Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

22 Feb 2012 14:06


Politics: Congressman wants to take away TSA’s spare change … literally

  • $409,085 in change left in 2010 source
  • » But where does it all go? Since 2005, Congress has allowed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to use forgotten money left behind by passengers as part of their operating budget, although the agency says it works hard to return the money left by passengers. But a new proposal in the House of Representatives, introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), would change that. Miller’s proposal would send all forgotten monies, collected by the TSA, to the USO instead, and may expand the bill to include higher value items like sunglasses, cameras, and computers. He’s convinced that taxpayers and travelers alike would both prefer it this way. But we’re wondering, what do YOU think of this new plan?

14 Sep 2011 00:15


World: China’s Wen Jiabao: Developed countries need to show fiscal responsibility

  • Countries must first put their own houses in order. Developed countries must take responsible fiscal and monetary policies. What is most important now is to prevent the further spread of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
  • Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao • Telling all the deadbeat European nations to bump up their national credit scores before looking for a bailout from China. Wen previously said the country would lend a helping hand to Europe, which is suffering a crippling debt crisis. So, in case you were thinking of going to China for a little cash, you’re out of luck … unless you’ve proven yourself fiscally responsible (or China has a huge vested interest in seeing you succeed). Then China would be happy to let you into its deep coffers. source

26 Jul 2011 14:13


Politics: Stylin’: Michele Bachmann spends a lot on hair and makeup

  • $4,700 the amount she spent on a stylist source
  • » Most people don’t make that in a month: For a candidate that is championing lower spending to conserve taxpayer dollars, that seems quite a lot of money to spend on herself. It’s also far more than she spent on stylists than during her Congressional campaign. Appearances may be important when running for president — don’t get us wrong, anything to help her prevent a Nixon moment — but this seems a tad excessive. And it’s an excess not uncommon to Democrats, either — John Edwards famously got $200 haircuts in his pre-scandal days.

26 May 2011 15:18


World: Chinese labor camps: Where MMO games stop being fun?

  • World of Warcraft meets the world of forced labor: The Guardian has an interview up today with a 54-year-old prisoner at the Jixi labor camp in China, who makes an extremely bizarre and terrible claim; that prison bosses forced some inmates to play World of Warcraft after finishing the day’s grueling physical labor. The idea is that they’re being forced to grind out high-level characters with choice equipment and lots of gold, which are then sold by the guards to cash-rich, lazy gamers who want all the gain with none of the pain. It’s sort of like the anti-drug argument that your money might be financing terrorism or violence — don’t take the shortcut to World of Warcraft glory, or you might do it on the back of a Chinese prisoner. Bizarre story. source

25 May 2011 14:10


Biz, U.S.: Bubble watch: Is the student loan market about to crash?

  • $24k average amount of debt a graduating college student has
  • $800B amount in outstanding student debt — with 30% of it securitized
  • 40% number of student loans that are in default after 15 years; not good source
  • » This is huge. To put it in perspective: Student loans are the nation’s largest source of debt – even more than credit cards. Tuition has risen faster than inflation, and lenders are quick to help students. That’s because until 2009 the government had a program in place that purchased loans that weren’t paid back. That sounds a lot like the housing market, right? Couple all of that with the fact that college graduates are having harder times finding jobs, and you don’t get a very good picture over the long-term.

10 May 2011 17:30


U.S.: Democrats push Senate bill to cut big oil’s tax breaks

  • $21 billion saved in bill to cut big oil tax breaks (over 10 years) source
  • » Democrats can pretend to fix the deficit, too! Not to be all gloom and doom, obviously — the oil industry is one of the most successful financial conquests in human history, and if anybody doesn’t need drawing on breaks from the government, they don’t. Stripping their very generous tax breaks would be both a practical and moral victory in our current political climate. That said, the attempt by the Democratic Party to paint this as a deficit-buster is just as disingenuous as the Republican effort to say the same about last month’s budget deal, which cut $38 billion in spending long-term. The deficit is around $1.4 trillion for this fiscal year, though, which makes the earlier figures seem limp and anemic. Still, it’ll be a nice day for American priorities if this thing passes.

09 May 2011 17:17


U.S.: U.S. aid to Pakistan comes under fire after bin Laden killing

  • $18 billion in aid given by the U.S. to Pakistan since 2002 source
  • » Bang for your buck: The above figure is a cause for angst among some U.S. politicians in the wake of the surprising (to say the least) discovery of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan last week. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Susan Collins have made it clear they may not support further funding — Collins says she’s concerned about Pakistan playing a “double-game.” On the other side of the issue, Senator Richard Luger supports continuation of the aid, saying that Pakistan is simply too critical to counter-terrorism to sever financial ties.

04 May 2011 10:07


World: How much money was Osama carrying when he was killed?

  • 500 were on his person — sewn into his clothes source
  • » Ready at the drop of a hat: In case Osama needed to make a run for it, the money sewn in his clothes ensured he might be able to survive for a couple of days. Though … it says a lot about the declining value of the dollar that he chose Euros instead. Among other things officials say they found — 10 cell phones, 10 computers and 100 thumb drives. Since the compound didn’t have internet access, we bet they just tethered their phones like we do.

13 Apr 2011 16:22


World: Israel’s Lieberman may face graft charges

  • Avigdor’s looming legal troubles: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman learned from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein today that he may face charges of graft, a tarnish that could potentially force his resignation. It’s alleged that Lieberman used shell companies, among other methods, to illictly rake in nearly $1,200,000 while serving in public office. Lieberman was already a controversial figure in Israeli politics — you may remember his proposal that all Israeli citizens pledge a loyalty oath or have their voting rights revoked. source

17 Mar 2011 10:53


Politics: Waste of time: House GOP pushes to hur NPR’s federal-funding

  • Taxpayers should not be on the hook for something that is widely available in the private market. I wish only the best for NPR. Like many Americans, I enjoy much of their programming.
  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) • Attempting to make his final dagger-push into the body that is the federal funding of NPR. The bill “prohibits NPR and its local affiliates from using federal dollars to produce programming or purchase content from other member stations. Affiliate stations could only use taxpayer money for administrative costs, under the bill.” It’s being fast-tracked for a vote later on today. Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! The House GOP’s going to push for something that’s not going to pass the Senate, Obama’s not going to sign, and is going to waste everybody’s time yet again. Check. Come on. Your party can’t complain about Obama picking his NCAA bracket if all you’re giving him to work with are stupid things that won’t go anywhere. source