Results tagged “politics” from kwc blog

Trains

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My desire to keep this blog relatively apolitical was overridden by my love of trains.

(caught this on Rich's shared feed)

Credit: Christopher Morris (Hasted Hunt Gallery)

I find White House photography fascinating. With the heavy-handed use of symbolism in American politics, this genre of photography has the ability to dissect the staging, either through an overt presentation of the symbol or positioning itself orthogonal to the television camera.  I came across Christopher Morris's gallery for Hasted Hunt and Time's White House Photo of the Day separately and enjoyed both immediately. As it turns out, the TIme site mainly features Christopher Morris and Brooks Kraft.

 

Credits (clockwise from top left): Brooks Kraft, Christopher Morris, Christopher Morris, Christopher Morris

Voting aftermath

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house.election.map.nyt.2006.gif

Rumsfeld Resigns as Defense Secretary After Big Election Gains for Democrats

I spent all night reloading Virginia's results, watching in panic as Allen and Webb changed places, and then calming down as Arlington and Fairfax started pushing Webb ahead. I'm not terribly happy with the California Propositions results, though I'm glad that the 'takings' eminent domain prop got voted down. I drove around in a semi-panic election morning trying to find my polling place due to an registration snafu on my part. I ended up voting in Los Altos on one of their new touchscreen machines: this time around their touchscreens have printed receipts, which was rather comforting, even if there is some bad UI design -- if you check the wrong box, you can't change it by checking the correct box; you have to first press on the checked box, then check the correct box.

Succinct analysis

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Washington Post: "Nearly five years after Bush introduced the "axis of evil" comprising Iraq, Iran and North Korea, administration has reached a crisis point with each." (article)

Colbert's performance

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People are still talking about Colbert's White House Correspondents' Dinner performance, debating whether or not it crossed the line, whether or not it was funny, whether or not it was brave, etc... As someone who watches every episode of the Colbert Report, what I found most impressive is that it's Thursday and people are still talking about a comedian's standup routine from last week. I haven't seen that much buzz from something a comedian said since Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire. As much as I probably laughed more at Stewart's exchange, I think lines delivered straight to the president's face does out do calling Tucker Carlson a dick.

Bye bye Ben

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And the hilarity ends after only three short days: Ben Domenech has resigned. The Washington Post can pretend that it was the allegations of plagiarism that finally did poor Ben in, but we all know that conservative America couldn't handle their message being delivered by an underage drinking Novak impersonator.

For balance, you can read Ben Domenech's rebuttal here.

Update: and it appears that Domenech has finally owned up

Novak, Novak, Novak

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I want to be like Novak. Scratch that. I want to be like I want to be like Novak. That way I can get a controversial blog on WashingtonPost.com and use my first post to explain how my love for Red Dawn and Patrick Swayze transcends acting "talent." Then Novak could post about my blog, I could drop in, and hilarity would ensue.

Sorry Novak, I just had to share this with the non-LJ community.

Update: and it just gets sadder more hilarious -- novak's story is now on Wonkette

Federal Budget Explorer 2007

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Paul's Federal Budget Explorer version 2007 is up for those that want to explore how their tax bill is divided up.

Paul's random observations:

  • Games with the defense budget continue. Since the emergency funding for the wars has not yet happened, the budget continues to show a decrease over the current year, as it has for the past 3 years.

  • Medicare still up 9.3% overall, despite the cuts proposed, due to the prescription drug benefit. Medicare almost topped $400b.

  • Interest on the debt almost edged out all health spending at $243b.

  • Social security still the top category at $588b and growing at 5.5%.

For additional scrutiny, WashingtonPost.com's Froomkin has a roundup of articles pointing out the many fallacies in this year's budget.

Previously: Federal Budget Explorer 2005, California Budget Explorer 2004-05

Republican sex

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Making Light pointed me to this New Yorker article about the amusingly bad sex scenes in Scooter Libby's 1996 novel, The Apprentice. To prevent innocenty bystanders from being injured I won't put any quotes here, so you'll have to read the article yourself if you are one who is entertained by such things. You'll also be rewarded with best-of sex scene excerpts from Safire, Buckley, and O'Reilly if you read the article, though Lynne Cheney's lesbian masterpiece Sisters didn't make the cut.

