Weekend Update 08-20-2011

Who knew the Irish drank that much more beer than the Germans? The Russian drink of choice, of course, is vodka. So that makes sense. Americans? We’re pikers (with watered down beer to boot). Of course, as a celiac, I can drink any normal beer brewed from wheat or barley, but I still find these things fun to dissect.

Indeed, since the Republicans have turned against their own universal health care plan, if the ACA is struck down (or the critical provision requiring everyone to buy into the system), then they should immediately return to a plan that improves and expands Medicare to everyone.

The Texas Unmiracle. It’s a good column. I’ll note that Texas has “surprisingly strict” regulations on mortgage lending (and banking in general) because many of the people who came here had lost their homes in other states to predatory bankers and wrote those protections into our constitution. Republicans in Texas have been trying to eliminate or circumvent those protections for some time now, but those who wrote it also made out constitution extremely difficult to change. Neither of those were accidents. They were deliberate. I also note that he does a good job of exposing a central logical fallacy, not just in Perry evangelists, but with the GOP in general. Every state can’t attract jobs from every other state (the central facet of the Texas approach) by depressing wages. Moreover, depressing wages nationally will lead to fewer jobs and more unemployment due to reduced demand. In fact, one of the major contributing factors to our current economic situation is that wages have been stagnant for 90% of Americans for the past thirty years. We’ve increased productivity a great deal, but without an equivalent increase in wages, that inevitably means less demand and lower overall employment.

If you somehow missed Warren Buffet’s opinion column in the NY Times this past week, take a minute to read it. The richest Americans actually understand that the approach the Republicans in Congress are taking is actually bad for them in the long run. Their wealth depends to a fair degree on our larger economy. Furthermore, they have more money than they can ever spend already. It’s hardly a “sacrifice” for them to pay more in taxes. Warren Buffet is not the first among the wealthiest to point this out. I honestly don’t understand who the GOP views as their core constituency.

Reason, Paranoia, and Implied Violence. If I could think of something insightful or snarky to say, I would. But honestly? I can’t think of anything to add.

The Biggest Little Hypocrite in Texas. All good and accurate points, not that little things like facts will have any impact on Perry.

Frank Schaeffer does an excellent job exposing the extreme nature of Bachman’s views on ‘submission’ and the role of women. He’s a good one to do it since he was bred in the environment and either filmed or sponsored many of those Bachman credits with shaping her perspective.

Robert Reich speaks at the Dartmouth summer lecture series. It’s a really good talk and the questions and answers are at least as illuminating as his talk itself. It’s worth the time to watch.

And this is funny. Robert Reich again on Jobs vs. Cuts.

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