Posted by: adoseofliberty | January 7, 2010

We’ve Moved!

That’s right.  What better way to start the new year than with a fresh new domain.  You can now find us at:

http://www.canterburyblues.com

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Posted by: oatmealbear | January 7, 2010

Taco Bell: The Road to Blubber

It’s always amazing to witness the claims that the food industry makes.  Then again, I suppose anyone willing to repeatedly eat the kangaroo meat in those tacos might be gullible enough to think there’s a potential for weight loss in the Taco Bell diet. As always, The Onion is the lone voice of reason.

The company that brought us the taco-craving Chihuahua, Fourth Meal and double-decker tacos suggests that it can now help fight fat.

In an ad campaign much like Subway’s Jared Fogle spots, Taco Bell has introduced its own weight-loss character.

Christine Dougherty, 27, ate items from Taco Bell’s lower-calorie “Fresco menu” five to eight times a week and dropped 54 pounds, according to the company.

While welcoming the fast-food chain’s lower-calorie options, some nutritional experts say the Taco Bell ads could be misleading.

In the commercial, Dougherty shows off her svelte body in a form-fitting dress and later a purple bikini while showing photos of her once-chubbier self.

“I lost about two pounds a month over a period of two years by reducing my daily calories and replacing my typical fast-food lunch or dinner with something from the Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet,” Dougherty says in the commercial. “I just chose smarter options.”

These options did not include cheesy gorditas or half-pound burritos.

Dougherty caught the attention of the company after writing to Taco Bell about her dieting success story.

Starting in 2007, the Pensacola, Florida, resident cut 500 calories from her diet and limited herself to 1,250 a day, according to the ads. She replaced her regular Taco Bell meals with the chain’s Fresco items: seven tacos and burritos that range from 150 to 340 calories.

The Fresco fare is not cooked differently. The same burritos and tacos on the regular menu are stripped of shredded cheese and sauce; the items instead contain a tomato, onion and cilantro salsa. This substitution shaves off 20 to 100 calories, according to Taco Bell.

Although the company calls its marketing effort the Drive-Thru Diet, among several flashing disclaimers is, “this is not a weight-loss program.”

“The disclaimers at the bottom, we say this is part of a lower calorie effort. We say you should exercise,” said Tom Wagner, Taco Bell’s vice president of consumer insights and lead project manger of the Drive-Thru Diet. “We don’t in anyway try to market this as a miracle solution to lose weight.”

Ruth Carey, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Fresco Menu for Taco Bell, said, “If people eat items from the Drive-Thru item menu as part of an overall varied diet, it can be very healthy.”

Carey is not Dougherty’s dietitian but learned about her eating patterns. When Dougherty began dieting, she continued eating out because she disliked cooking at home, Carey said.

Carey said she would’ve preferred Dougherty to have exercised in addition to her calorie restriction, but her diet showed that “you can really lose weight by making small changes. … Just reducing calories by 100 to 200 every day on a consistent basis also makes a difference in overall weight loss over a period of a year or two.”

Robert Keith, a professor of nutrition and food science at Auburn University, said it appears unlikely that Taco Bell itself transformed Dougherty.

“Tons of various diets — grapefruit diets, banana diets — they all work for a while, because you don’t eat many calories,” he said. “If you eat fewer calories, it doesn’t matter whether you eat Taco Bell, Subway, Atkins or the Dean Ornish diet. There’s a lot of different ways. The idea is, you eat less calories. [The Taco Bell ads] don’t dwell on the fact she didn’t eat many calories. The bottom line is, she lost weight because she didn’t eat a whole lot.”

Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, said that “there’s nothing innately magical about Taco Bell” and that eating fewer calories “can be done at many eateries, in your own home. There’s many ways to do this.”

Dr. Melina Jampolis, CNNhealth.com’s Diet and Fitness expert and a physician nutrition specialist, said the Dougherty commercials leave the impression that tacos contributed to weight loss.

“They’re giving far too much credit to the Taco Bell product,” she said. “Whenever you reduce by 500 calories and make reasonable, healthy choices, you’re going to lose weight.”

Although Jampolis prefers her clients to avoid fast food, she said, it’s not always realistic for people crunched for time or money.

“If they had to [eat fast food], this is probably one of the better approaches,” Jampolis said of Taco Bell’s Fresco items. “The message should be: Find things that are healthy as possible that fit into the lifestyle.”

Asked whether she would recommend Dougherty’s diet, which consisted heavily of fast food, dietitian Carey said, “I meet my clients where they are. If they are already going to a quick-service restaurant, I’m going to help them eat better there.”

Although the Fresco items tend to be high in sodium, Carey said, the consumer could balance it out by practicing moderation the rest of the day.

