DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for December, 2009

The nightmare of meeting people

28th December 2009

Read it.

Some cruel, mysterious force or deity prevents me from hearing the name of anyone I’m introduced to, admits Michael Deacon.

And I know exactly what he means.

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Canadian scientist aims to turn chickens into dinosaurs

28th December 2009

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Well, okay for Canada, but the American electoral system already does that very elegantly.

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All Gone Wrong

28th December 2009

Oh, Lordy. Probably not safe for work.

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Exponentials R Us: Seven Computer Science Game-Changers from the 2000’s, and Seven More to Come

28th December 2009

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“Exponentials R Us.” That’s the magic of computer science. It’s what differentiates us from all other fields. (To the extent that other fields are experiencing exponentials, it’s because of computer science – for example, the sensor technology and computational power that are driving biotech.) “Exponentials R Us” is the past, the present, and the future of computer science. If you think you can have greater impact doing something else, you’ve got your head wedged.

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Amazon Announces It Sold More Kindle Books Than Physical Books On Christmas… But Doesn’t It Mean Rented?

28th December 2009

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But, again, since this is the Kindle we’re talking about, shouldn’t Amazon make the distinction between purchased and rented? When someone buys a physical book from Amazon, they then own that book and can do pretty much what they want with it, including reselling it or giving it away. When they “purchase” an ebook from Amazon, that’s not the case at all. They’re quite limited in what they can do with it. They can’t resell it. They can’t share it with a friend (unless they give up their entire Kindle and all the books on it). And, of course, Amazon can make the ebook disappear at will — though, it insists it will never do this again. Even though it can. So, congrats to Amazon, for renting more books on a day when such rentals are to be expected and when physical book sales are probably at their very lowest.

Perhaps ‘leased’ would be the most correct term.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 2 Comments »

It’s not the rats you need to worry about

28th December 2009

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If you want to know if a ship is going to sink, watch what the richest passengers do.

If you want to know whether a culture is degenerating, watch for those who cannot distinguish between ‘if’ and ‘whether’. But read the piece anyway.

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Signal Quality

28th December 2009

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I finally was able to make sense of this after thinking about the theory that the main value of education is not learning but signaling that you were smart enough to get into a good school and hard-working enough to finish it.

Lawsuits don’t really threaten schools’ existence or ability to educate, but they do look embarrassing on the news. If the purpose of your school is to give its students the ability to say that they went to a good school, a string of lawsuits just will not do. Remember that this is America, where government-run schools don’t have the status that religious or private ones do – only homeschooling, GED or dropping out are worse for your status than a public school education.

American education explained, at last.

Looking at the politics of education more broadly, we also see why progressives love education so much. After all, if education is mostly about signaling how smart, hard-working and classy you are, and progressivisim is all about signaling about how smart, good and classy you are, they are a natural match. No wonder educational institutions end up filled with and run by progressives.

Be careful not to step in the leadership.

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Police protect girls forced to convert to Islam

28th December 2009

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Police are working with universities to clamp down on “aggressive conversions” during which girls are beaten up and forced to abandon university courses.

In Britain. Not Pakistan. Not Egypt. Britain.

Any country that lets Muslims inside its borders has a death wish.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Assessing Airport Security Measures

28th December 2009

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First, as I pointed out in this post, many of the TSA’s most intrusive and annoying policies are not used by Israeli airport security, generally considered to be the best in the world; these include forcing people to take off their shoes and confiscating all liquids other than those in special containers. Interestingly, the measures used by the TSA, but not by the Israelis, tend to be highly visible and intrusive to the average traveler. That leads me to suspect that the TSA has adopted them for “security theater” reasons, so as to make it seem that they are making a great effort to combat terrorism, and make people feel more secure. If the public sees the TSA making a major visible effort, fear will perhaps decrease and the agency is less likely to be blamed for any security failures that may occur in the future. Thus, the agency engages in “political theater” measures despite the inevitable grumbling by passengers. The Israeli public, by contrast, may demand less in the way of security theater than American voters, because of the nation’s vastly greater experience in dealing with terrorist attacks.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

The Great Fish Oil Experiment

28th December 2009

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Everything good is bad for you.

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Thirty words and phrases you need to stop using today

27th December 2009

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1. Bandwidth
Please don’t tell me you don’t have the “bandwidth” to take on a project. I’ll just assume you mean you don’t have the mental capacity to do it. And I’m probably right.