I went onto Amazon to see if the review of The Apprentice had been co-opted yet, but all I could find was this insightful review from 2002:

Personally, I find the Japanese weird and constipated beyond all reason. But they have developed a helluva good cuisine (love that wasabi!), have fought some amazing fights and are pretty fabulous engineers. So, if you find them strange but fascinating, this book will enhance your understand of their tortured, demented souls.

Pledge drives averted

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Updating a previous entry, Congress undid the spending cut imposed on public broadcasting by a House subcommittee: Congress Will Not Cut Public Broadcasting Funds.

misdirection

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I came across an Ann Coulter quote while being entertained by Ze Frank's response to Dennis Prager. Prager took the example of a college student yelling anal sex references at Coulter as an example of the Left's Hitler Youth. More on that, but first, the Coulter quote:

"When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."

parakkum pointed out this fits well with meta's On Bullshit post as it is about "shifting the focus of discussion in manipulative ways."

This is the second time I've run across Coulter's quote, but this is the first time I realized how that I reacted to it as Coulter intended (incorrectly). Coulter wants you to be so disgusted with her talk of liberals being traitors and her advocacy of killing liberals that you miss the central premise of her quote: John Walker is a liberal.

Yes, John Walker is an assault-weapon-totin', fundamentalist, anti-feminism liberal, and (getting back to Prager), the Hitler Youth were a bunch of anti-war, pro gay, free-speech hooligans.

CNN just keeps cranking these out

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Yesterday's CNN headline of Bush: Better human intelligence needed was fun in the "Haha Bush is stupid" meme, but I still prefer today's more ironic Poll: Nation split on Bush as uniter or divider headline.

Sad

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Congress Trims Money for Science Agency

At least our pop culture will remain intact:

While cutting the budget of the science foundation, Congress found money for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, bathhouses in Hot Springs, Ark., and hundreds of similar projects.

Book: America

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I just finished America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. I like the idea of the book -- a satire of American high school textbooks -- and it definitely provided its worth in entertainment. However, the nature of the satire -- an American high school textbook -- is an extremely rigid framework that makes it difficult to keep the jokes high quality. Every margin has to be filled with joke figures, polls, and "Where you aware" one-liners. The jokes in the text have to keep pace with the brevity and summarizing of textbooks. It is constant humor, rather than great humor.

I won't spoil the jokes in the book, save one, which has probably been told elsewhere anyway:

Discussion Question #1: If "con" is the opposite of "pro," then isn't Congress the opposite of progress?

Today's playlist

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Feel free to contribute and keep me angry today:

"Fortunate Son"
"Rockin' in the Free World"
"The Times They Are A-Changing"
"Star Spangled Banner" ala Hendrix
"Imagine"
"Born in the USA"
"Ohio"
"Take the Power Back"
"Old Mother Reagan"
"Masters of War"
"Mosh"
"War Within a Breath"

Missing mp3s: "Know Your Rights", "Revolution"

Update:
"For What It's Worth"
"If I Rule the World"

Update 2 (per pqbon's comments):
"Man in Black"
"Freedom"
"Know Your Enemy"
"Anarchy in the UK"
"Killing in the Name"
"The Ballad of Ira Hayes"

Proposition Hell

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I had a hard time going through all these propositions. parakkum's entry inspired me to finally bite the bullet and work through how I was going to vote on each. I decided to post my recorded thoughts here because, the fact is, these propositions were complicated, and I could be swayed by a well-reasoned argument on some of these.

1A (No): Ensures local property tax and sales tax revenues remain with local government thereby safeguarding funding for public safety, health, libraries, parks, and other local services. I'm voting no, mainly because California suffers from enough bureaucratic hoops when it comes to how money is spent and where it comes from.

