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Posted in: Can a weakened nuclear industry survive its deadly repeating history? See in context

There are plenty of problems with the nuclear power industry and its regulators, but this is a truly rubbish piece of commentary, so full of oddly forced phrasing that I had to stop reading. I have been reading reams of arguments about nuclear power since this thing began, and the the anti-nuclear side always seems to be poorly written, poorly punctuated, poorly argued, and poorly documented. That's unfortunate. Is this really the best that the anti-nuclear side has to offer?

And by the way, given the amount of fear out there regarding the dangers of radiation, even a perfectly run and perfectly regulated nuclear power industry (which we don't have) would still have to spend a tremendous amount of time and energy convincing everyone of its safety.

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Posted in: Japanese singer Yui eyes bigger foreign fan base See in context

I give her props for playing a telecaster.

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Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

Sarge,

Timely reading here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/opinion/23krugman.html?_r=1&hp

Of course, being who you are, you will refuse to believe anything Krugman says. But I'm putting this out there anyway.

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Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

Sarge,

3 and 10, huh? OK.

First of all, "myth" three is pretty pointless, because I've never actually heard an anti-supply-sider suggest that supply-siders believe that all tax cuts pay for themselves completely. In fact, I've only heard this idea voiced by a few of the dumber variety of supply-sider. However, it is telling that Heritage feels the need to argue the point. Although they are arguing it in general terms, you can read it as an admission that the Bush tax cuts have not, indeed, paid for themselves, as you and many others now seem to be arguing.

As for "myth" ten, I was hoping you'd bring that up! Imagine a society of 10 people, 1 of which is fabulously rich and 9 of which are not. The rich guy pays $10 a year in taxes, and the other people pay $2 each. That's $28 in taxes, of which the rich guy pays about 35%. Now say you design a tax break that gives $4 back to the rich guy and gives $1 back to each of the other nine people. You have just shifted the percentage burden to the rich (it's now 40%). But this is all at the aggregate level. In fact, you have just given the one rich guy $4 that he doesn't need and, while giving only $1 each to the people who could really use the money. At the individual level, the tax breaks are indeed tilted towards the rich. There are just fewer rich people, so the pittance handed out to the poor is, all told, larger than the big break given to the rich. It really is that simple. Heritage HAS to know this; it's fairly obvious. Spin, spin, spin, spin.....

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Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

Sarge,

Read this and the associated links, too: http://themoderatevoice.com/79648/bushs-unfunded-tax-cuts-did-not-increase-the-deficit/

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Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

Sarge,

I figured you'd link to some Heritage propaganda.

I don't have the time or energy to refute all 10 claims right now, so I'll deal with the first two, which presumably are the "big guns".

"1. Myth #1: Tax revenues remain low. Fact: Tax revenues are above the historical average, even after the tax cuts."

What Heritage didn't realize at the time of writing (January 2007), though, was that GDP (their benchmark) was extremely bubble-inflated in 2006. hence, the "percentage of GDP" approach is pretty skewed. The authors concede this themselves in reference to the dot-com recession, saying "it is now clear that the pre-recession level was a major historical anomaly caused by a temporary stock market bubble." The same can, here in 2010, easily be said of 2006/2007.

"2. Myth #2: The Bush tax cuts substantially reduced 2006 revenues and expanded the budget deficit. Fact: Nearly all of the 2006 budget deficit resulted from additional spending above the baseline."

So, you have a baseline that is only kept steady by a housing/derivatives bubble, and then you pile two wars on top of that. Presto! The budget deficit resulted from spending above baseline.

Really, Sarge, you have to do better than that.

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Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

The funny thing is, I agree with Mr. Costello's basic premise--that America is suffering as a result of having an uneducated electorate. Where I differ with the author, though, is in my awareness that the author himself is one of the uneducated referred to. It's a shame he hasn't figured that out yet. If he had, we wouldn't have to read this garbage.

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Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

skipbeat,

It seems you may be right about the (un)reliability of Wikipedia, as I'm finding other sources saying it wasn't Tytler either.

The point, though, is that if anyone is benefiting in the US from the phenomenon described, it is not, as the other poster suggested, poor people taking money from the rich. Quite the opposite. In looking for the source of the quote, I found this apt commentary:

http://www.correntewire.com/what_was_never_said_and_who_never_said_it

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Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

Bebert61,

I'm not familiar with that quote. Are you thinking of the one usually attributed to de Tocqueville but actually said by Tytler?

Wikipedia snippet: The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.

* This is a variant expression of a sentiment which is often attributed to Tocqueville or Alexander Fraser Tytler, but the earliest known occurrence is as an unsourced attribution to Tytler in "This is the Hard Core of Freedom" by Elmer T. Peterson in The Daily Oklahoman (9 December 1951): "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy." * Variant: The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.

If that's the quote you were thinking of? If so, it has nothing to to with the poor taking from the rich, and everything to do with Congress buying votes. As it stands, the US currently has the opposite problem of what you were thinking of. The poor in the US don't have the clout to have more than a few Congresspeople offering them bribes out of the public treasury. The rich, though, are another story. The Bush tax cuts are just such an example of democracy-destroying fiscal irresponsibility carried out to win/maintain the support of people who should know better.

