March 6, 2009

Random Links - 21

Landed on Slate website... wow..lots of good articles to share!

1) This series counts as 1 in my count of 5 ;)
  • The Time-Space Theory
    Is a rational al-Qaida merely biding its time?
    Timothy Noah | March 5, 2009
  • Why No More 9/11s?
    An interactive inquiry about why America hasn't been attacked again
    Timothy Noah | March 5, 2009
  • The Electoral-Cycles Theory
    Does al-Qaida systematically attack immediately before or after a change in leaders?
    Timothy Noah | March 4, 2009
2) Stuff the beast!

Ross Douthat thinks he knows what Obama is up to--he's pursuing the opposite of Bush's "starve the beast" policy, which sought to limit future spending by denying government revenues. Obama, the theory goes, is trying to cram as much spending as possible into the budget, knowing full well it's not paid for:
Obama's spending proposals would ... create new spending commitments and run up large deficits, in the hopes that the dollars poured into health care and education will create a new baseline for government's obligations, which in turn will create the political space for tax increases on the middle class. Like the starve-the-beast approach, the Obama strategy puts off the hard part till tomorrow: Give them tax cuts today, conservatives said, and they'll swallow spending cuts tomorrow; give them universal health care, universal pre-K, subsidies for green industry and all the rest of it today, liberals seem to be thinking, and they'll be willing to pay for it tomorrow. ...

[I]f you can change the baseline of social spending that Americans expect from their government before that day of hard choices arrive - and once created, government programs are awfully hard to get rid of, whether they're actually effective or not - then you've tilted the landscape of negotiation in liberalism's favor, and ensured that a post-Obama entitlement compromise will look a lot more like social democracy than a pre-Obama compromise would have. 
What would be wrong with a "stuff the beast" strategy? It's disingenuous--but what of that, if the end result is progress? And if the result of Obama's strategy would be only a) universal health care, unversal pre-K, and green industries and b) higher taxes to pay for them, maybe near-unalloyed progress is what it would bring. But there are three obvious questions for the beast-stuffers:
..... more here.
3) War on the Rich? 
The bogus GOP claim that Obama is trying to bleed wealthy Americans.

4) Is Obama Making Nice With Bush?
Curious changes to 43's bio on the White House Web site.

5) The World According to TARP
If banks don't like the scrutiny that comes with bailout funds, why don't they just return the money?

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At the school dances white and black girls shook on the floor, by Anais Duplan

Today, a poem  by  Anaïs Duplan,  from the Bennington Review. [AT THE SCHOOL DANCES WHITE AND BLACK GIRLS SHOOK ON THE FLOOR.]  ...