Sunday, August 24, 2008



Chris Cillizza, Washington Post -
It's a strange thing to say about a guy who has spent 36 years in the Senate but Biden genuinely has appeal to the blue-collar, working class voters that Obama struggled to attract during the Democratic primaries. Maybe it's Biden roots in hard-scrabble Scranton, Pennsylvania. (Hello, Michael Scott!) Maybe it's the fact that Biden takes Amtrak home to Delaware every night and knows the name of all the conductors and ticket agents on the route. Maybe it's the fact that his personal story -- his wife and daughter were killed a month after he was elected to the Senate in 1972 -- resonates with people who have suffered similar losses. Regardless of what it is, there's little question that, in the words of one Biden advocate, he passed the "have a beer" test. That is, Biden is the kind of guy most voters can imagine themselves having a beer (or, heck, a boilermaker) with -- a crucial hurdle when it comes to electing a president. . . .Biden's ability to connect with blue collar voters would almost certainly help Obama in Pennsylvania (aside from Biden's roots in Scranton, he has been a regular figure on Philadelphia television during his campaigns) as well as potentially in Ohio and Michigan as well. It's also worth noting that Biden is a strong Catholic. Obama lost white Catholics badly to Hillary Rodham Clinton during the primary season and, as Post pollster Jon Cohen notes, white Catholics have emerged as one of the bellwether groups in recent elections; the candidate who wins white Catholics has won the presidency in every election since 1972.

Joe Biden is one of the poorer members of Congress. Although he earns $186,000 a year and got an $800 honoraria for appearing on Bill Maher's show, his total assets are less than $160,000 with liabilities between $130,000 and $360,000. His income includes his Senate salary and a teaching stipend form Widener University. He doesn't have to report his wife's salary from Delaware Technical & Community College but her assets are less than $250,000.
CNET gives Biden a 37% rating, describing him a pro RIAA and pro FBI on tech issues


- In Alabama it is illegal to recommend shades of paint without a license. In Nevada it is illegal to move any large piece of furniture for purposes of design without a license. In fact, hundreds of people have been prosecuted in Alabama and Nevada for practicing "interior design" without a license. Getting a license is no easy task, typically requiring at least 4 years of education and 2 years of apprenticeship.

Why do we need licenses laws for interior designers? According to the American Society of Interior Designers because, "Every decision an interior designer makes in one way or another affects the health, safety, and welfare of the public." This hardly passes the laugh test. Moreover as Carpenter and Ross point out in an excellent article in Regulation: "In more than 30 years of advocating for regulation, the ASID and its ilk have yet to identify a single documented incident resulting in harm to anyone from the unlicensed practice of interior design." Most states do not have license laws for interior designers but the unceasing lobbying efforts of the ASID have expanded such licenses. Fortunately, unlicensed interior designers are fighting back.


- According to a new policy brief issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Stockholm International Water Institute and the International Water Management Institute, huge amounts of food -- close to half of all food produced worldwide -- are wasted after production. . . Many of the report's recommendations border on the obvious: improve water productivity, curb wasteful eating habits and optimize food production, to name just a few. Another good idea would be to use water labeling for food products -- so people know how much water went into producing their beef (2,500 gallons per pound, at last count) or favorite cereal, for instance.


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