A Drive-Thru Diet infomercial on Taco Bell’s Web site plays on the dieting obsession and adopts a campy tone. In it, three people strain to fit into their clothes. The host demonstrates how one of the struggling dieters gets into a car and head to the nearest Taco Bell drive-through.

“It’s the Drive-Thru Diet. That’s what I think is funny,” said dietitian Blake, a nutrition professor at Boston University. “I have to chuckle. One of the issues perpetuating weight problem is that we’re more sedentary than ever. We shouldn’t be going to the drive-through. At least park the car and walk in and get it.”

Posted by: adoseofliberty | January 6, 2010

Pot Ransom

CNN reported on a humorous story in which police officers in the Florida Keys used “bad guy” tactics to catch the bad guy:

Monroe County sheriff’s department special investigations detectives said they seized six large marijuana plants from a vacant, wooded lot, in Marathon, Florida, after they were tipped off by a citizen. Detectives left behind their own version of a ransom note, hoping to get a response.

“Thanks for the grow!” read the note, which included a phone number. “You want them back ? Call for the price … let’s talk.”

Col. Rick Ramsay of the sheriff’s office said detectives “were laughing to see if somebody was dumb enough to call back.”

About 20 minutes after the note was left, the phone rang, and a man asked what he would have to do to get the plants back, police said.

“They were shocked this guy called. They negotiated back and forth over a price, and finally settled at $200,” said Ramsay.

Detectives met the man on a nearby street corner, and he allegedly paid $200 without knowing who he was paying.

Police said a 48-year-old man was arrested on charges of cultivating and selling marijuana as well as possession of drug paraphernalia. Ramsay said officers confiscated a ledger book that contained detailed information on the growing operation including “when he planted, fertilized, watered, and harvested.”

“He even named the plants. One was TNT, and another was Diesel,” Ramsay said.

Posted by: adoseofliberty | January 6, 2010

The Height of Folly

On Monday the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa (previously referred to as the Burj Dubai), was officially inaugurated in Dubai.  The skyscraper is 828 meters and dwarfs the previous record-holder, Taipei 101, by an astonishing 320 meters.  The tower has over 160 floors.

In a glitzy firework-lit ceremony, the city-state’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum unveiled a plaque commemorating the event and also announced that the $1.5 billion structure has a new name: the Burj Khalifa.

Named after Khalifa Bin Zayed, the president of the United Arab Emirates — and ruler of Abu Dhabi, which recently bailed out debt-ridden Dubai to the tune of $10 billion — the tower was officially recorded as 828 meters tall, adding 10 meters on to previous height claims.

There were many ground-breaking techniques used in the construction of the Burj Khalifa by the architects at Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

“As with any project, SOM’s architects and engineers learned a great deal and are ready to apply this to the next world’s tallest building as it is certainly possible to go taller,” it said.

Not everyone is showering praise and admiration on the new building icon:

“Dubai doesn’t really need to have to build tall asides from prestige purposes,” Jim Krane, author of “City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism” told CNN in a recent interview.

“If you look at it, it’s a really bad idea. It uses as much electricity as an entire city. And every time the toilet is flushed they’ve got to pump water half a mile into the sky,” he said.

The telescopic shape also presents problems of a more practical nature Krane says.

“The upper 30 or 40 floors are so tiny that they’re useless, so they can’t use them for anything else apart from storage. They’ve built a small, not so useful storage warehouse half a mile in the sky,” he said.

The Economist does a comparison of record-breaking skyscrapers and the economic slump of the countries in which they were built that has followed completion (see picture above).  The Dubai tower follows the same trend:

It is in danger, however, of being seen as the height of folly. Construction began in 2004, when the economy of the United Arab Emirates was growing at 9.7%. It is forecast to grow by just 2.4% this year and probably shrank by 0.2% in 2009. This is not the first tower to be planned in the good times and then opened in a slump. Countries home to many of the world’s highest buildings (when they opened) saw their economies slump in the years between the start of construction and the official opening.

Posted by: oatmealbear | January 5, 2010

Bono Opines

Back in 1987, Bono and a few other chaps crafted what is perhaps one of the most memorable rock albums of all time: The Joshua Tree.  Sadly the lyrical fortitude that he once demonstrated has atrophied, as evidenced by the following op-ed in the New York Times.

There’s an endless stream of opinionated missteps here, but even among those are some exemplary standouts.

File sharing and intellectual property:

Caution! The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files. The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of “24” in 24 seconds. Many will expect to get it free.

A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.

We’re the post office, they tell us; who knows what’s in the brown-paper packages? But we know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content. Perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world, where music, film, TV and video games help to account for nearly 4 percent of gross domestic product. Note to self: Don’t get over-rewarded rock stars on this bully pulpit, or famous actors; find the next Cole Porter, if he/she hasn’t already left to write jingles.

