Friday, February 28, 2003

Why is the administration so uninterested in helping the economy? Here's my theory: The depressed state of the economy provides a convenient if bogus rationale for the huge, extremely irresponsible long-run tax cuts that, after Iraq, constitute this administration's principal obsession. To do anything else to help the economy would suggest that it's possible to create jobs now without putting the country's future solvency at risk--and that's not a message this administration wants to convey.
Our healthcare system gets another bandaid when what it needs is a complete restructuring.
While talking things out may help some folks, there is evidence to suggest that many others cope better through repression.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Dwight Meredith on what responsibility means to Bush.

Mr. Bush has made clear how he assesses responsibility. If possible, Bush blames Bill Clinton. If that is not possible, Bush blames the Democratic Senate. If there is no Democratic Senate, Mr. Bush blames the Republican Congress. Under no circumstances will Mr. Bush accept responsibility for any choice he makes.

Mr. Bush knows how to talk about responsibility. It is accepting responsibility that he finds difficult.
By 2050 there could actually be a decline in global population.
The future of computing: DNA computers. This model derives the energy it needs from the input molecules.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

A Carnegie Institute takedown of Pollack. Lots of folks linked it for me.
Michael Tomasky on Howard Dean.The media doesn't get it. But I think many voters will.
TAPPED on just who those "economists" are that are endorsing the bush plan.
Now, one needn't be a credentialed economist to have an opinion on the Bush budget. But traditionally, you don't get to call yourself an economist without that sheepskin. If the White House wants to play a credentialing game to even out the P.R. battle, it won't do to pad out their list of "economists" with assorted businessmen, investment bankers, high-rolling GOP donors, Wall Street analysts, political hacks, policy entrepeneurs and at least one resume-inflating comedian.
In the horse today it's Ashcroft again.
Although Ashcroft has devised a long list of terrorist organizations to be carefully watched after September 11, 2001, the list conspicuously excludes one group.

Guess which one? It's a group with a very, very long history of terrorism.

It is the Ulster Defence Association, the largest and most lethal Protestant terrorist paramilitary force in Northern Ireland -- and precisely the group that attempted to murder Bernadette Devlin McAliskey and her husband in front of their three small children in 1981!

Under reactionary Protestant fanatic John Ashcroft, UDA murderers and terrorists are free to come to and go from the United States -- but Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, their victim, is not!

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

The Wampumblog points out some more Bush newspeak. Calling it flexibility, the regime is arranging for the states to get some extra Medicaid money until after a potential second term. At that time the states would have to repay in three years the extra money they received over seven years. The states are desperate and the regime sees nothing wrong with a little loan-sharking. Talk about a poison pill"
And via the Horse. It turns out that the ABA recommendation of Estrada was cooked. Why is it that every time people in this administration move their lips they come up lying? Doesn't it just make you sick?
Via Josh Marshall. John Judis on more internal struggles in the White House. The Dems should be able to use these schisms to their advantage.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Helen Thomas Bats for Dean. Go Helen!
What? You didn't know how much John Ashcroft hates women? Well, you know now.
The sad story of internal struggles in the White House. Of course a headless fish won't rot as fast as a fish with a rotten head.
There are more alternatives than either inspect or war. Before we jump into war it would be reasonable to be forcefully agressive in the inspections. The inspectors should be allowed to declare relatively small "freeze zones" from time to time. In one of these zones all traffic would be held at a standstill until suspect vehicles and facilities passed an inspection. An orbiting JSTAR would make sure that any non-compliant vehicles would be terminated.

