Wednesday, April 2, 2008



Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put in. - Tom Lehrer


AMERICAN POLITI - [A chart] from Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels' new book, soon to be released [shows] the difference that the president's party affiliation makes to the distribution of income during the four years of the president's term. When a Republican president is in power, people at the top of the income distribution experience much larger real income gains than those at the bottom--a difference of 1.5 percent per year going from the bottom to the top quintile in the income distribution. The situation is reversed when a Democrat is in power: those who benefit the most are the lower income groups. If you are in the bottom quintile, the difference between having a Democratic or a Republican president in office is an income gain (or loss) of more than 2 percent per year. Strikingly, compared to Republicans, Democratic presidents generate higher income gains for all income groups (although the difference is statistically significant only for lower income groups).


LABOR NOTES MAGAZINE On the heels of a public fight over the Service Employees International's move toward labor- management partnership deals and hyper-centralization, members are joining a newly founded national reform group. Several pockets of reform already exist in the union, but the largest is the SEIU Member Activists for Reform Today, founded in California in January. The group already claims members in 11 other states and Canada. Members' grievances against SEIU officials have been mounting after President Andy Stern merged many locals into mega-locals, removed elected leaders, and appointed his own agents in their place. SMART's formation mirrors a conflict between Stern and Sal Rosselli, head of the 150,000-member United Healthcare Workers-West local, over the international's consolidation of authority. "The union is now a corporate-style organization where members and their issues are ignored. Members are furious," said Joel Solis, a registered nurse and steward at the Department of Mental Health in Los Angeles County, now in Local 721.


WALL STREET JOURNAL BLOG - The U.S. taxpayer forks over a $1 subsidy for every gallon of biodiesel that is blended in the U.S. for export later. The idea was to give a nudge to the U.S. biofuel industry. But it is boomeranging, as the Guardian reports . . . Increasingly, traders ship biodiesel from Asia or Europe to U.S. ports, where it is blended with a "splash" of regular diesel, the paper reports. That qualifies the shipment for U.S. export subsidies. Then it is shipped back to Europe where it is also subsidized. European biofuels organizations talk about between $30 million and $300 million in U.S. subsidies being exported that way to Europe. Biofuel’s already-tarnished environmental reputation comes under more fire, because round trips across the Atlantic add unnecessary transport emissions to the mix. And Europe’s own biodiesel industry has been shutting plants, despite its own efforts to ramp up production to meet political mandates. Imports are undercutting local producers on price.

PORTLAND PRESS HERALD - The average fishing boat in the region is now fishing for only 43 days a year, and total revenue from ground fish declined about 30 percent between 2001 and 2005. Maine fishermen have been hit particularly hard. The Portland Fish Exchange, which sells 90 percent of the groundfish landed in Maine, sold 8.4 million pounds of fish in 2007, a 64 percent decline since 2003. The number of Maine fishing boats declined from 159 in 2004 to 111 in 2006.


CARDIFF UNIVERSITY - Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Director of the University’s Violence and Society Research Group, has been appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to healthcare and the criminal justice system. . . Professor Shepherd conducted the first field research comparing injuries from toughened glasses used in bar and nightclub fights to those of glass which becomes sharp-edged. His work prompted many bars to switch to tougher glass in the late 1990s, leading to a fall in injuries. [His work] was recently recognized with the 2008 Stockholm Prize in Criminology, an international prize recognizing outstanding achievement in the field of criminological research and its application.


STUPID EUROPEAN UNION TRICKS Passengers are having to change bus partway through their journeys to comply with an EU directive. The legislation stops drivers clocking up more than 31 miles behind the wheel without a rest. If a journey is any longer, the driver must pull over and wait for a replacement. To comply with the directive, some operators are dividing routes into two or even three sections. Drivers are allowed to undertake journeys of more than 31 miles - provided they get two straight days off. Small companies are unable to guarantee this as easily as long-distance coach firms and are thus forced to divide trips as a result. - DAILY MAIL

DAVID LETTERMAN - And yesterday down in Washington D.C., President Bush threw out the first pitch at the Nationals game. . . He stayed and then left in the 7th inning and I thought, 'Great, at least he has an exit strategy for that.'

HEADLINE OF THE DAY: Intercourse facility offers 24-hour pickup boxes. . . Turns out they were speaking of Intercourse, PA.

RULES OF THUMB: It is time to stop psychotherapy when you forget your appointment and don't feel bad about it


At April 3, 2008 4:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.

At April 3, 2008 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After belabouring a great many people for a great many years for being unprogressive, Mr. Shaw has discovered, with characteristic sense, that it is very doubtful whether any existing human being with two legs can be progressive at all. Having come to doubt whether humanity can be combined with progress, most people, easily pleased, would have elected to abandon progress and remain with humanity. Mr. Shaw, not being easily pleased, decides to throw over humanity with all its limitations and go in for progress for its own sake. If man, as we know him, is incapable of the philosophy of progress, Mr. Shaw asks, not for a new kind of philosophy, but for a new kind of man. It is rather as if a nurse had tried a rather bitter food for some years on a baby, and on discovering that it was not suitable, should not throw away the food and ask for a new food, but throw the baby out of window, and ask for a new baby.

At April 3, 2008 11:40 AM, Anonymous wellbasically said...

The nature gallery link on Page 1 is broken.


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