Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
The reasoning behind Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s controversial immigration bill was simple: illegal immigrants make border states dangerous, so Arizona must crack down on illegal immigrants. The biggest problem, however, is that border states are some of the safest in the country.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
A judge’s order that banned the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration law isn’t going to be the final word on the issue in the state: The infamous sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arapaio, is now planning an immigration “sweep” in which his deputies will go into Latino neighborhoods, stop people for minor violations, and then check their immigration status.
Wednesday's ruling on immigration in Arizona has a large impact beyond the Southwestern state's borders because a federal judge's decision to block the most austere portions of a new law could give the federal government the upper hand in future contests with individual states.
When an American soldier dies in combat, his family benefits from a $400,000 life insurance policy. Unless the insurer handling the policy is one of the companies—Prudential Financial, Metlife—who offer bereaved families a “checkbook” for a secure account holding the money that will earn interest (called a “retained-asset account). What the companies don’t say is that there’s no special account for each family: the money is held in a general corporate account, unguaranteed by the FDIC.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The Massachusetts Legislature has voted for legislation aimed at ensuring the winner of the popular vote wins presidential elections, making the Electoral College irrelevant; under the new law, Massachusetts will give its 12 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
Someone tell Republicans to pull their fingers out of their ears: Alan Blinder, a Princeton professor and a former Federal Reserve official, and Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, argue in a new paper based on an economic model that, without the Wall Street bailout and the economic-stimulus package, the national GDP would be 6.5 percent lower this year.
This is probably going to get ugly quickly: A federal judge has blocked controversial elements of Arizona’s new immigration law that would have required police to question a suspect's immigration status. The judge also blocked provisions that would have required immigrants to carry their papers at all times and forbade illegal immigrants from seeking work in public places. The law will still take effect on Thursday, but without the blocked provisions.
...Elisabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of The View, said on Wednesday that older women are coming out as lesbians because “older men are going for younger women, leaving the women with no one.” Joy Behar quickly set her straight: "I don't think that you suddenly wake up and say, 'You know, I think I want to do that.' You wanted to do it; you were just trapped in a system that said 'get married.'"
Usually I avoid topics like women in technology because (1) it is a can of worms, and (2) I can really only speak for myself. For the most part, I’d rather be seen as a person in technology than a woman, but this weekend the twitterverse erupted with opinions about Google sponsoring female students to attend JSConf. As a woman who is often the only-woman-in-the-room, I want people to know it isn’t always easy. I was a bit shocked by the blatant failure to empathize.
Excellent piece. Unfortunately, I despair of people who refuse to see discrimination ever changing their mind. However, there are still the undecided who can be swayed to see things differently, so for everyone who cares about equality, let's keep the dialogue going.
...David McRaney runs the excellent You Are No So Smart blog, but in earlier days, he sold leather coats that, while seemingly priced at around $1,000, he'd offer "on sale" for $400 and quickly move out the door. That's the anchoring effect—someone suggests a number, then gives you another number to consider, and you can't help but base your opinion of the second number on the first.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Do I think their should be reasonable restrictions on things like copyright renewal? Absolutely. Should George Orwell’s grandchildren (and their publishers!) be making profits off Nineteen Eighty-Four or Animal Farm decades after Orwell’s death? No, I don’t
Martin Wolf has a must-read piece on the state of American politics on the Financial Times’ website: He calls the invention of supply-side economics “the most politically brilliant (albeit economically unconvincing) idea in the history of fiscal policy" because it allowed Republicans to promise a “free lunch”—lower taxes, lower deficits, and essentially unchanged spending. The theory was bunk—the federal-debt-to-GDP ratios ballooned under Presidents Reagan, H.W. Bush, and W. Bush—but Wolf says the adoption of supply-side economics as a party platform “transformed Republicans from a minority party into a majority party.