10. Passion
For God’s sake, get a room, won’t you? Some of us are trying to work in here.

15. Human capital
Smarter HR types, having wised up to the offensiveness of the term “Human Resources”, have rebranded the field as “Human Capital”. Hmm. Still kinda implies that you see me as a figure on a balance sheet, doesn’t it? An asset to be used, shifted around or disposed of as required. What, you mean I am? Oh, okay then.

24. Challenge
The fact that your sales are down 54% on the quarter isn’t a challenge – it’s a problem. Recognise it as such.

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Why Are Europeans White?

27th December 2009

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“White,” of course, is a a social designation. The question really is, “Why are northern Europeans depigmented?” Here is a map of human skin tone. The natives of northern Europe are oddly light-skinned. They are paler than anyone else on earth.

Just insensitivity, I guess.

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New technology makes for more accurate guns

27th December 2009

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Don’t think, just shoot.

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Shooting the alligator and other conversations

27th December 2009

Mencius Moldbug is at it again.

Teh Internets are a big place, though, surely with room for a good liberal racist. Naturally, LB’s goal is to convince liberals to be racist rather than racists to be liberal, and he is not always good about replying when served. But he can take off the gloves and hit a little. I charge him with contempt for history; he suggests that I should be burned as a witch. We could both be right.

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25 British-born Muslims in Yemen training to bomb Western airliners

27th December 2009

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I’m working on a concept here: Why don’t we bomb them first? It is their turn.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Technology Predictions Are Mostly Bunk

27th December 2009

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Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction writer, identified what he called the “three laws of prediction,” reflecting an optimistic view of ingenuity: 1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong; 2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture past them into the impossible; and 3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

He has some good ones.

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Arbitrage, Comparative Advantage, and World of Warcraft

27th December 2009

David Friedman points out that markets will show up even when they aren’t invited, that you can learn a lot about life from role-playing games even when you’re not trying to, and that much of what people ‘know’ about economics is nonsense based on silly word games.

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Homo Economicus

27th December 2009

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Is economics a science? Or merely a highly mathematical role-playing game?

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The Counterjihad: Resisting Islamization and Reviving the West

27th December 2009

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Islam has been at war with the Western world for fourteen centuries — since its inception. Muslims all over the world still consider themselves to be at war with non-Muslims; this is why Islam refers to us as Dar al-Harb, the “House of War”.

The West, however, has forgotten that this war exists. We continue to labor under the illusion that Islam is an ordinary religion, like Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

Unfortunately, Islam is above all a totalitarian political ideology, sugar-coated with the trappings of a primitive desert religion to help veil its true nature. The publicly stated goal of Islamic theology and political ideology is to impose the rule of Islam over the entire world, and make it part of Dar al-Islam, the “House of Submission”.

Widely accepted Islamic theology based in Koranic doctrine explicitly requires that Islam be spread by any and all means necessary, including by violence and mass slaughter, in a process known as jihad, or holy war.

The fact that many Muslims do not support or engage in violent jihad is not germane. If only one percent of Muslim believers take the Islamic mandate of jihad seriously, it means there are over fifteen million people scattered among the world’s Muslims who want to destroy us, and we have no means of determining in advance which ones they are.

Therefore, those who oppose Islamic totalitarian ideology and the expansion of Islam into the West have formed themselves into a coalition known as the Counterjihad.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Learning to Love Olive Oil

27th December 2009

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The Dhimmi Code

27th December 2009

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An analysis of the Ft Hood incident.

Days after the shooting, at a point where the motives for the massacre were obvious to most ordinary Americans, commentators, reporters, psychologists, and Army spokesmen were still “searching for a motive.” Hot on the trail of the real motive? For many Americans the point had been reached where such assurances carried only slightly more credibility than O.J. Simpson’s promise to search for his wife’s killer. Out of respect for Islam, society’s spokespersons had managed to cast themselves in the role of the boy who cried wolf–except that, in this case, it might be more accurate to picture a boy who cries “sheep” every time a wolf appears.

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‘Dad dancing’ may be the result of evolution, scientists claim

27th December 2009

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The cringeworthy “dad dancing” witnessed at wedding receptions every weekend may be an unconscious way in which ageing males repel the attention of young women, leaving the field clear for men at their sexual peak.

Hey, tenure doesn’t grow on trees, you know.

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15 Uses for Incredibly Inexpensive White Vinegar

27th December 2009

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Don’t say that we never have useful stuff here.

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Looftlighter

27th December 2009

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Wish I’d had one of these as a Boy Scout.

It also won’t give away your position in the dark. On the other hand, it’s useless for signaling.

Field interrogation of prisoners. Hmmmm.