59 (Yes): Public Records. Open Meetings I like the openness principle this law embraces, so yes.

60 (Yes): Election Rights of Political Parties This pretty much sounds like a restatement of primary principles. While I think our election process in this country is flawed, 60 sounds better than the other proposals.

60A (No): Surplus Property This is a hard one. It's such a narrow way to pay off our debt because it only targets one very small source of income (2-3 orders of magnitude less than the debt it attempts to repay), and by making that source of income unusable, I don't think it will have much effect. I'm voting no, as I don't think the payoff is worth having this on the books. BTW - why the hell is this 60A? Were they afraid of running out of numbers?

61 (Yes): Children's Hospital Projects I agree with parakkum that this doesn't address the real problems with child healthcare (mainly that many are not covered), but I still support throwing money at structural needs in the hopes that they may secondarily address the overarching problem.

62 (No): Open Primaries A whole-hearted no

63 (Yes): Mental Health Services Expansion and Funding. Tax on Incomes over $1 Million. Initiative Statute Sure, why not. I don't make $1M ;). On a more serious note, California could really use better mental health services.

64 (No): Limits on Private Enforcement of Unfair Business Competition Laws I'm voting no, mainly because it seems like it would help companies pollute more easily and engage in other forms of bad behavior that don't necessarily constitute monetary damage.

65 (No): Local Government Funds and Revenues I'm voting no (as I'm voting no on 1A as well)

66 (Yes): Limitations on "Three Strikes" Law I'm voting yes, as I'm against mandatory sentencing guidelines. The US incarcerates an absurd number of people, and has very little to show for it in terms of public safety other than massive costs that take away money for more useful measures.

67 (Yes): Emergency and Medical Services I'm voting yes on this. Emergency medical is hugely expensive, especially in California, where we allow companies to abuse illegal immigrants, in effect creating a large workforce without any medical coverage (but often in need of it). It will also help community clinics, which will improve the overall health of the community, which is good for everyone.

68 (No): Tribal Gaming Compact Renegotiation I hate all these Indian casino propositions. I don't think they should be on the ballot they're so stupid.

69 (No): DNA Samples I'm not necessarily against collecting DNA samples from felons, but I think this particular proposal does not contain the proper balance necessary between privacy and public safety.

70 (No): Tribal Gaming Compacts. Exclusive Gaming Rights. Contributions to State (see 68)

71 (Yes): Stem Cell Research. Funding. Bonds I'm going to go against parrakum, man of bio that he is, perhaps because I've been reading Castells recently. The IT boom emanated from California due to a convergence of many factors, including strong public funding to promote growth of that industry here. This boom produced obvious benefits for California, though the bust had its problems as well. I think the factors that were present in California for the IT boom (strong university tie-ins, public funding, culture) are present for a boom around stem cell research as well, and I would like to keep California on the cutting edge of scientific and technological breakthroughs. I'm voting yes (because I also don't think stem cell research is evil, though it does have to walk a careful moral and ethical line).

72 (Yes): Health Care Coverage Requirements I agree with parakkum here. The businesses that California wants to keep (e.g. high tech) already offer health insurance, and the ones that don't offer health insurance (grocery stores, Walmart, etc...) can't leave. Good health helps everyone.

Woohoo! 'Skins suck! Really, woohoo!

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Via snopes and a mailing list I'm on, I can actually be happy that the Redskins are so pathetic this year. I can even save face with my Packers friends as we are both unified in our desire to have Bush removed from office. I'll even wear a cheesehead if that helps this happen.

The Washington Redskins have proved to be a time-tested election predictor. In the previous 15 elections, if the Washington Redskins have lost their last home game prior to the election, the incumbent party has lost the White House. When they have won, the incumbent has stayed in power.

This election year, that deciding game takes place on Sunday, October 31 ... vs. Green Bay.

Photo of the Day: iRaq

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06-29-04.iRaq-1.jpg

Seemlessly deployed political statement...

Balance the National Budget

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Here's a little toy for Paul: A National Budget Simulation that challenges you to try and balance the federal budget.