Such missions may be provocative and heavy-handed but they would either avoid war by forcing Saddam to be fully compliant or would bring on a more justified war if Saddam chooses to resist the inspections with arms.
TNR speaks to a the old tradition of radical liberalism, as practiced by Abraham Lincoln.
For the ultimate goal of our present war--the only possible goal--must be to persuade tens of millions of people around the world to give up their paranoid and apocalyptic doctrines about American conspiracies and crimes, to give up those ideas in favor of a lucid and tolerant willingness to accept the modern world with its complexities and advantages. The only war aim that will actually bring us safety is, in short, the spread of liberal outlooks to places that refuse any such views today. That is not a small goal, nor a goal to be achieved in two weeks, nor something to be won through mere military feats, though military feats cannot be avoided.
Regulation of sexually explicit material on the internet has always been fraught with first-amendment difficulties. Furthermore, the perception that there is easy money to be had has led to the stuffing of email-boxes with unsolicited and unwanted tasteless junkmail. Finally real progress is being made as the merchants in the financial infrastructure such as VISA decide that there are some customers they can do without. By monitoring websites and refusing to provide their services for the types of sites with whom they would rather not be associated, they not only avoid getting involved with enterprises of questionable legality and even more questionable exploitation, but they also hinder the flow of money that makes exploitation profitable. And as a capper, they are turning over lists of websites that are trafficing in child porn to the authorities. That ought to chase more than a few of the scoundrels outta Dodge.

It's been a pet idea of mine that a way to limit the evils of sexual exploitation was to remove the money from the situation. Freedom of expression is one thing but one should not expect to make money from it.
The foreign investment alarm is ringing. Is anybody going to respond?

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Jeanne D'arc has a nice set of links on deteriorating Afghanistan.
Kaplan makes an update to his NMD story. The folks in the Pentagon don't like the NMD fast track. We will be wasting tons of money on a system that doesn't show a glimmer of promise that it will work. What is Rumfeld and Co. using for brains? ... Thought so.

Friday, February 21, 2003

This is just crazy! NMD is a brain-dead idea. And your precious tax money is funding it. How much medical care and quality teachers could we get for $9.1 billion? Rumsfeld needs to be put out to pasture along with the horse he rode in on!
Disposal of radioactive wastes in Yucca Mountain probably has its problems, but we have to do something. If Rodney Ewing is correct in his criticisms, perhaps we should recycle uranium reactor wastes into plutonium fuel and burn it. The recycling will not only reduce the volume of waste by an order of magnitude but the waste material itself will be much less long-lived.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

MyDD has some news about Howard.
It's nice to see the ABA doing something positive for the class action mess.
"By its resolution," said Carper, "the ABA's House of Delegates has recognized the growing public concern about class action abuses and the problem of overlapping class action cases."

And by recognizing the legal profession's broader interest in justice for all, the ABA helped make these issues potentially solvable as a public-policy question, rather than a high-stakes wrangle between powerful bands of professionals.
More on developing a rational immigration policy.
Indeed, a wholesale crackdown on illegal immigration could, by consuming scarce resources, hinder rather than help the effort to keep potential terrorists out of this country. "By some estimates," says Griswold, "we spend $3 billion a year trying to keep Mexican workers out of the United States.
There are new economic theories that indicate that patents and copyrights may not be the good things that conventional wisdom would have us believe.
Howard Dean speaks out on foreign policy. And hits it out of the park.
The White House has some 'splainin' to do. Why are they holding up the publishing of this report?

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

A distorted study misses the real gateway to drug use.
Cannabis does not cause kids to try harder drugs, but lying to them about it does.
I foresee a new branch of chemistry based on the fact that oil and water can mix. Simply removing the dissolved gas from the water allows oils to immediately mix and form emulsions. Look for all kinds of new products from salad dressings to paints.
The historical "fall" from the Garden of Eden may have happened around 50,000 years ago. For some reason before that time the hominids in Africa, Europe, and Asia appeared to be behaviorally similar as evidenced by their artifacts. Then something happened in Africa and art and jewelry appeared as well as major changes in other artifacts. Over the next 10,000 years these behaviorally modern humans spread across the globe and pushed aside the indigenous hominids they encountered.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

The horse sets the New York Times Book Review straight.

1) The Whitewater "scandal" has been shown -- with irrefutable evidence from impartial sources ranging from the Resolution Trust Corporation to the FDIC to the Office of Independent Council -- to have been a phony scandal from the very beginning, in which Bill and Hillary Clinton committed no wrongdoing, and for which no convictions have ever been brought against Susan McDougal.