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Machine Gun Ammo USB Drive

27th December 2009

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Well, I think it’s cool.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

Naked Self Promotion about Targeted Killing

27th December 2009

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You are dealing with people who can be targeted, and it is not necessary, under the rules in effect, to make a decision about whether the person could be detained.  You can shoot first.  There is no affirmative duty to ask first if they want to surrender.  In that case, the decision is not a serial one of decide whether you have an obligation to try and detain; and if it seems too dangerous then to strike to kill.  You are legally permitted to strike to kill, without warning and without obligation to offer surrender.  If that’s the case, and if the personal legal risks to you or your career, now or down the road, are as they are now, and disfavor interrogation or detention, then the incentive runs toward a targeted killing.

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Rambler Socket tucks a recoiling extension cable, pinch of genius within your AC outlet

27th December 2009

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Very cool.

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Britain’s biggest bullock weighs 3,682lbs

27th December 2009

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Just in case you were wondering. I know I was.

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Lowlights of a Downer Year: Dave Barry on the money, madness and misery of 2009

27th December 2009

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To be sure, it was a year that saw plenty of bad news. But in almost every instance, there was offsetting good news:

Bad news: The economy remained critically weak, with rising unemployment, a severely depressed real-estate market, the near-collapse of the domestic automobile industry and the steep decline of the dollar.

Good news: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista.

Bad news: The downward spiral of the newspaper industry continued, resulting in the firings of thousands of experienced reporters and an apparently permanent deterioration in the quality of American journalism.

Good news: A lot more people were tweeting.

Bad news: Ominous problems loomed abroad as — among other difficulties — the Afghanistan war went sour, and Iran threatened to plunge the Middle East and beyond into nuclear war.

Good news: They finally got Roman Polanski.

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TSA: The Stupid Agency

27th December 2009

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Of course, none of these new restrictions would have impeded the bomber. He was fine with staying in his seat. To the contrary, it was the passenger who subdued the bomber that left his seat. Extra screening of carry on luggage would have been no problem for the bomber, since the bomber had the bomb sewn into his underwear.

The problem is, of course, that Political Correctness doesn’t allow any government employee to take any effective action, such as ‘profiling’ young Muslim males; therefore everything that the TSA does is what Bruce Schneier calls ‘security theater’, actions designed to be pointed at later with the claim ‘See? We were doing something!’ for fairly obvious ass-covering purposes.

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Bizarre Baucus Behavior on Senate Floor Ignored by MSM

27th December 2009

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Was Baucus so intoxicated by the sound of his own voice that he went off the deep end? Or perhaps he was so drunk with power over shaping the Senate health care bill that it explains his strange rant.

My, what a surprise. Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off

Indian politician resigns over video showing him in bed with three women

27th December 2009

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He ought to come to the U.S., where such a video would be a qualification for Governor or Senator, if not President.

If he were caught on video with three boys, however, he could only be a Congressman from Massachusetts. Sorry.

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Fire Napolitano

27th December 2009

Jonah Goldberg cuts to the chase.

It is her basic position that the “system worked” because the bureaucrats responded properly after the attack. That the attack was “foiled” by a bad detonator and some civilian passengers is proof, she claims, that her agency is doing everything right. That is just about the dumbest thing she could say, on the merits and politically.

DHS had no role whatsoever in assuring that this bomb didn’t go off.

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Arsonists attack ‘new Sangatte’ centre in Calais

27th December 2009

Read it. Points to note:

  1. These people are not trying to sneak into France. They are already in France. They are trying to sneak into Britain. Apparently France isn’t good enough. Can’t fault their judgment.
  2. France has established a camp near the relevant transport links to serve those wanting to sneak into Britain as a convenient staging area, rather than shipping them back where they came from. Thanks a lot, France.
  3. One wonders what the British government is doing about all this. If such camps were established by the Mexican government by our southern border, would the U.S. government not be taking some sort of action against it? Oh, wait — they are, and it isn’t. Forget I even mentioned it.

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Health Insurers Have Second Thoughts About Riding The Tiger

27th December 2009

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It’s a time-tested strategy by Big Business in making deals with Big Government: hope you can cut a deal that puts the real hardships on consumers and small competitors, and avoid the worst for yourself. But of course, once you have traded your freedom for crumbs from the government table, you lose control over the process.

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Time Spent Working with Electronics

27th December 2009

An Informative Chart.

