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Liberal Outrage

You must be this strong to bear these arms

I guess Justice Scalia was interviewed at Fox News over the weekend, where he laid out his criteria for the 2nd Amendment.

WALLACE: What about... a weapon that can fire a hundred shots in a minute?

SCALIA: We'll see. Obviously the Amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried -- it's to keep and "bear," so it doesn't apply to cannons -- but I suppose here are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided.

WALLACE: How do you decide that if you're a textualist?

SCALIA: Very carefully.

Serious Sam begs to differ, Scalia.

By fnord12 | July 30, 2012, 1:51 PM | Liberal Outrage & Video Games | Link

It's still link-blogging; i know

Co-Host Min told me that, for the sake of my own sanity, i shouldn't bother with the crazy man who says the government didn't create the internet, and since it was only going to be link-blogging to Kevin Drum and Atrios anyway, i agreed. But then i read Matthew Yglesias, and he has an interesting twist. Even if you accept that the government didn't create the internet (you shouldn't accept it; read Drum and Atrios), Yglesias points out that this innovation came at a time when top marginal tax rates were 50%+.

The thing about this is that we ought to understand both PARC and its East Coast friend Bell Labs as in important respects outgrowth of the high marginal tax rates prevailing in postwar America. These were, lets recall, very high rates. If you look on the corporate income tax side (PDF) you'll see that during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson years the top rate hovered around 50 percent. Dividends were taxes at a rate that maxed out at 91 percent before declining to "only" 70 percent as a result of LBJ's tax cutting.

This created a dynamic where "earn a profit and pay the profits out as dividends to our richest and most influential shareholders" was not a very high priority for managers. And for executives to give themselves a raise was tantamount to handing money over to the government. There was nothing left to do but spend it on something, and various high-tech research labs and skunkworks' fit the bill. After all, if something really awesome emerged you'd get glory--and the government can't tax glory.

So i guess if Crazy Guy wants to go back to that, i'm willing to let him pretend Xerox created the internet by themselves.

By fnord12 | July 24, 2012, 3:59 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Negative interest rates

Per Krugman.

Right now people will pay us to borrow money from them. We can't afford not to have a giant stimulus.

By fnord12 | July 24, 2012, 3:45 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The number is suspiciously equal to the number of left-of-center politicians elected to office

I try to avoid genuine nut-picking but this was too good to pass up:

How many more "Fraud-Babies" [like Obama] have been injected into the U.S. system and are now being prepared to assume office?

By fnord12 | July 23, 2012, 12:54 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Never underestimate the lure of hippie punching

Paul Krugman points to an article by David Roberts on how the experts of a decade ago vastly underestimated the amount of energy gains to be had from renewable sources and increased energy efficiency.

Roberts thinks the reasons are due to the distributed nature of renewables, making estimations of innovation and usage difficult. Krugman says it's industry capture. But we shouldn't neglect the basic fact that solar and wind power are associated with dudes who also build houses out of used tires, and there's a natural tendency to dismiss them as cranks, especially among pundits but even possibly among the type of industry experts that Roberts is citing.

Anyway, it seems like Roberts has some good news for us.

By fnord12 | July 23, 2012, 12:16 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Link

I didn't say anything about licking batteries

I am not a pot smoker (nor an alcohol drinker, nor a glue sniffer) but i do think it should be legal.

Matthew Yglesias says that if marijuana were legal, it would be incredibly cheap (he uses this as a starting point to say that there's a lot of margin to place a hefty sin tax on it).

This would make pot far and away the cheapest intoxicant on the market, absolutely blowing beer and liquor out of the water. Joints would be about as cheap as things that are often treated as free. Splenda packets, for example, cost 2 or 3 cents each when purchased in bulk.

In my younger, wilder, ZMag days, i seem to remember the conspiracy theory being that the fact that it was so cheap was the reason that the alcohol companies got together with the government to make pot illegal. But Kevin Drum points out that our laws come from a UN treaty.

Probably nobody cares about this, but there's a reason marijuana isn't legal anywhere in the world: the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty adopted in 1961. Marijuana is a Schedule I drug under this treaty, which means it's flatly, totally forbidden. Countries can decriminalize marijuana use, but no signatory to the treaty can legalize either use or cultivation.

So it's not just a matter of getting either Congress or a state legislature on board for legalization. You'd have to get the United States to withdraw from the 1961 treaty, and that just isn't in the cards. Decriminalization and wink-wink-nudge-nudge lack of enforcement are about the best we can hope for anytime in the near future.

Getting marijuana decriminalized already seems like an insurmountable hurdle, even after having several former pot smokers in the White House. Revoking/revising a UN treaty just seems impossible. So the war on drugs continues...

By fnord12 | July 19, 2012, 4:42 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

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