Links, 8/19/09

  • On interminable bores – a bit over the top, but well-worth the read. fta: I often have the feeling that bores want to be addressing a whole crowd but can’t seem to find one. A friend once told me that when a mutual acquaintance of ours spoke to him, he felt like a town meeting. They are everywhere, these kingly aspiring characters, who go on and on. Confronted with one in the publishing world, Bellow reputedly said, “One of the great things about Hamlet is that Polonius gets stabbed.”
  • Charles Murray, “Tax Withholding is Bad for Democracy” – fta: For once, we face a problem with a solution that costs nothing. Most families who pay little or no personal income taxes are paying Social Security and Medicare taxes. All we need to do is make an accounting change, no longer pretending that payroll taxes are sequestered in trust funds. Fold payroll taxes into the personal tax code, adjusting the rules so that everyone still pays the same total, but the tax bill shows up on the 1040. Doing so will tell everyone the truth: Their payroll taxes are being used to pay whatever bills the federal government brings upon itself, among which are the costs of Social Security and Medicare.
  • As some of you are aware, Yale University Press published a book on the Danish cartoons that did not feature the cartoons themselves.
  • A look inside jail, and the problems jailers face and the new techniques they’re using to combat those issues (h/t

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