Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Slim Pickings in Media Town:

by Glenn Littrell

It must be a slow news week for as few as 80 deaths in Mexico to throw the world [i.e.. the news world] into such a panic.  Sure 80 deaths and a few hundred illnesses are nothing to be sneezed at [whoops, I’m sorry], but when you consider the big picture:

“In annual influenza epidemics 5-15% of the population are affected with upper respiratory tract infections. Hospitalization and deaths mainly occur in high-risk groups (elderly, chronically ill). Although difficult to assess, these annual epidemics are thought to result in between three and five million cases of severe illness and between 250 000 and 500 000 deaths every year around the world. Most deaths currently associated with influenza in industrialized countries occur among the elderly over 65 years of age.”   source

What are there, about 200 countries in the world? That works out to about at least a thousand deaths per country per year, or up to as many as 2500 per country per year. Or 90 to 200 a month.  What’s happening in Mexico hardly dwarfs those numbers.  The annual figure for America I believe is 50,000 deaths a year.  So how is it we’re so panicked about the numbers coming out of Mexico?

Must be a slow news week.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Obama’s Tax Plan / Conservative Complaints:

Much Ado About Little.

SOAKING THE RICH (REDUX).... Hilzoy had a great overnight item on the odd conservative complaints about President Obama's proposal to raise the top marginal tax rate to 39.6% -- where it was under Clinton, and where it was intended to be in 2011 based on George W. Bush's plan. Hilzoy compared a 39.6% against other major capitalist democracies, and just as importantly, against other modern U.S. presidents.

Hilzoy concluded, "All in all, it seems as though we've been suffering through an awful lot of socialism and class warfare all over the world, much of it at the hands of people conservatives claim to admire. If a top marginal rate of 39.6% is enough to make society's producers and creators go on strike, then Galt's Gulch must be getting pretty crowded."

Quite right. But I also thought it would be helpful to add a visual element to this.

John Cole posted this graph a few days ago. See that column on the far-right edge? That's where Obama proposes the marginal top-rate should be.top_rates.jpg

It's also the rate conservatives believe is so outrageous, that they're accusing the president of "socialism" and talking openly about the "Going Galt" scenario in which wealthy and industrious Americans would deliberately make less money to spite their country.

It's all quite silly, but the graph adds some helpful context to drive the point home.

Obama is proposing a top rate lower than Reagan's first term, lower than Nixon's, lower than Eisenhower's, and lower than FDR's when he pulled us out of the Great Depression.

So, really, try not to hyperventilate.

 

Read full article.

TAX CUTS

WASHINGTON — As President Obama vowed during his campaign and again after the elections, the proposed budget would extend the Bush tax cuts for most households with taxable incomes below $250,000 but allow them to expire at the end of 2010 for families with incomes above that level.

Read full article.