2) Kenneth Starr and his prosecutors regularly and systematically abused the powers of the Office of Independent Counsel. The abuses included: Hounding witnesses, including Susan McDougal and Monica Lewinsky, to try and get them to lie; improperly and perhaps illegally coordinating their own activities with the right-wing "elves" connected (as Starr himself was) to the Paula Jones defense operation; and attempting to usurp the powers of the House of Representatives by issuing a report that called for President Clinton's impeachment.

3) The New York Times has never corrected its flagrantly erroneous and disproven reporting on the Whitewater matter. In the past, intentionally or not, the New York Times Book Review has contributed to the cover-up of this fact by assigning books critical of the Times's performance either to in-house Times reporters or to freelance writers lacking a basic working knowledge of the facts. At the very least, there is the appearance of a gross conflict of interest here, which is just as bad as an actual conflict of interest.

4) Henceforth, the TBR should show respect for history and the factual record by seeking reviewers who have both the expertise and the objectivity required to render a fair judgment on books concerning Whitewater, the events that led to President Clinton's impeachment and acquittal, and all related matters.

* Email a letter to Chip McGrath, editor of The New York Times Book Review, advising him of the four lessons to be drawn from the Lowry fiasco.

Republican hypocrisy alert.

Judgeship nominations bring out the hypocrite in politicians of both parties, but the Republican hypocrisy here is especially impressive. When Bill Clinton was appointing judges, the senior Judiciary Committee Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch, called for "more diligent and extensive . . . questioning of nominees' jurisprudential views." Now Hatch says Democrats have no right to demand any such thing. President Bush fired the American Bar Association as official auditor of judicial nominations because the ABA gave some Republican nominees a lousy grade. Now Hatch cites the ABA's judgment as "the gold standard" because it unofficially gave Estrada a high grade.

The seat Republicans want to give Estrada is open only because Republicans successfully blocked a Clinton nominee. Two Clinton nominations to the D.C. Circuit were blocked because Republicans said the circuit had too many judges already. Now Bush has sent nominations for both those seats. Hatch and others accuse Democrats of being anti-Hispanic for opposing Estrada. With 42 circuit court vacancies to fill, Estrada is the only Hispanic Bush has nominated. Clinton nominated 11, three of whom the Republicans blocked.
Get your Paul Krugman here. Some quotes:

Surely you aren't going to let rosy budget projections snooker you, yet again, into supporting irresponsible tax cuts? By now you know that this administration always projects big budget improvement two years ahead; but every six months it marks its projection down another $140 billion or so, blaming outside events. Independent analysts, who take into account the stuff the administration pretends doesn't exist — the war, the alternative minimum tax, and so on — think we're looking at deficits of 3 or 4 percent of G.D.P., maybe more, for the next decade. And then it will get much worse.

Properly measured, the U.S. fiscal system is already "unstable" — and the new Bush proposals would quickly push it past what you called the "point of no return."

No doubt you're under intense pressure to be a team player. But these guys are users: they persuade other people to squander their hard-won credibility on behalf of bad policies, then discard those people once they are no longer useful. Think of John DiIulio, or your friend Paul O'Neill. It's happening to Colin Powell right now.
At my local congressman's town hall meeting last night I wanted to ask "With all the pork in the recent spending bill, did our district get its fair share?" But my turn for a question never came up.

He did try to blame the Democratic Senate for the delay in the budget cap resolution and therefore the delay in the appropriations. Personally I think the House's budget non-cap was way too high and the Senate was doing its best to be responsible. But too bad. The Senate went Republican and the gates of the corporate pig farm swung open.
Votes cost money.
And the evildoers have much more of it than the good guys. It's time to start the political begging.
Bad ideas to watch out for, the Consumption Tax Gambit. Properly structured, the regressive nature of consumption taxes could be mitigated. But the current regime has no interest in mitigating such regression.
File this one away for future thought. What NASCAR can teach us about business (and politics.)

