Comments Posted By sauropod
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SPINNING THE LIGHT FANTASTIC

Ordinarily I would agree that the campaign telling us to ignore the polls is the campaign that's going to lose. But this time it may be different. As I recall, during the primaries Obama consistently did better in the polls than he did in the actual voting - at least in the primary (as opposed to caucus) states. Bradley effect? Media bias? I don't know, but if I were Obama, I'd be nervous until the votes are actually counted.

Comment Posted By sauropod On 31.10.2008 @ 10:18

OBAMA IS NOT A SOCIALIST

Excellent post, Rick. I looked at Obama's positions in some detail last night and was surprised to find that he has staked out fairly moderate territory on many of them. He would certainly nudge the country toward the left, but the idea that he is a wild-eyed radical waiting to spark a Cultural Revolution is delusional.

Among other things, Obama wants to exempt the first $3.5 million from the estate tax, and tax the rest at 45%. This is where the estate tax will be in 2009 under existing legislation. He also wants to index the exemption to inflation.

His income tax hikes would affect couples earning more than $227,000 annually, but would not be significant until the annual taxable income is above $603,000. He would also remove the cap on the Social Security (or payroll) tax, which would add a 15% burden to people netting more than about $80,000 a year.

He's talked about raising cap gains taxes to their old rate of 28%.

He claims he'll consider trimming the corporate income tax if the system can be simplified.

He opposes the Fairness Doctrine.

His policy on illegal immigration is almost identical to McCain's. Illegals pay a fine, get a work visa, and have to go to the back of the line for citizenship.

He says he'll increase ground forces by 65,000 soldiers and 35,000 Marines to ease the strain of longterm deployments.

He wants at least two more brigades committed to Afghanistan.

Most of these policies are a bit left of where I would be, but anyone who says this is a program of socialism, let alone communism, is simply not aware of what those terms mean.

Comment Posted By sauropod On 11.10.2008 @ 16:29

THE IRAQ CONUNDRUM

Maybe Bush isn't instituting a draft for the simple reason that the country would never accept a draft for such an unpopular war, especially this late in the game. It's just not going to happen.

Comment Posted By Sauropod On 20.07.2007 @ 09:43

WHAT DEMOCRATS BELIEVE

It's hard to say what this poll means. Nikolay could be right; it may just be a matter of survey respondents misinterpreting an ambiguous question. On the other hand, celebrity Democrats like Rosie O'Donnell and Charlie Sheen have endorsed Truther ideas, so maybe this sort of conspiracy-mongering has gone mainstream.

Of course, paranoia in American politics is nothing new. During the McCarthy era, the political right was paranoid; to a lesser extent this was also true in the Clinton years. (Remember Mena Airport? Clinton as a Soviet operative? All those Arkansas "murders"?) A fair percentage of Americans have always been rather peculiar in their poll responses and voting patterns. How many people voted for Perot in 1992 even after it was obvious that he was nuttier than a Snickers bar?

Comment Posted By Sauropod On 6.05.2007 @ 10:56

THE COMING SCHISM

Reagan was a "confirmed deist"? Maybe before he got shot ... but afterward, by all accounts he was convinced that God had spared him for a larger purpose. (Deists don't think God intervenes in nature or takes a hand in one's life.)

Comment Posted By sauropod On 10.11.2006 @ 13:44

INSULTING THE EXPLOITED

Ali got it right in pointing out that embryonic stem cells have an alarming tendency to cause teratomas (tumors). The reason is that such cells, which have not yet become specialized, are pluripotent - they can develop into any sort of tissue at all. When embryonic stem cells are injected into animal or human test subjects, they frequently multiply out of control, in unpredictable ways, producing such grotesqueries as lumps of hair and teeth inside the subject's body. Sometimes the lab animals are killed for purposes of autopsy before the tumors have had a chance to develop, but when allowed to live out a more normal lifespan, the animals almost always exhibit this side effect.

So-called adult stem cells (which can come either from adult tissue or from umbilical cord blood) do not have the same tendency to produce tumors. This is the main reason that researchers, even in countries without restrictions on funding, are concentrating their efforts on adult stem cells. They simply hold out greater promise.

Unfortunately, any stem-cell cure is probably decades away, and is very unlikely to help any current sufferers of Parkinson's or other diseases.

Comment Posted By sauropod On 25.10.2006 @ 12:17


 


 


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