Yes, because the last thing a fledgling songwriter needs is exposure to a worldwide audience.

Pollution taxes:

In the recent climate talks in Copenhagen, it was no surprise that developing countries objected to taking their feet off the pedal of their own carbon-paced growth; after all, they played little part in building the congested eight-lane highway of a problem that the world faces now. One smart suggestion I’ve heard, sort of a riff on cap-and-trade, is that each person has an equal right to pollute and that there might somehow be a way to monetize this. By this accounting, your average Ethiopian can sell her underpolluting ways (people in Ethiopia emit about 0.1 ton of carbon a year) to the average American (about 20 tons a year) and use the proceeds to deal with the effects of climate change (like drought), educate her kids and send them to university. (Trust in capitalism — we’ll find a way.) As a mild green, I like the idea, though it’s controversial in militant, khaki-green quarters. And yes, real economists would prefer to tax carbon at the source, but so far the political will is not there. If it were me, I’d close the deal before the rising nations want it backdated.

I have no words.

Posted by: adoseofliberty | January 4, 2010

Holey Moon Colony

Lunar Lava Tube

An international team of scientists have discovered a protected lunar lava tube (a deep, giant hole) that could possibly serve as a moon colony or a lunar base.  According to Geophysical Research Letters, the vertical hole is 213 feet wide and possibly more than 260 feet deep, and is “protected from the moon’s harsh temperatures and meteorite strikes by a thin sheet of lava.”

“Lunar lava tubes are a potentially important location for a future lunar base, whether for local exploration and development, or as an outpost to serve exploration beyond the Moon,” writes the team, led by Junichi Haruyama, a senior researcher with the Japanese space agency JAXA.

“Any intact lava tube could serve as a shelter from the severe environment of the lunar surface, with its meteorite impacts, high-energy UV radiation and energetic particles, and extreme diurnal temperature variations.”

Although the findings were published on November 12, they only took hold of public attention this week.  The discovery of the tube was made using high-resolution images from a Japanese moon orbiter called SELENE.

NASA is reportedly working on plans to return to the moon by 2020 and to set up a temporary lunar colony by 2025 as part of the Constellation Program. Funding for the program, however, remains somewhat in question.

The debate about public vs. private funding of space exploration and access has been raging for decades.  Many criticize the massive waste of billions of dollars of taxpayer money into NASA programs that by nature avoid the large risk that is required to reap large benefits

because the voting public does not want to lose another astronaut, and that the risk-averse nature of the program is the biggest stumbling block to inspiring an environment of development or inspiration. Even Bill Nye the Science Guy remarked that “It’s easy to bust NASA’s chops.”

This contributes to the problem of hiring great talent; NASA can’t get people excited.  Although its budget allocation for 2007 was $17 billion, this is only 0.58% of the national budget and only 1/24th the amount the U.S. pays in interest every year on its debt.  Jeff Brooks argues that we’re not spending enough:

NASA spending made up more than five percent of the federal budget during the heady days of the Apollo program. If it received five percent of the federal budget today, its annual funding level would be $139.2 billion dollars. Imagine what the space agency could do if it had that level of support.

Why the Moon?

One of the most important and most-asked questions when discussing space projects is: Why?  Jeff Foust of The Space Review writes an honest piece examining this question and analyzing the reasons NASA has officially provided to the public.

The space agency certainly took a stab as it, unveiling a half dozen “lunar exploration themes” that provide the overall rationale for going back to the Moon. But those themes, ranging from science to commerce to settlement, are overly broad and vague: trying to appeal to everyone but running the risk of winning over no one. Failing to come up with a compelling answer to “why” runs the risk of making all the other questions moot.

Some of the more practical and detailed motivations include:

  • The energy required to send objects from the Moon to space is much less than from Earth to space, possibly enabling the Moon to serve as a construction site or fueling station.
  • A lunar base could be used to launch rockets since the Moon’s lower gravity requires a lower escape velocity than Earth.
  • A lunar base would provide an excellent site for any kind of observatory.  From Wikipedia: “Particular advantages arise from building observatory facilities on the Moon from lunar materials. As the Moon’s rotation is so slow, visible light observatories could perform observations for days at a time. It is possible to maintain near-constant observations on a specific target with a string of such observatories spanning the circumference of the Moon. The fact that the Moon is geologically inactive along with the lack of widespread human activity results in a remarkable lack of mechanical disturbance, making it far easier to set up interferometric telescopes on the lunar surface, even at relatively high frequencies such as visible light.”
  • A colonization of the moon would provide experience in most of the experiments, skills, and knowledge we would need to colonize another planet.
Posted by: adoseofliberty | January 3, 2010

Only in the O.C.

Some news stories are just so absurd, it leaves one speechless.  “Naked dog killer arrested in Orange County” is definitely at the top of my list.

