Archive for October, 2008

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George Will: 95% of what the government does is redistribute wealth

October 26, 2008

George Will just said on ABC’s This Week show this morning:

“95% of what the government does is redistribute wealth.”

“We have socialism for the strong.”

“Its not new.

These comments were all made in a discussion of how tax subsidies work and have always worked.  Maybe this discussion will be on YouTube?

All tax plans do this.  Thanks George for setting the record straight.

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Palin’s ignorant fruit fly remark

October 24, 2008

Some of my best friends are drosophila researchers.  There have been lots of them over the years because fruit flies are such a valuable subject for genetics research.

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Links below added on Oct 25, 2008

UNC health care weblog

The stem cell blog (search for drosophila)

Clinical correlations (search for drosophila)

University of Pennsylvania

Genomicron

Molecular biology blog

The Trail (Washington Post)

Cutting through the crap

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The smartest guys in the room crushed the world economy

October 24, 2008

Market fundamentalism, the economic theory propagated by Milton Friedman and the University of Chicago School of Economics – and most recently Alan Greenspan – is coming to a violent economic end. Friedman and his followers were seen as economic gods by the neoconservatives, whose members include Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney.

Here are some links to blogs that you might find interesting.

Sense and Nonsense

Bill Moyers interviewing George Soros

Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman and Arnold Schwarzenegger

The end of free market fundamentalism

Why market fundamentalism has failed


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Palin should auction clothes on E-Bay

October 23, 2008

OK, so a lot of money was spent for clothes from companies that don’t have stores in Paducah.

The fast answer from the McCain campaign was that they would be donated to charity.

Really?  Let’s see it.  On e-Bay where everybody can see.

They could let Rush have the honors of organizing it, he apparently is familiar with how it works.

If Britney can do it, why can’t Sarah?

I bet that $150,000 worth of clothes could go for twice that amount on e-Bay.

But it needs to close before the election, just in case McCain and Palin are not elected.  The value is likely to decrease as the post-mortem analysis drags her VP selection through the mud-encrusted wringer.

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Luciana Souza – beautiful singing

October 20, 2008

Here is a recent concert of Luciana Souza recorded on May 2, 2008 at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater in Washington, D.C

What a talent!

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What’s wrong with being Muslim anyway?

October 19, 2008

Colin Powell was interviewed on Meet The Press this morning.  He spoke to Tom Brokaw about the damages of the negative messages coming from the McCain campaign.  He posed the right question at one point: ‘Why shouldn’t a 7 year old Muslim child be able to think about being president someday?’

Considering the way the McCain campaign has been carrying on its negative attacks, Powell said he will be voting for Barack Obama.  As voters we can send a strong message to politicians of both parties – vote against negative election tactics this year. The passion of an election is no reason to tear down our principles.

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Wealth redistribution in America

October 19, 2008

Barack Obama told Joe (the Plumber) Wurzelbacher that his tax policy would “spread the wealth around”.  As a result Joe’s become famous world wide.  The McCain campaign has exploited Obama’s gaffe and the media created a human interest story that didn’t quite pan out.  I don’t know if I feel sorry for Joe, even though some of his personal problems have been exposed.  It seems he has liked being in the spotlight.

As Bob Herbert wrote in the New York Times, there are much more pressing stories to tell than Joe’s.

Wealth redistribution through tax policy sounds pretty bad, but wealth redistribution has always been a key part of the American dream.  I have to believe that trickle down Reaganomics is another form of wealth redistribution that used tax policies as part of the scheme.

The people that Mr. Herbert wrote about and the thousands of others like them are victims of a different kind of wealth redistribution.  Wherever there are economic bubbles (as there was in housing in this decade) there is wealth redistribution.  Some people get away with more than their fair share and others are left with the pain of their losses.  The mortgage practices of this decade were a massive wealth redistribution scheme with at least some amount of government support and a number of winners but many deeply damaged victims.

We have seen a widening gap between the haves and have-nots in America over the last few decades.  Some call it the shrinking middle class.  To me it seems like it is probably a clear case of wealth redistribution and its a topic worth exploring in a lot more depth.  The question is what has government’s role been in this decline.  We don’t want to become a welfare state, but figuring out what a fair distribution of wealth is a much more difficult question than what is being portrayed in the campaign now.  Its the main reason I don’t believe in unregulated economic systems – it doesn’t look like they work for most of us – whether we are the Joes of the world or the elderly and recently homeless.