Linked and Loaded Evening

Links to what I’ve been reading.

  • Jonathan Chait finds a good example of “The Law of Unintended Consequences,” in a War on Christmas story:

The Washington Post had a great story this weekend about the war on Christmas in Leesburg, Virginia. Leesburg, like many towns, had nativity scenes on public property every December. In 2009, unable to adjudicate between the claims of various religions, it decided against any sectarian displays. This led to an outcry from pro-nativity demonstrators who cited “freedom of speech” and “freedom of religion,” after which the county backtracked and decided to allow any religious display on a first-come, first-serve basis.

  • Austin Frakt concludes his excellent series exploring the concept of “premium support” in health care, but warns us that we may not like his ultimate answer:

After introducing and defending the merits of a particular premium support proposal, I then critiqued it. I stand by all I’ve written, but it begs the question, taking into consideration all the merits and critiques, should we look favorably on the premium support plan or not? I feel I owe you an answer to that question. I will provide one in this post, but do not expect it to be a simple one, and don’t expect it to be very satisfying.

No, he really can’t. It would be nearly impossible to imagine the Republican Party nominating a candidate who spent years and years publishing a racist newsletter and has deep associations with the fringe far right. (Here he is speaking to the John Birch Society on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.) It would be even more impossible to imagine the Party nominating a candidate who favors total withdrawal from world affairs and takes a Chomsky-ite line on American power. The notion that the Party might nominate a candidate who does both these things is totally preposterous.

  • Kevin Drum lists the Quotes of the Year. Number One:

“We are the 99 percent.” — slogan of Occupy movement.

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