Both on the NASCAR track and in business success comes from mutually beneficial cooperation and the occasional competitive defection. The defections can be forgiven by all if they don't happen too often. But greed brings disaster.

As a sidelight, it also appears that the fear of failing (or losing) tends to be a major player in moral lapses. There is no reason to cook the books when a business is truly succeeding. The temptation comes when a business begins to fear that it is losing out to competition. (or when a driver is about to be passed.) This is especially true if it appears that the competition is exercising an unfair (or shady) advantage. If unchecked, dueling entities can slide into moral oblivion.
I have never made great claims for my powers of memory. Here's why. Note to prosecuters: more funding needed for forensics. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.

These studies continue three decades of research by Loftus proving that memory is highly susceptible to distortion and contamination. Her past work has shown that people can be led to remember rather familiar or common experiences, even when these experiences likely had not occurred. Much of Loftus's work has focused on false claims of repressed memories of sexual abuse. She also has shown that eyewitness accounts, notably those given in court, often are inaccurate.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

This isn't news but it bears repeating.
The Bush administration's current outrage at Saddam's crimes is bogus. If people like Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and Richard Armitage (all of whom held prominent government positions in the '80s) really cared about the Iraqi people, they wouldn't have helped Saddam brutalize them in the '80s. And, since the United States doesn't care about the Iraqi people, our real motivation for war must lay elsewhere--either in a thirst for world domination, or oil, or both.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

This is so sick. More so-called Christians giving the rest of us a bad name. (Link via Atrios)

Friday, February 14, 2003

The problem with reducing taxes on corporations is that the biggest corporations don't pay their share anyway.

Enron was certainly an outlier in tax avoidance, but it reflects a broader trend. For all big businesses whine about high federal corporate income taxes, they don't pay very much of them.
Thomas Nephew posts some some rational arguments about Iraq.
Policy Review has an excellent article about the appropriate role of government in today's world. Please read.
Jeane D'Arc summarizes mess in the Ivory Coast.
CSICOP and Chris Mooney weigh in on the Dini issue
Whoo-hoo. America's Cup racing begins today in New Zealand where it is already tomorrow.
This looks like major progress in affordable solar energy. It's a fabric that's as light and flexible as denim but has as an efficiency comparable to conventional photavoltaic cells.
The threat of terrorist attack on spent nuclear fuel pools may be real but I think this article is probably over the top.

1) In order to drain a pool one would have to penetrate already-obnoxious nuclear plant security and one would have to have the technical expertise to get all the right valves open with the safety and backup systems deactivated. These pools are inside a secure area in the auxiliary building. They are not out in the open like an easy target to hit.

2) The fuel you would expose would have to be pretty much fresh out of the reactor. Fuel bundles recently placed in the spent fuel pool have generally been in a reactor for 3 to 4 years and are pretty much "burned out" in a nuclear sense. While they still produce a fair amount of heat initially, the intensity drops off pretty rapidly over the next year. In any given pool, most of the bundles will be really old with only a few having much heat. In some plants the aged bundles are removed from the pool and stored on dry racks.

3) Even if water is removed from a fresh bundle, the zirc would melt rather than ignite. Zirc presents an appreciable fire danger when it is being machined because those chips come off quite hot. But there you are looking at intense heat in the tiny area where the bit is peeling off metal shavings. The shavings can ignite but the block won't. (We machine zirc under a cooling bath.)

I'm not a spent fuel expert but there are same guys down the hall who are.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

The real cause of malpractice insurance crisis is not jury awards. It's the amount of money the companies have lost in the market combined with the actual amount of real malpractice incidents combined with the companies need to squeeze out a profit. Many companies failed to show sufficient caution in investing their reserves and now what their customers to pay for it. Some of these companies need to get out of business or change the risky way they do business. Some careful regulation may be in order as well.
DeLong warns about may happen if the Bush deficit is not mitigated.
Slate is running as series of diary entries by a US Border Patrol pilot. It's a revealing look at the mess that is caused by our ill-advised immigration laws.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Looks like we may be able to use our own immune system to fight cancers.
More on Terahertz imaging.
Our immigration system is broken and it needs to be fixed. Until 1986, Mexican immigration was circular, 80% of the immigrants returned to Mexico. We were bitten by unintended consequences when much tighter controls were put in place in '86. The numbers of immigrants didn't drop that much but those that came stayed because getting in was so difficult. The economics that makes immigration attractive have not changed. The battle can not be won on the borders as long as unskilled jobs in the US need labor. It would be better to open and control the flow instead the futility of trying to stop it.