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Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

27th December 2009

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We have the technology.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

Engineering Jihad

27th December 2009

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Gambetta and Hertog find that “the share of radical Islamic engineers is no less than nine times greater than the share we could expect if the proneness of engineers to radicalize was the same as that of the male adult population.”

Once again we find our noses rubbed in the fact that intelligence and wisdom do not correlate.

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Shameless Islamist Doublespeak Rages On

27th December 2009

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And why not? The Useful Idiots of the West allow them to get away with it.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

What Would Always-On-The-Record Government Look Like?

27th December 2009

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Now, imagine if someone did the same thing, but wanted to document a day in the life of Senator Ben Nelson, currently in the middle of heated debate about health care legislation. It’s not hard. You check the general schedules of his committees and such beforehand, research powerful, under-the-radar staff and other relevant people on the Washington Post‘s WhoRunsGov.com, go through simple security at the Capitol (far easier than an airport), find Nelson’s office in the Hart building, camp out in his waiting area, maybe ask the person at the front desk some questions, find some press in the hallways and ask some questions (maybe visit the Russell rotunda, where the television crews do their spots), stalk the cafeteria (there’s a great coffee shop called Cups in the basement) and listen for people saying “Nelson,” go back to his office and see him leaving to walk down the hall to a committee hearing, take photos of the staff with him on your Samsung ST-1000 with wi-fi and geo-tagging and upload the pics to Bing Maps and Facebook, go to the sub-committee hearing and tape it from a Flip in your coat pocket while you tweet live notes, upload your Flip video to YouTube while you follow Nelson to his next meeting, and so forth.

A fascinating concept. What if every government employee were being watched 24/7 – and knew it?

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A Ponzi scheme that works

27th December 2009

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The greatest strength of America is that people want to live there.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

Al Qaeda Failed. What About Us? Ten Questions.

27th December 2009

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Early reports about the failed Christmas bombing of NW 253 raise questions that need answers.  Because, frankly, if the reports are true, al Qaeda never should have gotten this close to a successful attack.

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With High-End Meal Perks, Facebook Keeps Up Valley Tradition

27th December 2009

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Whether such constant exposure to corporate socialism is a symptom or a cause of why California is a social and financial basket case is an exercise left to the reader.

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The Copenhagen Wheel

27th December 2009

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Smart, responsive and elegant, the Copenhagen Wheel is a new emblem
for urban mobility. It transforms ordinary bicycles quickly into hybrid e-bikes that also
function as mobile sensing units. The Copenhagen Wheel allows you to capture
the energy dissipated while cycling and braking and save it for when you need
a bit of a boost. It also maps pollution levels, traffic congestion,
and road conditions in real-time.

Soon to be an entry in the Stuff White People Like web site, I suspect.

Posted in You can't make this stuff up. | Comments Off

They Killed My Lawyer: A Story of Putin’s Russia

27th December 2009

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Sergei Magnitsky was our attorney, and friend, who died under excruciating circumstances in a Moscow pre-trial detention center on Nov. 16, 2009. His story is one of extraordinary bravery and heroism, and ultimately tragedy. It is also a story about how Stalinism and the gulags are alive and well in Russia today.

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Extending Federal Benefits to Same-Sex Couples Will Cost $898M, CBO Says

27th December 2009

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Well, duh. But it’s not their money, so what do they care?

Posted in Dystopia Watch | 1 Comment »

Terror Suspect Wasn’t Considered Threat

27th December 2009

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Let those who would depend on government for our health care ponder how well they fulfill their core function of keeping the citizenry safe. The Post Office has its well-deserved reputation for a reason.

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Nursing will become a male profession

26th December 2009

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The demand for nurses increases every year, but at the same time there’s declining demand for decent-paying traditionally male blue collar jobs. As a result, you see more men going into nursing today than you did ten or twenty years ago.

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“Don’t Say We’re Violent, Or We’ll Kill You”

26th December 2009

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Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

War Against the Wannabe Rich

26th December 2009

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Take Bill Gates Sr., who is clamoring for higher estate taxes on inheritances. But such advocacy comes easy for him. After all, he is the father of the richest man in the world — someone who clearly needs no inheritance.

Warren Buffett also wants higher income taxes on the wealthy. He once confessed that thanks to all sorts of write-offs, he had paid only about 17 percent of his gross income in federal taxes, a lower rate than many employees in his office.

But Buffett, like Bill Gates Jr., is worth many billions of dollars. In truth, he has so much money that no amount of taxes would affect him much. A combined tax bite of 60 percent of his annual income would still leave Buffett each year with millions. Yet the same rate could cripple a business owner making $300,000 in annual income.

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