Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Links! I have them!

Various stuff I'm reading.

A Conservative for Obama: My party has slipped its moorings. It’s time for a true pragmatist to lead the country.

But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.

Even Fox News Says McCain is Lying
KELLY: No, no! Let's stay on point, I'm not giving him any credit. I'm saying what the independent analysts say. They say that claim is false. And if that's false, why would John McCain do that, Tucker? Why wouldn't he just level with the voters and say, look, he's going to raise taxes on the wealthy or whatever you consider somebody to be making over $250,000, it's going to have a trickle down effect. That may not be good for the middle class. But why say he's going to raise taxes on the middle class when he's not?

Debates May Not Be Decisive After All
Once you get out of the convention period, voter preferences tend to have become a lot more stubborn, and even terrific or terrible debate performances don't tend to alter them all that much.

McCain and the Fannie and Freddie Lobbyists
Companies as huge as Fannie and Freddie are inevitably going to have former employees involved in both parties and inevitably going to give money to both parties. No one in politics is ever going to be entirely unconnected to them. But for McCain to point to these few superficial ties to the mortgage crisis in the Obama campaign in light of his own campaign's far deeper connections to the very people McCain now blames for the crisis is staggering chutzpah.

McCain Loses His Head
Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.


Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.

Can Binge Drinking Save Social Security?
A 2004 study by Frank Sloan and Jan Ostermann at Duke University found that heavy drinkers contribute slightly more to Social Security, through their higher average lifetime earnings, than nondrinkers do. What’s more, since alcohol abusers tend to die sooner than moderate or nondrinkers, they draw less money, over time, from the Social Security trust fund.

Their conclusion: the elimination of heavy drinking (three or more drinks a day) from each successive group of American 25-year-olds would cost the Social Security trust fund $3 billion over the cohort’s lifetime.

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