UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

April 7, 2009

BREVITAS

CRASH TALK

Marisol Bello, USA Today -
A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money. . . The systems generally work like this: Businesses and individuals form a network to print currency. Shoppers buy it at a discount - say, 95 cents for $1 value - and spend the full value at stores that accept the currency.

Michael Mandel, Business Week -
I added up the various lists provided by AIG by country, and the results were quite revealing. About $44 billion went to counterparties headquartered in the U.S., such as Goldman Sachs and states such as California and Virginia. But as I expected, the majority of the funds-$58 billion-went to banks headquartered outside the U.S. The big winners were French and German banks, which pulled in $19 billion and $17 billion respectively. To put these numbers in perspective, remember that the U.S. fiscal stimulus bill passed in February provided only $27.5 billion for highway and bridge construction. In effect, the U.S. Treasury and Fed have been bailing out the rest of the world, to a massive degree.

THE MIX

Vermont
is the first state whose legislature has approved gay marriage. It did so by overriding the governor's veto. Vermont was also the first state to approve civil unions. There are three other sttes with gay marriage, but all thanks to court decisions.

SCAMS

Dan, Consumerist
- This past weekend I went to use the local ATM to get some cash money. When I walked up to the ATM something struck me as funny…I couldn't quite put my finger on it but the card reader didn't look right, like it wasn't completely attached. I grabbed and pulled at the card reader and, lo and behold, it came off. It was actually a card skimmer attached to the ATM over that actual card reader. On the back there is a battery, flash memory card, and a mini USB port - it was set up so that ATM cards would first go through the skimmer and then into the ATM itself so you'd never know the difference. . .


SCHOOLS

Education Change
- It hasn't been a good week for NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and the Education Equality Project he co-founded (under suspicious circumstances) with Al Sharpton. (EEP is the "test the students, silence the parents, close the schools, blame the teachers, ignore the socio-economic factors" wing of education reform.) - They held a conference this week - their biggest ever platform for the EEP, according to the pre-conference fanfare - that didn't seem to go over very well. Arne Duncan was met with boos when he announced his support of Mayor Bloomberg's control of NYC public schools. Al Sharpton himself backed away from supporting Klein's boss. A Q&A session featured critiques of Klein's claims of improvement and calls for his dismissal. See New York City Public School Parents for a good summary and web roundup about the event.

FURTHERMORE. . .

Wallet Pop -
In 1980, J.D. Powers and Associates estimates that more than 35% of all cars sold had a stick shift. By 2005, that number had dropped to 6%. 2008 was the last year that any manufacturer of full-size trucks offered a manual transmission.

1 Comments:

Anonymous v is for victorian. said...

well. if gov't. weren't there to tell you you can't handle your stick, what would you do?

April 8, 2009 12:09 AM  

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