A sensibly structured guest-worker program would actually reduce existing artificial incentives for longer stays, family consolidations and semi-permanency.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Looks like Greenspan stepped up and held to his convictions. That's certainly refreshing to see. Wonder when it will cost him his job.

Mr Greenspan warned senators that the huge budget deficits contemplated by that plan would have negative economic consequences, and that there was an urgent need to restore budget discipline.

And he also contradicted the assertion of the budget director, Mitch Daniels, that higher economic growth would eventually correct the deficit.
If there weren't enough arguments against it, this case shows how silly the death penalty can get.
If Bin Laden really issued solidarity statement with Iraq, this is a strengthening of the al-Qaida/Iraq connection. They share too many enemies not to cooperate eventually. Rather like Japan and Germany in WWII.
Timothy Noah has an excellent run-down of a dove's quandry on Iraq. But even he failed to pick up on the possibility of Saddam supplying anthrax or nerve gas to a freelance al-Qaida cell in the not-too-distant future. No love is lost between Saddam and al-Qaida today but I think it is quite plausible for them to set aside their differences briefly to strike a blow against the US.
The real right-wing conspiracy is exposed. Are the mainstream media going to pick this up? We'll see. (Hat tip to Hesiod).
Terahertz imaging technology is coming soon. It uses a frequency of radiation between infrared and microwaves that is emitted by almost all objects. It captures images passively like an infrared camera but because the radiation penetrates it can show internal structure of soft tissue in the body and can potentially capture images through solid walls.
Looks like Greenspan flinched. Checking to see Krugman's take.
There may be a breakthrough on preventing preterm births. Anything to have healthier babies and reduce obstetric costs has my vote.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

I've been thinking about the Iraq/al-Qaeda connection. I don't think there is much of a connection now, but I worry a connection developing in the near future. With that future connection I worry about Saddam providing unconventional weapons to al-Qaeda. Saddam is unlikely to use them since he is a clear target for retaliation. Yet if some free-lance al-Qaeda cells got them, they would have no compunction at using them. But Saddam seems to have a more well-developed relationship with the Palestinians at this time than al-Qaeda. So why haven't Palestinians been provided with unconventional weapons? Wouldn't they be a more effective delivery system than Scuds? Human vector chemical attacks have been attempted before as with the Aum Shinrikyo. Granted they weren't terribly effective but given the number of attacks Palestinians could have conducted it would be reasonable to expect effectiveness to improve. Is there a deterrent in effect for Saddam in this? Or has he just not thought of it?

The potential for a Saddam/al-Qaeda connection in the future was leading me to move toward war. But this second scenario leads me away. Whatever is deterring Saddam from supplying Palestinian terrorists would most likely deter him from supplying al-Qaeda. As long as the Palestinians don't use unconventional weapons, I don't see the war as necessary.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Josh Marshall makes an excellent point in assessing Saddam's future behavior. I have always contended that Saddam's best move would be to make a show of giving up his unconventional weapons. The heat mounted against him by the international community would quickly evaporate, his regime would remain in power, and the Bush regime's lust for a war would be frustrated. He could even pull a NorK move and start a brand new unconventional weapons program after the rest of the world gets distracted to some other crisis. Only this time he would have fewer, if any, sanctions to contend with. Furthermore he could clandestinely expand his embryonic relationship with al-Qaeda and use them as a proxy through which to mount attacks on the US. He could even supply them with unconventional weapons and still have a mechanism for deniability.