Rice appears

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The spin coming out of Rice's appearance before the 9/11 commission appears to be mildly positive, or at the very least not negative. I did, however, enjoy this bit from a NYTimes article:

Mr. Ben-Veniste persisted, asking, "Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice" that the presidential daily briefing on Aug. 6 "warned against possible attacks in this country?"

He ended the question by asking her to give the name of the memo, to which she replied: "I believe the title was `Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.' "

Ms. Rice insisted, however, that the memo did not warn of attacks inside America. "It was historical information based on old reporting," she said. "There was no new threat information, and it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States."

Unintentionally interesting

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Multiple people had been telling me about Neighbor Search, which lets you look up who contributed to what political campaign. You can either seach by name or you can input your zip code and see what turns up.

I found a particularly devious use of the tool: it happens to be a really good way of looking up the address of famous people. You also find out who they gave money to, as well as what they list their occupation as.

It all started when I started trolling through Los Altos donations and I noticed Andy Grove's name (head of Intel). I then tried the next Bay Area CEO that popped to mind -- Steve Jobs -- and was able to find his wife listed. Silicon Valley CEOs are kinda boring, though so I started typing in the names of famous actors and musicians. At first I was discouraged, until I started typing in the names of known politically active celebrities and came across Susan Sarandon. My first real celebrity, at last! Strangely, I couldn't find Tim Robbins, but perhaps his real name is different.

Typing in the names of various celebrities, as well as looking up their real names to search on, wasn't paying off as fast as much short attention span would allow. I needed to get more matches quickly. I thought to myself, "If I was a famous person, where would I live?" Bel Air, Beverly Hills 90210? Bingo! Between the zipcodes for the two areas the names came rolling in. Here's a partial list (a question mark means it's unclear if it's correct):

- Susan Sarandon
- Andy Grove
- Steve Jobs
- Jon Bon Jovi (?)
- Helen Hunt
- Johnnie Cochran
- Mary Steenbergen
- Mel Brooks
- Ted Danson
- Mike Myers
- Larry David
- Paul Reiser
- Mike McCready (Pearl Jam guitarist)
- Leonard Nimoy
- Melanie Griffith
- Michael Douglas (?)

Also, the job titles you see listed are often interesting. Here are some of the jobs titles from a single zip code search (90200):

- Executive, Warner Brothers
- Producer/CEO, Jim Henson Co
- Chairman/CEO, Warner Bros Entertainment Inc
- Executive Producer, Walt Disney Studios
- Producer, Sony Pictures
- Executive, Castle Rock
- Chairman, BMI Music
- President, Sony Work Group

Clearly, there are easier ways of getting the addresses of famous people. A $5 map to the stars probably gives a thousand times as many names as this, but for some reason I find this indirect method particularly entertaining.

Book: Against All Enemies

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(As I look down at my watch as I start this entry, I see it is 9:11, eery). I had been eager to read this book, partly because I wanted to see someone stick it to Bush's international policies, partly because it will most likely change the course of the election to come, and partly because Richard Clarke's career, spanning thirty years, would certainly offer much needed perspective on the evolution of America's relationship to the Arab world.

What I found inside Against All Enemies was three books. The first part recounts the events of September 11th from Clarke's perspective. The second part recounts the history of US counter terrorism policy and relationship with the Arab world from the mid 1970s up until the end of Clinton's presidency, with a large focus on the Clinton presidency. The third and final part of the book deals with the Bush presidency, briefly discussing its failures before September 11th, and then focusing on the failures of his post-September-11th policy.

In my extended entry, I recount each of these sections in more detail, but what was most surprising to me, was that the majority of this book is not a "attack Bush" book. Blind to the 9/11 Commission and the rest of the media circus swirling around this book, and asked to write a one sentence summary of this book, I would say

A history of America's counter terrorism from Ronald Reagan to present

In this function, the book is very insightful. You should read this book regardless of political viewpoint, as I, at least, found it to be the first cohesive and detailed history of the emergence of radical Islamic terrorism as a threat to America. At some point in our history, we transitioned from a Cold War threat to a jihadist terrorism threat, and Clarke is able to pull apart history to show us how this transition took place. One also gets to see how the gears of the CIA and FBI interact, how the Executive Branch analyzes terrorist threats, how our security policies in the seventies and eighties have come to haunt us in the present day. As a national security primer, one would be well served in reading this book, regardless of your personal political leanings.