Apologies if you were thinking of a different quote.

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Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

Sarge,

Here's analysis from 2004--before the financial meltdown and the Obama administration--showing the scoop on the Bush tax cuts:

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1811

Read up!

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Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

Sarge,

Remember them Bush tax cuts? How about a pair of wars?

You don't know dirt about deficits.

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Posted in: Fixing American 'dumbocracy' See in context

In the book, “The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies,” George Mason University economics Professor Bryan Caplan argues that typical voters have strong opinions about economics despite the fact they never studied the subject.

Excellent description of the author!

Mr. Costello is clearly of the dim-witted sort who thinks that everyone is faced with a stark choice between unfettered free market capitalism that is, essentially, anarchy, and some sort of centrally controlled Soviet gulag economy.

Smart government means knowing where free markets work and where they don't, and designing government accordingly. All of the evidence--and I mean ALL of the evidence--shows that progressive tax rates and the government provision of certain services (including health care or health insurance) works better than the Mad Max free-for-all that people like Costello get horny thinking about.

Modern republicans are just a bunch of tough guy wanna-be 12-year olds.

American government would work much better if the Left shifted a little further to the Left and the Right were Eisenhower Republicans. Then we could have an honest, fruitful debate.

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Posted in: Yuko's style See in context

Best Holist.

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Posted in: Wonder Bomb bra See in context

Well, if it was designed with Yoko Matsugane in mind, it certainly isn't made for the typical Japanese female.

Isn't she over 100cm?

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Posted in: APEC fashion See in context

Miyuki looks maybe a bit tarted up, but it suits her. She's in great shape.

Yukio looks like a Star Trek action figure--uniform, pose, everything.

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Posted in: Iwate man arrested for stalking voice actress Haruna Ikezawa See in context

There's something strange about stalking a voice actress. It reminds me of the old Steven Wright joke about using a silencer when shooting a mime.

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Posted in: Mystery sign See in context

come on, people! it's so obvious the sign says "no beating your belly like a drum." You know, tanuki style.

Isn't that supposed to be the scrotum, not the belly?

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Posted in: Anyone for vodka cola? See in context

I wish it were dark rum instead.

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Posted in: Enjoy an Asahi Beer summer See in context

Sorry...that should be "not beer", not "now beer".

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Posted in: Enjoy an Asahi Beer summer See in context

It's now beer. It's a chu-hai.

The blurb is just giving Asahi Beer as the company name, although it's more properly rendered in English as Asahi Breweries.

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Posted in: Transformers See in context

#

LoveUSA at 09:03 AM JST - 9th June

"American men cannot choose their neckties based on this photo."

That sounds strangely like a claim that American men are unable to view this photo and then select a necktie accordingly. :)

I would never select a necktie for myself based on a photo of "Shia the Beef".

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Posted in: Are you in favor of government-imposed caps on executives' salary packages? See in context

I'm only for government-imposed caps when the companies involved have received government funds. So, caps on TARP recipients? Definitely yes.

More importantly, though, I think the world needs to wake up and realize that executives are not worth what they're being paid. It's that simple.

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Posted in: 22 foreign automakers to skip Tokyo Motor Show See in context

Yes, I really hope that the lack of puritanical foreign influence means that the RQs will be hotter than ever.

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Posted in: Japanese punk documentary awarded Japan Foundation Grant See in context

GaijinPunker,

Absolutely correct. And I think "The Importance of Being Angry" would be a great book title.

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Posted in: Toyota rolls out new hybrid Prius See in context

See the new Prius...same as the old Prius.

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Posted in: Japanese punk documentary awarded Japan Foundation Grant See in context

Sorry, I should have been clearer. Yes, beer is available (either in plastic cups or in cans from vending machines), but the place really isn't promoted as a drinking/socializing establishment. They're just there as spaces for bands to rent so that they can play to the friends they have strongarmed into coming. If these places were more like the US bar/club format, it would do more to help create a scene. Of course, the lack of a real scene is also the fault of the patrons, most of whom don't seem to have caught on to the idea of going to see a band you've never heard but that you've heard some buzz about.

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Posted in: Japanese punk documentary awarded Japan Foundation Grant See in context

Live Houses would actually be much better if they served alcohol. The venue could make its money selling beer (and not fleece the bands), and as-yet-unknown bands wouldn't have to force their friends to attend their every show.

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Posted in: 16-year feud unresolved after death of actress Keiko Matsuzaka’s father See in context

Haru is actually a really nice guy, and talented. Keiko's father must have been a fool who thought that only rich men would be deserving of his daughter.

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Posted in: What should the international community do if North Korea launches a rocket? See in context

EVERYBODY PANIC

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Posted in: Are you worried about losing your job? See in context

Cleo,

I imagine it depends somewhat on your field/specialty. I know some finance freelancers who are having to scrounge around (and some others who are still doing just fine).

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