the alternative, apparently, is to get the money out and instead give media moguls enormous power to influence elections. Pick your poison.

via Theories of the British Press – Megan McArdle – Business – The Atlantic.

Getting Specific on Spending

In which Ms. McArdle makes points similar to the ones I made here. She concludes with this very good ending paragraph:

The failure to think specifically applies to taxation, incidentally.  I know a very large number of east coast progressives who are outraged when they suddenly discover that middle-class ol’ them, who doesn’t even have enough money to repair the cracks in the ceiling after property taxes and school bills and one not-very-nice vacation to Nova Scotia, are technically "the rich" for the purpose of assessing taxes.  They, too, are not thinking specifically about where the money is.  They’re just thinking it would be nice for Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates to have less stuff, while people living in housing projects have more.  But there, as with cuts to the nebulous cloud of "spending", the math doesn’t work.  If you want to raise more tax revenues, stop thinking about corporate jets and the carried interest, and start thinking about eliminating the mortgage interest tax deduction for all earners, and allowing the AMT to kick in on the upper end of "middle class" incomes.  In other words, start thinking about taxing New York Times reporters, not a very small class of rich people.

Emphasis mine. If you want to increase revenues, then *everyone* is going to have to pay more in taxes, especially the middle class and the poor, until we get rid of a trillions in spending. Another alternative is to start moving toward the Fair Tax which *everyone* has to pay.

Via Getting Specific on Spending – Megan McArdle – Business – The Atlantic.

Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun

[T]he bearing of arms functions not merely as an assertion of power but as a fierce and redemptive discipline. When sudden death hangs inches from your right hand, you become much more careful, more mindful, and much more peaceful in your heart — because you know that if you are thoughtless or sloppy in your actions or succumb to bad temper, people will die.

via Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun.

Why License Drivers?

Why have driver’s licenses at all? … Does the licensing process really do much to weed out bad or irresponsible drivers? Enough to justify the expense and irritation of the DMV? After all, if you drive badly or drunk, the DMV doesn’t have to pay out any damages for licensing you.

via Instapundit » Blog Archive » DRIVER’S LICENSE REVOKED because facial-recognition system thought he looked like someone else. H….

An Unhappy Ending To The Drug War?

The drug war inevitably leads to corruption in the forces recruited to fight it.  It erodes civil liberties.  It diverts law enforcement resources from other tasks.  In a society which believes that lap dancers in strip bars are exercising their constitutionally protected right of free expression and that virtually any government interference in the termination of unborn life is an obscene and inexcusable violation of the right to privacy, it is hard to find good reasons why government should have the right to tell us what chemicals to put in our bloodstreams.

via An Unhappy Ending To The Drug War? | Via Meadia.

Marijuana, or Multi-Tasking?

There is a great coffee mug that reads: “Multi-tasking, the best way to screw up both jobs.” Yet, many of us walk around with our chests out looking for a Foursquare badge for our multitasking promiscuity.

According to Josh Waitzkin, “A study at The British Institute of Psychiatry showed that checking your email while performing another creative task decreases your IQ in the moment 10 points. That is the equivalent of not sleeping for 36 hours – more than twice the impact of smoking marijuana.”

Hat tip to Travis Swicegood; via Social Media Multi-tasking Worse than Marijuana | Socialnomics.

Marylin Monroe? Not Plump At All; Very Thin.

We should never again hear anyone declare that Marilyn Monroe was a size 12, a size 14 or any other stand-in for full-figured, zaftig or plump. Fifteen thousand people have now seen dramatic evidence to the contrary. Monroe was, in fact, teeny-tiny.

The 15,000 were the visitors who turned out over eight days to oooh and aaah at the preview exhibit for the June 18 auction of Debbie Reynolds’s extraordinary collection of Hollywood costumes, props and other memorabilia.

The two comments heard most often in the crowded galleries were (to paraphrase), “Wow, they were thin” and “It’s such a shame. These things should be in a museum.”

via Hollywood Auction Ends Myth of Zaftig Marilyn: Virginia Postrel – Bloomberg.

D-1: U-Haul and U2

I went over to the U-Haul folks this morning to pick up my moving truck. The reservation I made 3-4 weeks ago turns out to have been worthless; not only was there no 20-foot truck at that establishment, there were in fact no trucks to be had anywhere in the city. After some back-and-forth, the reservation folks got me a 17-foot in Dickson TN. My brother will pick it up and drive it here to Memphis tonight.

Add to that, on my moving day tomorrow, there is a U2 concert about 1/2 mile from my new rental house, and some streets have been blocked off. Thank goodness there’s a back way in to my new address.

File under “The perversity of the universe tends toward a maximum.” Or maybe under “No plan survives initial contact with the enemy.”