Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Wikipedia entry for Seneca, Missouri (pop.2,135) has no mention of Taylor Gaines or Bisphenol A, but before this all shakes out it just might. Gaines, a precocious 13 year-old native of the town, just kicked the Food and Drug Administration in the nuts after showing in a Middle School Science fair that BPA, the controversial chemical banned in Canada, Target and Walmart, causes deformities in planarian worms.
She's a star, a bright young scientist and a social activist, even if she doesn't realize it. For her science project, she gets a whole sheet of stickers and extra credit. Somebody get her a scholarship before Dow Chemical buys her off.
Posted by frank at 12:55 PM
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The number $530 trillion is getting bandied about as an estimate of the size of the derivatives market. We are now in figures normally reserved for astrophysicists.
Today's Washington Post makes the astonishing claim:
The global derivatives market topped $530 trillion as of June 30 this year, including $55 trillion in the suddenly popular credit-default swaps; that $530 trillion represents all contracts outstanding. The total dollars at risk is a much smaller, but still a hefty $2.7 trillion, according to an estimate by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association.
UPDATE: Slate has an article in the explainer (using $596 trillion!). I still don't understand.
Posted by frank at 4:47 PM
Friday, October 10, 2008
She's a good earner when times are good, but when they're bad, she's radioactive, and can bring the whole rotten structure down with her.
Posted by frank at 7:37 PM
OK America, you have a choice: Either cut military spending or cut Medicaid/Medicare and Social security. As far as the chitlins are concerned, the answer is pretty clear. We've done the math for you, right here on the back of a napkin.
I'll use pictures to help you out:
The crown jewel of the American military: the awesomely fast, powerful and stealthy F-22, which just celebrated its 100th edition. At an average cost of $137 million a pop, plus $62 billion in production cost, we arrive at a gag reflex-inducing $76 billion tab. Even without accounting for upkeep, storage, and operation, that figure alone outstrips the defense spending of any other country in the world. Number two on the list, the peace-loving France, spends $74 Billion.
The crown jewel of al Qaeda, the sturdy, useful and ubiquitious Stanley Utility Knife, available at a corner hardware store near you for $15.99, plus $2.99 for a pack of blades.
Posted by frank at 4:08 AM
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
This got me thinking: most older countries (the UK, Japan, France and Spain) have their financial and political capitals located in the same place. But newer countries, such as Italy, Germany, Canada and the US tend to have separate seats for political and financial power.
Does this week's collapse of New York and rise of Washington mark an epochal coming-of-age for the US?
Posted by frank at 4:09 PM
Friday, September 12, 2008
1. An unstable and pugnacious ally starts shelling one of its own cities, a deliberate provocation against the Kremlin, which, being the Kremlin, responds in force. Dick Cheney is dispatched to the region to assure the ally that we're ready for them to join NATO.
2. The US invades Pakistan, an nuclear-powered ally already teetering on the edge of collapse. Rather than make an effort to confer legitimacy to the new Democratically elected government, we give them what is tantamount to the back of the hand. Civilians are killed in the raid, which, as with almost all such American efforts, comes across as half-assed mucking about. Pak is pissed.
3. Insane vampire Kim Jong Il dies or has a stroke. No one knows who's in charge or what's going on in a half-starved nuclear power with a lot of big guns.
4. The Treasury takes over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the market flies into an epileptic fit. Lehman Brothers announces everything must go sale, and no one shows.
5. Venezuela and Bolivia yank their ambassadors from the US and announce naval excersizes with Russia in the Caribbean.
6. The current frontrunner to win the presidency, arguably the most physically unfit candidate in the history of the US, allows his Vice Presidential nominee to answer some softball questions from the Disney Channel. This is what if feels like:
America loves it.
Posted by frank at 3:59 PM
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Russia loves the Alaska Independence Party. The Kremlin has a storied history, after all, of using its neighbors' disgruntled minorities as a lever to expand its own geopolitical influence.
Beyond the hilarity and hijinks that is the Sarah Palin Vice Presidential nomination, her links to this little-known group deserves a bit of digging. What do we know about these guys, beyond their crappy design concept? (Their logo looks like something you'd see stenciled on the side of a van).
Marc Ambinder has made a good start here, but I want to know more about this group.
Posted by frank at 6:12 PM
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Great bit of investigative work by Sean Mattson of the San Antonio Express- News, raising some very serious questions about the veracity of the FDA's claims about the Great Mexican Salmonella scare of 2008. So far, has yet to be picked up by any bigger papers. Stay tuned, cabron.
Posted by frank at 6:44 PM
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Of all the news yesterday, I was struck most by the words of Russia's ambassador to the UN, who laid down an ominous marker when he said, "Historically Russia was and will remain the guarantor of the security of the people of the Caucasus.”
By these standards, we could be in for a busy time.
Posted by frank at 6:47 PM
Monday, August 4, 2008
Old Silvio Berslusconi didn't waste much time turning Italy's latent Xenophobia into a all out military operation. Today's AP piece chills the blood of anyone who has read anything about the country's history in the 1930's.
The good news, though: Italian military operations tend to turn out poorly.
Also kind of weird, the deputy chief of the general staff, according to the story, is called General Mario Buscemi. That's right. Mr. Pink has a new job.
Posted by frank at 3:36 PM