November 11th, 2011

News

because Thursday was that busy

YESTERDAY'S NEWS:
* Robert J. Samuelson takes on the budget myths from both sides of the fence.
* "Has Iran become less dangerous?"
* Katrina vanden Heuvel on the tide of corporate money in politics.
* "Scalia's faith-based judging." (Courtesy marag.)
* The college culture that idolizes football lead to the problems at the heart of Penn State.
* Scientists identify how malaria enters the red blood cell.
* Sales of Magic: the Gathering still going strong.
* Why Google+ missed out on its chance to take on Facebook.
* The best article you will read on why Ashton Kutcher should stay on Twitter.

Adult Swim terrorist

sigh

"A Big Lie is so colossal that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. There are many examples: Claims that Earth is not warming, or that evolution is not the best thesis we have for how humans developed. Those opposed to stimulus spending have gone so far as to claim that the infrastructure of the United States is just fine, Grade A (not D, as the we discussed last month), and needs little repair.

"Wall Street has its own version: Its Big Lie is that banks and investment houses are merely victims of the crash. You see, the entire boom and bust was caused by misguided government policies. It was not irresponsible lending or derivative or excess leverage or misguided compensation packages, but rather long-standing housing policies that were at fault. Indeed, the arguments these folks make fail to withstand even casual scrutiny. But that has not stopped people who should know better from repeating them."

Fight!

Kevin Drum has a posse

"This is probably the biggest reason that no one should take too seriously Republican complaints about burdensome regulations strangling the economy. The truth is that most reformers prefer fairly simple rules. In the tax world, they'd prefer to simply tax all income. In the environmental world, they'd prefer to set firm limits for pollutants. In the financial world, they'd prefer blunt rules that cut off risky activity at its knees.

"But businesses don't like simple rules, because simple rules are hard to evade. So they lobby endlessly for exemptions both big and small. This is why we end up with tax subsidies for bow-and-arrow makers. It's why we end up with environmental rules that treat a hundred different industries a hundred different ways. It's why financial regulators don't enact simple leverage rules or place firm asset caps on firm size. Those would be hard to get around and might genuinely eat into bank profits. Complex rules, conversely, are the meat and drink of $500-per-hour lawyers and whiz kid engineers. If the rules are complicated enough, smart lawyers can always find ways around them. And American corporations employ lots of smart lawyers."