Monthly Archives: November 2010

Judge John Hodgman

John Hodgman is one of my favorite humorists. Best known for his Daily Show appearances and the PC vs. Mac series of commercials, he’s also written two hilarious, crammed-with-detail humor collections: “The Areas of My Expertise” and “More Information Than You Require.”

His books have benefited from a lot of creative web-based promotion, and I’ve just found his latest: Judge John Hodgman. In this podcast, he dedicates each episode to judging a protracted, but low-stakes, dispute. So far he’s adjudicated “Are Machine Guns Robots” and “Dish Soap or Hand Soap.” I’ve found his reasoning to be sound in both instances and full of low-key humor to boot.

Banana Republic, Without the Fruit.

Great New York Times piece by Nicholas Kristof examining income inqequality in the United States: “A Hedge Fund Republic?”

You can see the impact of our current tax structure as you drive down the street. As a friend of mine who’s lived in Europe for much of the past five years remarked during his last visit, “The United States looks more and more run down.”

You Get What You Pay For

Americans now have one of the most unequal distributions of income and wealth in the industrialized world, yet they still aspire to making a number of ever-more expensive basic services — education, justice and health care — available to all citizens on roughly equal terms, even though that vision is not consistently realized in practice. The lofty vision inevitably implies transfers from the well-to-do to the lower-income strata.

Economist Uwe Rehinhardt has a good piece on the New York Times Economix blog outlining that a fundamental problem with our federal budget is that Americans want more services from the government than they’re willing to pay for. He’s less sure on the solutions…

For Me, Not Thee

When he talks about borrowing money today and forcing that debt on the unborn he is literally talking about the very scheme that the Cubs are pushing. That plan calls for the bonds to be paid off over 35 years through amusement taxes.

I saw this on Roger Ebert’s Twitter feed: Joe Ricketts, head of the family that now owns the Chicago Cubs, has spent time and hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money railing about government spending even as the family asked for a $300 million Illinois bond issuance for the renovation of Wrigley Field.

Windy City Watch does a great job detailing the hypocrisy.