Listening to the media circus surrounding this book, though, one would believe that it's three hundred pages of non-stop Bush Administration critique. However, of the three hundred pages this book encompasses, less than a third deals specifically with Bush, and of this third, not all of it is necessarily criticizing. Sometimes Clarke makes Bush, Rice, and Rumsfeld look good, sometimes he makes them look bad. In the balance, though, he does make them look bad (Wolfowitz never looks good), and the book closes with an essay that can stand by itself as an informed critique of the current Iraq War.

From his vantage point, Clarke levels two main charges against the Bush administration. The first is that the administration ignored his warnings about the seriousness of the al Qaeda threat before September 11th, and failed to enact policies that could have possibly (but not certainly) prevented the attacks. The second charge is that by engaging America in a war with Iraq, we have only worsened America's defenses to future terrorist attacks: we passed up the opportunity to capture al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan, we stretched our military and National Guard forces thin, we stirred up anti-American sentiment by invading an Arab nation without provocation, we've underfunded security efforts at home, we failed to promote an alternate ideology to counterattack the fundamentalist, jihadist ideology, etc... (there are many more)

Of these two charges, the first has gotten the most attention in the press, perhaps because the 9/11 Commission is naturally focused on events leading up to 9/11, not the response that occurred afterward. We also seem to be at a stage where we are looking to assign blame to particular people and administrations for failing to prevent the attacks. However, I believe that it is the second of these charges that is the most important to dwell on. What we did or didn't do to prevent 9/11 at this point is moot: we as a nation now recognize the threat from al Qaeda, and whether or not someone underestimated the terrorist threat is a question for the past, not the future. Clarke, himself, doesn't focus very strongly on the first charge, and his recounting of the events before 9/11 are offered up mostly as facts without follow-up analysis and critique.

Our response to 9/11, however, is still a matter of current policy, and it is important, as we look at our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, to decide whether or not our current policies are the ones that will best prevent future terrorist attacks. Although most of the book is a memoir, Clarke shifts gears to offer a detailed critique of how our second Iraq War has weakened our defenses to terrorism, while at the same time outlining what our national security response should have been.

There is a third, implicit, criticism in the book, which is that career civil servants, qualified, intelligent people that Clarke respects, have all quit (despite many years of service), due to frustration and the way the Bush Administration is handling it's security policy. There is also another, similar criticism, which is that enlistments are certain to suffer as the Iraq War is pushing extended enlistments for Army, Marines, and National Guard alike. These are serious criticisms, but ones that unfortunately takes second stage.

Reading the book, it's easy to see why Clarke is a threatening target to the Bush Administration. Clarke's views on foreign policy and counter terrorism sit well enough to the right to fit in with a Republican administration. He has no problems with using force to achieve foreign policy goals, including assassinating foreign targets and supporting the proxy wars as a means of fighting Russia. He is also against the Kyoto Treaty and the International Criminal Court (p. 273).

Clarke will also be difficult to refute because he is extremely specific with names, quotes, and other details. I am surprised at the level of detail he was able to achieve, and I wonder what sort of journal he has been keeping in order to make this book possible. Given that the White House has had a copy for several months now, and has chosen to challenge the book primarily with character rather than factual attacks, it would appear to me at least that Clarke is probably accurate in most of his recollection. It would be too simple to find the people involved in the conversations he recounts, or the documents that he refers to, produce them, and show Clarke to be incorrect if that were the case.