Yet, so far, Saddam has failed to avail himself of the opportunity. I agree with Marshall in that this failure points to a potentially fatal flaw in Saddam's thinking. And that undermines the proposition that he is indeed a rational actor who can be deterred. Saddam, you must be getting rusty in your old age.

Update: Mark Kleiman gets it. There seem to be few others out there that do. Pity, that.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

In a retrospective the Consortium details how Powell was caught in the middle during Desert Storm between Bush I and the military. The military didn't want to unnecessarily risk casualities on both sides as long as a non-violent resolution was possible. A likely option was rejected by Bush in favor of the war he wanted in order to purge the ghosts of Vietnam. The price was 127 killed in combat and 236 from other causes. Light casualties for an operation of that size but were the ghosts of Vietnam worth it?

It must seem like deja vu all over again for Colin.
DeLong comments and links to Paul Krugman on how the Bushies continue to lie with their statistics.
Maybe all we need to do to improve the fleet gas mileage is to install MPG gauges on cars and let good old American one-ups-man-ship have a free reign. That's certainly proven to be the case for some Honda Insight drivers.

Environmentalists have been stymied in getting real changes through Washington. Just last spring, pressured by both carmakers and auto unions, the Congress rejected a plan that would have increased average fuel efficiency to 36 mpg by 2016. (Thirty-six mpg! Ha!) But maybe for a year or two we should ask for something much simpler: that every vehicle on the road come equipped with a gauge like the one in my Honda. One that shows exactly what kind of mileage you're getting. I'm almost certain that without changing anything else in our cars, fuel efficiency would jump ten percent.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

DeLong's graphic say's it all concerning Bushie budgeting.

Update: The one thing needed to make the case complete would be to add a line showing what the deficit would be without any tax cuts.
I was impressed by Powell's presentation. Unlike the other voices in the Bush regime, Powell has protected his integrity by refusing lie even when his telling of the truth caused problems for the rest of them. No one could have made that presentation and have been the least bit believable. Powell was. He did not overstate his case and the conclusions he drew from the evidence were within the bounds of reasonability. It's just too bad his superiors lack that kind of integrity.

It would have been far, far better if the regime had approach the question something like this,
"Yes, we have a war underway against the 9/11 terrorists and their accomplices. But we also have some unfinished business with Iraq. At this time they are not connected. However, now that the terrorists have shown that they have no compunction about inflicting mass casualties we must do all that we can to deprive them of the means to do so. As long as Iraq remains a rogue state, it is more and more likely that the two will eventually get together with disastrous results. Therefore it makes sense that now is the time to finish our business with Iraq and thereby deprive the remaining terrorists of the opportunity to use Iraq's prohibited weapons against us. This appears to be the best way to keep the effectiveness of the terrorists at bay until such time as we can dispose of them directly."

Unfortunately, the regime has few that can be that articulate. Thankfully Powell is one.
Buried in the small print, Timothy Noah finds where a Bushie admits Tax Cut Caused Deficit. A smoking gun of another color.
Richard Dawkins takes those opposing transgenic splicing to task. All DNA is software written to work on a universal operating system. Just because you borrow a useful subroutine from one program (species) doesn't mean that it won't work fine in another.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

From Tapped:
Kevin Drum puts creationism in its place. Entrie also has a link to a good one at CSICOP.
From Counterspin:
Gun Industry Ex-Official Describes Bond of Silence
Dennis A. Henigan, legal director for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said of Mr. Ricker's affidavit, "The consummate insider has now exposed the dirty little secret of the gun industry — that is, the underground market is supplied by corrupt gun dealers, and the industry punishes anyone who tries to stop it."

The gun manufacturers may have just put holes in their own feet.
As tempting as it may be for the Democrats to pile more pork onto the Bush regime's egregious budget, they must...resist...resist...resist. They must be very careful and find ways to show restraint amid the Bush profligacy. All Democrat recommended spending must be coupled with recommended revenue streams, tough as that may be. If they hope to turn the ship of state away from the iceberg they must be able hang the Republicans in 2004 with their own fiscal ropes. Furthermore they must forthrightly attack line items that are clearly Republican pork. They will not win on those points but they must have a demonstrable record of fiscal restraint in 2004.

