Ben Stein: Warren Buffet, Taxes, The Economy

In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class Is Winning – New York Times:

Mr. Buffett compiled a data sheet of the men and women who work in his office. He had each of them make a fraction; the numerator was how much they paid in federal income tax and in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the denominator was their taxable income. The people in his office were mostly secretaries and clerks, though not all.

It turned out that Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. Further, in conversation it came up that Mr. Buffett doesn’t use any tax planning at all. He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires. “How can this be fair?” he asked of how little he pays relative to his employees. “How can this be right?”

Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare.

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Some really interesting writing from Ben Stein. Now that Republicans are allowed to break ranks and say what they think, it turns out a lot of them think things you didn’t think Republicans thought anymore.

The Comment Spam Takedown: Bad Behavior and Akismet

Between Bad Behavior blocking most spambots from even reaching the site (look at the bottom of the page to see how many it’s blocked as of now) and Akismet screening out the trickle that get through, I seem to have the comment spam issue covered. But what about legitimate comments? Is Akismet going to mistake them for spam, so I have to comb through them to find gems of real humanity? If you’ve got nothing better to do, help me out here with an experiment. Drop a comment from you, a human being (or equivalent sapient entity) reading this, and I’ll see which ones if any get misclassified as spammage. I’ll report what happened in an update on the post.


It popped up on digg that this video for the song “Bombs” by the band Faithless was banned on MTV. Personally I thought all music videos had been banned by MTV, but it’s a great video, worth watching. About war in the 21st century. Could be considered preachy, preaching the message “war is full of horror, and happens while those of us in rich countries go on with our happy lives. But it’s not distant for everyone.” A message worth preaching in our chickenhawk-haunted world. But it’s a good song and an incredibly well done video.