Even if you don't read my extended notes that follow, I would recommend reading the transcript of Clarke's, Berger's, Tenet's, and Armitage's testimony to the 9/11 commission, contradictions in Rice's statements/attacks, and the transcript of Rice's 60 Minutes interview, which includes this wonderful exchange

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: I'm saying that the administration took seriously the threat - let's talk about what we did.

ED BRADLEY:: But no, I understand-

ED BRADLEY:: But you - you listed -

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: -priority.

ED BRADLEY:: You'd listed the things that you'd done. But here is the perception. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff at that time says you pushed it to the back burner. The former Secretary of the Treasury says it was not a priority. Mr. Clarke says it was not a priority. And at least, according to Bob Woodward, who talked with the president, he is saying that for the president, it wasn't urgent. He didn't have a sense of urgency about al Qaeda. That's the perception here.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Ed, I don't know what a sense of urgency - any greater than the one that we had, would have caused us to do differently.

This entry is almost incomplete, and I'm too lazy to finish. I have yet to write my summary of Part III, and my Part II summary is still a bit scattered.

Protest sign chique

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meta and I stopped by the Iraq War anniversary protests today (sadly, San Francisco didn't get a mention in many of the news reports). There were probably a couple thousand people in Dolores Park, but nowhere near the one million estimated in Rome.

Political commentary aside, this was a good opportunity to observe cleverness in sign-making, so I snapped several photos that I may post on Monday. We were too lazy to march with the crowd to the Civic Center, where the actual rally was to take place, so we had to make do with the creativity that could be observed close by.

My favorite sign by far was a man holding a sign that said, "I COULD USE A DATE -- BRING THE TROOPS HOME." That's like the Scrabble triple word score of sign making.

My second favorite was the seemingly ironic, "I HATE CROWDS." The irony was ruined when we saw the back of the sign, which said something like "So get Bush out of office so I can go home." I would have preferred the sign in pure ironic form, but this was a antiwar protest.

meta enjoyed the grammer-dorky, "WHO'S BEEN TERRORIZING WHOm," ('m' squeezed in as an afterthought).

There was also one hot dog vendor showing great business skills. Most likely in preparation for the protest, he had his menu printed up with the header "Dogs of Mass Destruction," with renamed menu items "Nuke Dogs" and "Scud Dogs." This was a smart recognition of his clientele, though meta pointed out that he would do even better had he added tofu dogs to the menu.

Of the pure anti-Bush signs, some slogans I liked were:
* "Re-Defeat Bush"
* "IMPEACH THE DIM SON"
* "I am the worstest president in American history"

right vs. left (economics)

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I've gotten into two arguments with people who insist that right-wing economics is defined as free market, and left-wing economics is defined as interventionist. I disagreed, and naturally long arguments ensued.

My initial position was that the terms are relative concepts that are historically mutable: they are a function of what utility function you're using, and whose utility you're maximizing. I even took (and still take) the position that free trade can be a left-wing economic position, so long as the reason for the free trade policy is to achieve income redistribution in poorer countries.

My position was changed slightly when Nate pointed out that the historical basis for the terms left/right originated during the French Revolution, when the aristocrats would sit on the right and the commoners would sit on the left. During this period, "right-wing economics" was actually synonymous with feudalism, and laissez-faire was a left-wing economics position. Over time laissez-faire has drifted to the right and pushed feudalism who knows where.

This made me think a little more, so I amend my definition now to state that right-wing economics is defined as economic policies that maximize the utility of the stronger property owners and maintain their purchasing power, whereas left-wing economics are economic policies that maximize utility for all individuals as a whole. A possibly current-day instantiation of this definition could be that right-wing economics favor pareto-optimal results, while left-wing economics favor globally optimal results. Note that the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, though in practice they frequently are, i.e. I get to keep my paradoxical assertion that free trade can be both a left and right wing policy, even simultaneously :).

This seems to be a historically neutral definition that encompasses present and past notions of left/right-wing economic policies, though it relies heavily on 'utility' fudge factor.

