In his State of the Union, the President asked Congress for $300 million for poor kids in the inner city. As there are, officially, 15 million children in America living in poverty, how much is that per child? Correct! $20.
Here’s your second question. The President also demanded that Congress extend his tax cuts. The cost: $4.3 trillion over ten years. The big recipients are millionaires. And the number of millionaires happens, not coincidentally, to equal the number of poor kids, roughly 15 million of them. OK class: what is the cost of the tax cut per millionaire? That’s right, Richie, $287,000 apiece.
A pair of sociologists have produced a piece of research in which they claim that graduate engineers are statistically over-represented among jihadi terrorists. They go on to suggest that engineers have a “terrorist mindset” making them likelier to turn jihadi than other kinds of people.
What does the phased British withdrawal from Basra, begun in the fall, say about the viability of a broader withdrawal of forces from Iraq?
In part, the question is hard to answer: I have had difficulty locating reliable news stories written after December. If any readers care to pass on links, that would help a great deal. Of course, the lack of news in itself may be a good sign: if full-scale genocide or civil war had broken out in Basra, we would likely be hearing about it. On the other hand, one hopes that we would hear about astonishing success as well. The reality may be that the outcome is still mixed.
In November, the International Herald Tribune announced that violence had fallen to one tenth of its pre-withdrawal levels. As British forces prepared for their final pullout in December, however, fears of militia turf wars surfaced again, as well as reports that conditions for women were becoming more difficult in the city.
And then, I have to say again, the story drops off. Juan Cole covers some of the day to day news coming out of Basra, such as the recent killing of a tribal sheikh, but broader analysis of the present situation seems to be largely unavailable. Based on that, I would reiterate my initial speculation: that the situation is not a perfect success, but neither is it an unmitigated disaster. In fact, it may even be going well on the whole. At any rate, it seems that Basra has gone at least as well – if not better – than areas where US forces have “surged.”
“He who can lead you to believe an absurdity, can lead you to commit an atrocity.”
DENVER (AP) – Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters’ sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.
Audio gold: David Lee Roth’s vocal track from Runnin’ With the Devil, without benefit of, you know, music.
In an ideal world, this kind of thing would happen every day…
In a dramatic move earlier this evening, Terry Davis, the boss of Coca Cola’s Australian division, announced that the frequently maligned multinational would throw financial weight behind the battle for whale protection in the Australian seas off Antarctica.
Tasmanian brewer Bluetongue Beer was recently purchased by Coca Cola Amatil. During last year’s whaling season, the company donated $250,000 to Sea Shepherd, enabling the group to acquire and operate remote communications equipment, as well as airing the following commercial in Japan:
Richardson’s torn. He served in the Clinton White House, first as ambassador to the United Nations, then as Clinton’s Secretary of Energy. “I have a history with the Clintons,” Richardson said. “And I’ve always liked her. She always seems very genuine.” But Richardson considers Kennedy, who’s long been respected by Hispanics, as “a mentor.” In 1982, when Richardson ran for Congress for the second time — he lost two years before — Kennedy flew to Santa Fe and campaigned for him. “That might have been the reason I was elected,” Richardson said. And he said he likes Obama, telling a story about how Obama saved him during one of last year’s Democratic debates:
“I had just been asked a question — I don’t remember which one — and Obama was sitting right next to me. Then the moderator went across the room, I think to Chris Dodd, so I thought I was home free for a while. I wasn’t going to listen to the next question. I was about to say something to Obama when the moderator turned to me and said, ‘So, Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?’ But I wasn’t paying any attention! I was about to say, ‘Could you repeat the question? I wasn’t listening.’ But I wasn’t about to say I wasn’t listening. I looked at Obama. I was just horrified. And Obama whispered, ‘Katrina. Katrina.’ The question was on Katrina! So I said, ‘On Katrina, my policy . . .’ Obama could have just thrown me under the bus. So I said, ‘Obama, that was good of you to do that.’”
Indeed. This says something about his character…
According to the latest biweekly numbers released last Thursday by the Federal Reserve, for the two weeks that ended January 16th American banks had negative $1.3 billion in non-borrowed reserves. This is, historically, extremely unusual; just two months ago they had $30 billion (positive, of course) in non-borrowed reserves. The only reason some banks haven’t been shut due to insufficient — negative! — reserve requirements is that the Federal Reserve is currently loaning them enough money through the brand new TAF (Term Auction Facility) program (also running in Canada and Europe) to make up their shortfalls. Today’s TAF press release says that 52 American banks or institutions are currently receiving loans totaling ~$40 billion — but the Fed refuses to name who they are. The banks’ collateral for these TAF loans are those same yucky hard-to-price CDO’s that caused the banks’ liquidity problems in the first place — and the Fed is purposely using outdated prices for the collateral to prevent their being marked-to-market and thus collapsing CDO prices and freezing matters even further. Not surprisingly, some economists see the creation of the TAF as a backdoor bailout of banks in trouble. But how much longer can this go on? [via]
Most Canadians are aware that the Internet and mobile phone networks have become major sources of music. What they may not know is that songwriters and performers typically receive no compensation of any kind when their music is shared or illegally downloaded.
We believe the time has come to put in place a reasonable and unobtrusive system of compensation for creators of music in regard to this popular and growing use of their work.
The plan we propose would not change or interfere with the way Canadians receive their music. No one would be sued for the online sharing of songs. On the contrary, the sharing of music on Peer-to-Peer networks and similar technologies would become perfectly legal. In addition, Music Publishers and Record Labels would be fairly compensated for the crucial role they play in supporting Canadian music creators.
Except downloading is legal in Canada. Fuckers. Anyway…
They propose a $5 levy per internet subscription per month. 2003 records show 6.7 million Canadian households with internet connections. That’s $400M per year, not even counting business and institutional net connections. Now apart from the fact that I’m not capable to name even ten canadian artists to divvy up that money, the total sales of the music industry were only $767M in 2005, compared to $942M in 2000(data also shows a slight decline from 1998 to 2000). And that’s gross sales, so it’s pretty safe to assume the levy would get them far, far more money than actually selling records would. Bastards.
Second: The syntax for Microsoft’s plans for yet another quirks mode switch in IE8 were announced. Basically they are offering authors the option to pick a specific set of bugs, defaulting to IE7′s. The idea is that with each new major IE version, they can decide to simply freeze their last set of bugs forever.
If Web authors actually use this feature, and if IE doesn’t keep losing market share, then eventually this will cause serious problems for IE’s competitors — instead of just having to contend with reverse-engineering IE’s quirks mode and making the specs compatible with IE’s standards mode, the other browser vendors are going to have to reverse engineer every major IE browser version, and end up implementing these same bug modes themselves. It might actually be quite an effective way of dramatically increasing the costs of entering or competing in the browser market. (This is what we call “anti-competitive”, or “evil”.)