Check out PubliusToo and Zathras's discussion of the utility of Hitchens' invective beginning here.
Never having to say you're sorry: Tim Noah argues that Strom Thurmond never apologized for his segregationist past and only maintained his grasp on power by "[buying] off a few key blacks with pork-barrel spending, political appointments, and the like." South Carolinian Shadow_Government begs to differ here:
Strom did more than merely buy off black leaders. In the 1970s his Senate campaigns and his massive constituent service operations strongly encouraged, in both word and deed, the acceptance of desegregation and the notion of racial equality. In essence, Strom provided a role model for racist white Southerners to adjust to the changing world and back away from racial hatred and bias, without ever really admitting they had done anything wrong.
This may seem quite cynical, but it profoundly improved the racial climate in South Carolina. Lecturing Southerners about why they were wrong and Yankees were right would have pretty much guaranteed that they would stick to their guns and continue to subvert racial integration. Offering them "defeat with honor" proved to be a pragmatic mechanism for social change.
Immiseration, Inc.: Responding to the "tax the poor" Chatterbox, ChasHeath pulls out some quartile analysis to show how "the upper middle class is just another part of the undertaxed majority"; senor_crews (and others) provide an object lesson in how bogged down any transition to a flat tax would necessarily be (the better the discussion, the more obvious the troubles); and Yoni begins the best taxes discussion (thanks to Raging_Toroid, Retief, OhioBoy, and Chad-B). Retief cuts through the fog of undertaxation here:
If the WSJ considers people who make so little they don't owe federal income tax "lucky", perhaps they'd like to reduce their salaries to take advantage of this incentive. What, no takers?
As of January, Dreamworks had agreed to permit Elliott Smith to release his forthcoming album on the independent label of his choice.
Author David Samuels entered the Fray to respond:
The Dreamworks PR guy that I talked to … dismissed the Rolling Stone story as "a spat" between an artist and the label, and said that Elliott Smith was a "valued Dreamworks artist."
The old Rolling Stone quote therefore appears to be the usual major label tease - unhappy artists are "free" to record for another label, if they pay the label back the hundreds of thousands of dollars that they suddenly owe in promotional costs, studio time, salaries, advances, etc. Given that Dreamworks is owned in part by David Geffen - the man who sued Neil Young for not making "Neil Young records" - the chances of Elliott Smith releasing his next record on an indie label don't seem all that great, unless Dreamworks decides that the record won't sell. ...
It can now be easier for someone to buy a mango than to get heirloom variety pears. This is bound to change what we people choose to spend our money on, and thus, what we cook. If we can get a mango, but no pears, or a salmon, but not a decent mutton shank, then why cook mutton with pears and not salmon with mango? … 8:00 a.m.