TurboTaxDrain, California State Edition

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Paul updated his budget tools so that you can explore California's budget now as well. It quickly puts into perspective how hard it is to balance the budget: 3/4 of the budget is split evenly between education and health & human services. If you cut education, you're damned for ruining the future of our children; if you cut health & human services, old people will beat you with their dentures.

As with Paul's federal budget explorer, you can input your own approximate taxes to see what leeches are sucking on them.

Japan sending troops to Iraq

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One of the good things America did when it occupied Japan after WWII was impose a Constitution that made it unconstitutional for Japan to raise an army. Ever since that, however, America, as well as conservatives in Japan, have been trying to undo that clause, first by allowing "defensive" military to help the US build up a front against China, and now, for the first time, allowing Japanese troops to head overseas into a combat zone. Even if they are "noncombatant," it crosses an invisible line that will be hard to jump back across.
Allies: Japan Commits Itself to Sending Up to 600 Ground Troops to Iraq

Arnold is here to pump up our deficit

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Get ready for impact - Arnold is rolling into town to demonstrate how he will decrease our deficit without increasing taxes or cutting spending.
Schwarzenegger Begins as Governor Today

Trickle down econ

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Dubya may be the first president since Hoover to have negative job creation during his term in office:
- Too Low a Bar

Celebrity Look-alikes

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photo photo
The Daily Show had a hilarious segment on last night showcasing the latest debate for the Democrat Presidential candidates. The debate was quasi-bilingual, as the questions were first asked in spanish, then translated into english. This required, of course, that each of the candidates do their best to butcher a spanish phrase of their choice. Lieberman's attempt at spanish was absolutely horrible, and he gave this look that just reminded me of Gollum during the memorable Gollum vs. Smeagol scene in the Two Towers. But rather than trust my opinion, why don't you decide?

Update: If you want to see Lieberman's muchos spanish skills, On Lisa Rein has posted the segment (it's about a minute or so in).

Big Lies

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Who is the biggest presidential liar?
- "The Mendacity Index" by Washington Monthly Staff
(via heerforceone)

Cali Edubacation

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I was cruising my usual papers, and I noticed that there appears to be a new Op-Ed format that the papers are using for their pieces. It goes somewhat like:

1. Introduce problem
2. Describe how California tried to solve that problem
3. Recommend the opposite

For example, in the NYTimes, Krugman talks about the lessons we can learn from California's energy deregulation. Also, from the Washingtonpost Op-Ed section, Lessons From California (washingtonpost.com) talks about how not to do tax policy, which places some blame on voter initiatives back by Arnold, who apparently isn't Republican enough for the true Republicans. Gee, and I thought the Daily Show campaign slogan for Arnold would appeal to them: "Cutting violence in half with a laser guided chain saw across a charred landscape... for the children."

Pol Blogging

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Now that Howard Dean is smacking Dems left and right with his Internet savvy-ness, everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. Kucinich has taken Dean's spot on Lessig's blog, Tom Daschle claims to be writing his own blog, and John Kerry has his staff writing a blog for him as well.

Anyway, I decided to post all of this because of Maureen Dowd's Blah Blah Blog column today in the New York Times. I'm sure this link will appear on many blogs because it has the word "Blog" in the title, but I post nevertheless.

BTW - I googled for "Tom Daschle Blog" and his blog did not show on the first five results pages that I checked. Also, if you search for "Travels with Tom," this mock blog ranks much higher that Daschle's. Guess no one out there is helping Daschle's pagerank.

Survivor: California Update

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Finally, a candidate that can take on the Governator and protect us from the Rise of the Machines: Save our State, Vote Terry Tate
- NYTimes article

Etc...

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Political compass

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Just took the political compass test. If I read their graphs right, then I'm most like the Dalai Lama.

The results aren't too accurate, as I felt the questionaire used too much connotation rather than denotation. It also referred to specific programs rather than the abstract ideas of the programs (thus making it difficult to agree with a statement about a program that I believe is poorly implemented).

Where do you lie?

SNL: Gore

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There was a hilarious SNL on TV. Al Gore was the host. The West Wing and Lieberman/bathtub scenes were priceless.