Democrats must make the case over and over again that in the Republican party, ideology and campaign paybacks are more important than sound economics. And they must also subsume cherished Democratic ideology to sound economics. Clinton dismayed the party faithful at times by stealing worthwhile ideas from the Republicans. But it worked and worked well. In these times we don't have the luxury of ideological experiments. What we need is hard-nosed pragmatism. If a sitting Democrat can not reconcile him- or herself to this, they are dragging on the party rather than lifting.
An interesting concept on putting your money where you mouth is on the death penalty. Suppose we make the prosecutors and jurors pay the ultimate price when they make a mistaken conviction. How willing would you be to pronounce a death sentence if your life was on the line if you were wrong?

Monday, February 03, 2003

Leonard Burman on a better to tax capital income only once. Forget dividend. Tax capital gains at the full rate when those gains have not been taxed at the corporate level.

Moreover, the most compelling argument for lower capital gains tax rates on corporate stocks is as an offset to double taxation.4 If double taxation were eliminated, as under the administration's proposal, there would be no good reason to retain a tax preference for capital gains. Thus, a natural alternative would be to combine relief from double taxation with full taxation of capital gains that have not been taxed at the corporate level. This note considers te effect of modifying the Administration's proposal to also eliminate the preferential tax rates on capital gains.5 In contrast to the Administration's proposal, this option would be fiscally responsible, broadly progressive, and would improve the odds that capital income is taxed once.

via Mark Kleiman via DeLong.
Jimmy Carter on Iraq.

The cost of an on-site inspection team would be minuscule compared to war, Saddam would have no choice except to comply, the results would be certain, military and civilian casualties would be avoided, there would be almost unanimous worldwide support, and the United States could regain its leadership in combating the real threat of international terrorism.

(Hat tip to Ben Spinoza)
James Capozzola over at Rittenhouse posts a more in-depth analysis of the problem with the Estrada nomination. In more obfuscation Linda Chavez gives Estrada her whole-hearted support but no good reason why.
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."
Watch out for the coming ultimate tax shelters known as Roth 401K's. Can this be right? Will wealthy people be able to put post-tax money into investment instruments whose future appreciation will never be taxed? And will these shelters be able to be inherited? Will one be able to spend the proceeds of these investments tax-free?

Talk about class warfare! Let's leave this Trojan horse outside. Maybe even put a torch to it.
The beauty of measuring the performance of the Bush regime against its self-expressed goals is that the regime will not be able to scapegoat its failure onto an obstructive Congress. By 2004 there is a high probability they will have hung themselves several times over.
Tapped demonstrates once again that this regime intentionally ignores the lack of evidence of an Iraq/Al Qaeda link.
The horse doesn't do permalinks that I can tell. But they do good job of putting Ann Coulter and Miguel Estrada in the same box.

-- Coulter's clam-up confirms that the right-wing strategy is to say NOTHING about what Estrada thinks, and on that basis to ram him through as a stealth candidate.

-- Coulter final bit of bravado, just as she goes to pieces, confirms that she knows exactly what his views on the law and the judiciary are -- and that they are just as extremist as hers are. Of that she, at least, is absolutely confident.

It's past time for the press to follow up on both of these points. The United States Senate and the American people deserve to know all they can about Estrada's views on important legal issues, like the status of Roe v. Wade. And it's the sworn duty of the press to find out that kind of information, even (or even especially) when faced with official stonewalling.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Space travel is a dangerous endeavor, even when things appear to be routine. There is little margin for error and no technology is immune from failure. It will always be so. Those who venture there walk a high-wire without a net. Let's not forget.
Hesiod points to a Iraqi defector who calls some of Hamza's testimony into question. This guy was in the Iraq nuke program 4 years after Hamza left. His story is internally consistent and is consistent with the IAEA reports. Basically he says that the Iraqi nuke program never recovered from Desert Storm.