Posts Tagged 'USA'



Newsroom (HBO)

20120626-171807.jpg

The last time I regularly watched the news was quite a long time ago. It was probably more than a decade ago, when I had cable and a TV. I haven’t had either for a long time. I had also gotten tired of watching biased and partisan American news, from the big networks including CNN. I never was a fan of FOX news. Most of the time, I watched the BBC World News, which I found less biased and it had better coverage of world events.

Continue reading ‘Newsroom (HBO)’

Acorn, White-Footed Mice and Tick Cycle Augment Risks of Lyme Disease in 2012

deer-tick-lyme

It’s been explained at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases (ICEID) that the northeastern part of the United States faces the worst year yet for Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections because of the abundance of an unnoticed component of the disease’s complex ecology. A heavy crop of acorns will fuel a population bloom in white-footed mice that stash the acorns for winter food.

Read more @ SciTechDaily

iPad Used as Passport to Cross US Border

While the TSA and INS aren’t supposed to let you into the US without a real passport, that didn’t stop a Canadian man from using his iPad as a substitute for his passport, which he had forgotten at home. Border crossings require passports these days, but thanks to a bit of holiday spirit, he managed to get himself into the US.

Apple iPad Passport 01

Read more @ Technabob

The End of the Space Shuttle Era

Last space shuttle launch with Atlantis for the US

 

CEO Pay: There Is Something Wrong with This

Sarah Jaffe reports on the current disparity between the pay of the CEOs and the pay of their workers. It’s unconscionable but corporate America won’t let anyone do anything about it. The way the system works is rigged in favor for large corporate entities. They are running things, and corporations are psychopaths. In fact, since Reagan, they’ve been fostering it. And you wonder why there’s no money for universal healthcare. Instead of paying less taxes, companies and CEOs should be paying more taxes. But thanks to tax havens and corporate accounting practices, they probably pay less taxes than the average American.

Walmart workers, meanwhile, make around $8.75 an hour—about $18,000 a year. They’d have to work over a million years to approach what the chairman of Walmart Stores is sitting on. Alice and Jim Walton each have about $20 billion, and Christy Walton has $24 billion.

That top percentile takes home more than 20 percent of the personal income in the country, and their average income is $5.4 million. The average income of the bottom 90 percent, according to the Post, is just $31,244.

They began to change fast in the ‘80s, with Reagan’s deregulation-first agenda—in 1980, CEOs made 42 times what workers made; now it’s 343 times. This, coupled with the failures of communism in practice, led to what British author Mark Fisher calls “capitalist realism”—the idea that there is no alternative and so we’re stuck with what we’ve got. It might not be fair that the company CEO makes hundreds of times your salary, but that’s the way the system is, and it’s the best system we’ve got.

To suggest there might be anything wrong with corporations paying CEOs millions is treated like heresy.

—the Post notes that we belong in the company of Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Uganda, and Jamaica in terms of raw wealth disparity.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that companies with billions held offshore—including companies we all know and use, like Google, Apple, and Microsoft—are asking for a “repatriation” tax holiday to bring that money back to the U.S. In other words, they want to drop the rate they’d pay on that money—$29 billion from Microsoft alone—to 5.25 percent from the 35 percent it is normally, as a reward to them for bringing their money back home.

The kicker to that is that even 5 percent of that cash would be a much-needed jolt of revenue for the U.S. economy, but the last time such a deal was offered, companies shipped money home only to return it to shareholders, lay off workers, close plants, and make plans for the next time the government would reward them for pretending to be patriotic. Merck, the Times notes, “brought back $15.9 billion in October 2005. The next month, it unveiled a restructuring plan to cut 7,000 jobs.”

Covert Affairs Advices S02E02 (USA)

Covert Affairs title card

Following the success of Burn Notice, USA is trying another espionage-based series. While I didn’t expect much, I was pleasantly surprised by this show. Granted, Piper Perabo helps, and while she doesn’t look like a 20-year old anymore, she looks young enough to fit the bill for the title character. I find it surprising that a young CIA trainee would be put directly into the field. Also, it’s my understanding that on domestic issues, the FBI runs the show, not the CIA. The CIA has the operational directive of anything out of the US. I am unsure that it’s legal for the CIA to run a domestic operation, but I could be wrong.

Warning: spoilers ahead

Continue reading ‘Covert Affairs Advices S02E02 (USA)’

Make Your Own Franklin: Darth Vader 100 Dolla Bills, Y’all

Check out how imposing a Darth Vader-inspired 100-dollar bill would look like! Personally, I’d like to see this in a future currency printing. This image is part of a project called Make Your Franklin by Vincent Desdoigts, Martin Joubert and Etienne Lecorre.

darth vader make your franklin 100-dollar bill design fun cool

Read more @ Technabob

Covert Affairs Begin the Begin S02E01 (USA)

Covert Affairs title card

Following the success of Burn Notice, USA is trying another espionage-based series. While I didn’t expect much, I was pleasantly surprised by this show. Granted, Piper Perabo helps, and while she doesn’t look like a 20-year old anymore, she looks young enough to fit the bill for the title character. I find it surprising that a young CIA trainee would be put directly into the field. Also, it’s my understanding that on domestic issues, the FBI runs the show, not the CIA. The CIA has the operational directive of anything out of the US. I am unsure that it’s legal for the CIA to run a domestic operation, but I could be wrong.

Warning: spoilers ahead

Continue reading ‘Covert Affairs Begin the Begin S02E01 (USA)’

Noam Chomsky & Christopher Hitchens on OBL and 9/11

George Scialabba on Hitchens when he writes about Noam Chomsky.

Over the last decade, Hitchens has reenacted the drama of Dorian Gray: his prose style has waxed ever more elegant, while his political judgment and his polemical morality have decayed.

American intellectuals, whose responsibility it was to lead the national conversation beyond uncritical acceptance of the premises of state policy, failed entirely.

If the American citizenry ever learn, in relation to their country’s international behavior, Auden’s simple yet difficult lesson that “Those to whom evil is done/Do evil in return” (or their benighted sympathizers do), it will be despite rather than because of the efforts of Hitchens and the large majority of American intellectuals who, about these matters at least, agree with him.

Suppose someone says that Pearl Harbor so inflamed American feeling that the firebombing of Japanese cities and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, though morally indefensible, were all but inevitable. Does saying this absolve the American officials who ordered the bombings or imply that the fate of the hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians who died as a result was “richly deserved”? By Hitchens’s logic, yes.

Noam Chomsky’s reaction to OBL’s assassination.

It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”

There is much talk of bin Laden’s “confession,” but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.

Afghanistan April 2011 @ The Big Picture


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ranjitwithkinginbehand.jpgI'm Range, your host. On the menu, photos, art, stories, entertainment and reviews. Links, maths, education and social issues. I'm in Quebec (Canada) or Taiwan (R.O.C.). Follow me on Twitter.

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