Links, 4/26/11

Lots to do the next few days. I may return to quietness.

  • Megan McArdle, “Just a Little Tax Hike…” – from the article: Without arguing about whether our tax system is fair or not, the fact is that the federal income tax is the most variable part of the code, and the federal income tax is now very progressive; it collects most of its revenue from people at the top.  (Whether it should collect even more is an argument for another day.)  Because it collects most of its income from people at the top, and because the incomes of the wealthy are more variable than the incomes of the poor and middle class (Warren Buffett’s income can drop by $300,000; mine can’t), we’re going to get deep troughs in recessions, and high peaks in boom times.
  • Jay Cost, “Memo to the Media: Obama is Not Popular!” – from the article: Let’s make use of a very simple definition of “popular.” A president is popular if and only if he is pulling in more than 50 percent of public support. By that definition, and using the RealClearPolitics average, we can say that President Obama has been “popular” for just ten days in the last year.
  • “The World of Holy Warcraft” (; h/t – from the article: The online world of Islamic extremists, like all the other worlds of the Internet, operates on a subtly psychological level that does a brilliant job at keeping people like Abumubarak clicking and posting away — and amassing all the rankings, scores, badges, and levels to prove it. Like virtually every other popular online social space, the social space of online jihadists has become “gamified,” a term used to describe game-like attributes applied to non-game activities. It turns out that what drives online jihadists is pretty much exactly what drives Internet trolls, airline ticket consumers, and World of Warcraft players: competition.
  • Anonymous 4 performs “Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene” – you’ll recognize it, and more than likely get addicted.


  1. I don’t mind getting (to use the author’s own words) “deep troughs in recessions” every now and then, as we’ve had for several of the last few years. As long as the “high peaks in boom times” occur more frequently in the future…

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