Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The politics behind Mexico’s budget

Top chefs take on the burger.

Interesting development: New York City is studying the extension of the 7 line into Secaucus, N.J., otherwise most famous as the random location the NBA holds the draft lottery every year (for no discernable reason.)

A dryly amusing anecdote about cookies.

L.A. just banned plastic bags.

A first-person tale of what it’s like to work for an essay mill.

China and Argentina are doing a free-trade dance.

The chances of Sarah Palin and Mittens Romney to secure the GOP nomination for the Presidency in 2012 are overrated.

I found these comments from a Republican congressman re: a tax overhaul to be intriguing:
“Yes, I aim to launch and fight the tax reform battle once again. And, I am well aware that this might ruffle those who have used the tax code to benefit particular industries or activities at the expense of economic efficiency, simplicity, and fairness. The tax code should collect the revenue the government needs as efficiently as possible. It should not be a tool of industrial policy… Politics and politicians should not choose the industry of the day; that is the job of our private economy as driven by the spirit of the American people and a nimble free market.”

At the same time, Mr. Camp said tax reform can be an important part of deficit reduction, particularly if a streamlined code helps promote economic growth. He said his guiding principles would be: “fairer, simpler, and conducive to growth.”
Of course, this is just the conceptual stage. Wait until the actual bill gets written—then you’ll see the subsidies to the Wyoming Museum Of Wyoming Museums.

Big sponsors of celebrities are now taking out insurance against the possibility of the celebrity embarrassing him/herself.

Stagflation in the British Isles: 3.2% inflation in October. Meanwhile, the outlook remains dreary elsewhere, but in a more deflationary direction.

Businesses are competing for the right to be the IT vendors to the exchanges.

Against sophistication:
While such folks can be very smart and capable, they are uninteresting. I blame their having too many hobbies. Their conversations swirl around the same standard topics: food, music, movies, novels, travel, sports, clothes, houses, politics, etc., all of which they each feel the need to be ready to quip. Sophisticated folks are horrified to seem to not care or know the standard amount about any standard hobby. The sort of folks one wants to know, e.g., to invite to a dinner party, simply must be ready to converse lightly and intelligently (if not insightfully) on the latest fashions in all such areas. The problem is that maintaining a basic proficiency in all these topics, in addition to keeping up a job and family, etc., takes a up pretty much all their time and energy.

Interesting folks, in contrast, get so far into a particular topic that they become at risk of violating conversation etiquette, by talking too enthusiastically for too long on topics of minor interest to sophisticates. Yes, interesting folk are at risk of being distracted from dress or hygiene, or from carefully climbing their local status ladder. But they are also at risk of making a unique contribution to the world. They are also the sort of person from which you might actually hear something new, something you couldn’t hear from a million different sophisticates.

In what areas is science regressing?

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