Category Archives: Serious Things

The Best Laid Plans: Homelessness in Downtown Austin

On Saturday the Austin-American Statesman ran a story called “Downtown living isn’t a new trend”, with the subtitle “Despite appearances, people have been living in downtown Austin for decades.” Yes, they’re called the homeless. Oh wait, the story is actually about rich people. Rich people who want a Target downtown. Although downtown has much to offer, living there isn’t cheap,… Read more »

Right and Wrong: Different For Americans?

Pandagon had some good observations on Ashcroft’s response to this torture thing: [Update: I’m glad I copied those observations, since the link I previously used above no longer works. Downside of the Pandagon website reorganization…] Ashcroft, even though he’s the Attorney General, is a person who believes that things are wrong even if they’re not against the law. Similarly, his… Read more »

What Taxes Do For You

A couple of slight overstatements, perhaps, but a good list. From A Fresh Look at Taxes by Debbie Stein: While I can provide many things for my children, I cannot possibly protect them from every possible danger … I personally cannot ensure that each and every toy, food item, medicine, or piece of furniture with which my children come into… Read more »

Total Information MANAGEMENT Would Be Better, Possibly

So now Bush “looks forward” to meeting with the 9/11 Commission: “Make no mistake about it; if we had known that the enemy was going to fly airplanes into our buildings, we would have done everything in our power to stop it,” Bush said. Isn’t the real question why he didn’t know about the attacks? Or why the administration neglected… Read more »

Worst Reason Ever for Being an Omnivore

I had never heard of Laura Fraser and her book The Italian Affair until I saw it mentioned on a blog. In this excerpt, she describes how she became a vegetarian because she was a poor college student and wanted to be political enough to fit in with her radical friends – then later haphazardly added some patchy concern for… Read more »

Ignorance and Despair

A few days ago, Jeanne D’Arc cited some disturbing evidence that Americans are terribly, terribly ignorant and asked what’s going to happen between now and the election to disabuse folks of their misconceptions. Well, here’s one attempt: Freeway Blogging. That focuses on the war, but here’s another topic. Bob Herbert wrote an op-ed in the NYT on February 2nd that… Read more »

And He Got Elected…

Our lovely Senator Cornyn was quoted on the Massachusetts gay marriage decision: Do we let people and states, through their elected officials, decide the definition of marriage, or do we let activists judges overrule their decisions through court edict? Here’s the thing, though. Right now, the court has ruled that what the “people” have done is, well, illegal. I never… Read more »

Information Deficits and Texas Public School Finance

University of Michigan economist Joel Slemrod and Princeton University political scientist Larry Bartels say that Americans just don’t get tax policy: …despite their philosophical support of a progressive tax system and their awareness that inequality has increased over the last several decades, voters support tax policies that would perpetuate a more regressive tax system that includes tax cuts for the… Read more »

Charitable Choice and Conservatives

I first thought about posting on this topic when I saw this line on Dynamist Blog: Publicly disapproving of gays separates [evangelical Protestants] from popular culture–and, hence, reinforces religious commitment–while exacting little personal toll. Then Monday the Bush White House showed more of its true colors, as demonstrated by a few key lines from a Washington Post article on the… Read more »

The Venn Diagram Is Useless!

I know that finding solutions to public problems means compromise. I know that liberals like myself are too prone to spending money because it feels good to help people, and we probably need some more conservative folks around to make us prove that our projects will actually make things better. What I don’t know is how I could ever be… Read more »