[snip] Half-baked. “The more policy aficionados study Bush’s idea [for privatizing Social Security], the more it looks like something cooked up by a throng of idealistic Ayn Rand-reading undergraduates fresh from Econ 101,” writes Jonathan Chait in the New Republic. “Conservatives hadn’t thought through a number of enormous obstacles to their idea’s implementation. For instance…their optimistic assumptions about the long-term return to stocks are nearly impossible to square with their pessimistic assumptions about the long-term finances of Social Security. Nor did they figure out how to offset the costs of new accounts, which caused the administration to propose clawbacks that could lead to such awkward scenarios as a worker dying and his dependents owing money to the federal government.”

[snip] One reason not to hate Wal-Mart. James Surowiecki in the New Yorker: “Wal-Mart is often spoken of as the most powerful company in the world, but it earns less than four cents on every dollar of sales, and its profit margins have stayed roughly the same year after year–which means that when it cuts costs with suppliers it passes along those savings to the customers, instead of padding its own bottom line. Wal-Mart can’t charge more; if it does, its customers will go elsewhere. . . . In a sense, Wal-Mart is the elected representative of tens of millions of hard-bargaining shoppers, and, like any representative, it serves only at their pleasure.”

[snip] Lowering the bar. “Every time somebody raises the topic of immoral torture-related policies undertaken by the Bush administration,” writes Matthew Yglesias in the American Prospect blog “Tapped,” the conservative response is “not to defend the conduct in question, but simply to note that someone, somewhere, at some time has done worse things. We’re better than Saddam Hussein! Our prisons aren’t as bad as Auschwitz! People may be detained arbitrarily without hearings, appeal, due process, or POW status, but it’s no Gulag!”