SAN CLEMENTE – Orange County sheriff’s deputies say a man savagely killed a dog, ran naked through a tennis club and poured hot coffee on his head.

Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino says the first call about the 23-year-old man was received at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday when there were reports of a loud radio at his apartment.

Authorities believe he jumped from a third-story window to elude them there. Amormino says that just after 6 a.m. a frantic woman called to say a man had grabbed her mini schnauzer and hit, choked and slammed the dog into the sidewalk.

Minutes later, other callers reported a naked man running through the Rancho San Clemente Tennis Club and pouring hot coffee on his head.

Amormino says the man was arrested at the club and may have been employed there. He says the man was probably on drugs.

Posted by: adoseofliberty | January 2, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Mecca

The city of Mecca, located in Saudi Arabia, is the holiest site of the Islamic religion.  It is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the destination of the Hajj, the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, which is the Fifth Pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be performed at least once in every Muslim’s lifetime, given that they are financially and physically capable of making the journey.  Non-Muslims are forbidden from entering the city.

The Saudi Arabian kingdom, of which Mecca became a part in 1924, has in recent years been at work redeveloping and expanding much of the ancient city, with $13 billion being pumped into reshaping the “look” and “feel” of the city as well as increase visitor capacity which is projected to reach 10 million (the spending is one reason for the $18 billion Saudi budget deficit for 2010).  Now that the time of the Hajj this year has ended, according to Hürriyet, Turkey’s daily English news:

The 350-year-old portico designed by legendary Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan for the Sacred Mosque is to be torn down now that the pilgrims have left. And with its demolition Mecca’s last traces of Ottoman architecture will be dust in the desert wind.

Dr. Sami Angawi, head of the Amar Center for Architectural Heritage in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, “acknowledges that the Saudis have the right to provide modern cities for their citizens, but also noted that many buildings from early Islamic history are being demolished and replaced with high-rise buildings. Angawi said he calculated that over 300 historical buildings in Mecca and Medina have already been destroyed.”

The New York Times published a piece called the “The Price of Progress: Transforming Islam’s Holiest Site” by Hassan Fattah in 2007:

Money is certainly one of the motivators in the building boom. Every year, up to four million people descend on this city during the pilgrimage, while a stream continues to flow through here during the year, spending an average $2,000 to $3,000 to stay, eat and shop.

Billboards along the way to Mecca remind investors of the potential earnings from owning an apartment here; some claim a 25 percent return on investment. Advertisements on Arab satellite television channels remind viewers that “you, too, can have the opportunity to enjoy this blessed view.”

Muhammad al-Abboud, a real estate agent, recounts tales of Pakistani businessmen plunking down $15 million to buy several apartments at a time. Saudi princes own entire floors.

A three-bedroom apartment here runs about $3 million, Mr. Abboud said. One directly overlooking the Grand Mosque can reach $5 million.

Along with the business and financial motivation provided by increasing millions of visitors every year, the Saudis also have safety as one major concern and reason behind the development.

For example, the ramp that leads to the area where the pilgrims “throw stones at the devil” at times was where hundreds could be killed when crowds rushed forward to complete this portion of the pilgrimage. Today, however, the ramp system has been changed and can hold 3 million people and has capacity for as many as 5 million.

The Las Vegas of the East

One of the largest and most controversial developments is the Abraj al Bait Mall, which is being built directly across from the Sacred Mosque (see above picture), surrounding the Kaaba, the most sacred site in Islam.  The Abraj al Bait Towers, which will house up to 100,000 people and include a prayer hall for 10,000, were built on the razed grounds of a two-century old Ottoman fortress that looked over the Kabaa.  The Abraj al Bait project will include the seventh tallest building in the world.

The mall will be one of the largest in Saudi Arabia and will be “outfitted with flat-panel monitors with advertisements and announcements, neon lights, an amusement park ride, fast-food restaurants and a lingerie shop.”  Not all people believe this Saudi development boom is progress.

“Mecca is becoming like Las Vegas, and that is a disaster,” said Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, a Saudi opposition research organization. “It will have a disastrous effect on Muslims because going to Mecca will have no feeling. There is no charm anymore. All you see is glass and cement.”

In an article published in 2006 in The Guardian, Irfan Ahmed al-Alawi, a historian and co-chair of the Islamic Heritage Foundation, questioned the necessity of these developments with biting criticism:

“The excuse given by the Saudi government is that there’s not enough accommodation, but do you really need to be so close to the Grand Mosque and the House of Allah? ZamZam has facilities that are irrelevant. You don’t need a shopping centre and restaurants when you’re doing hajj. Marble flooring and five-star accommodation will not enhance your pilgrimage or make you a better Muslim. The idea that you can make a profit is especially offensive. Such desecration and disrespect would have been unthinkable 30 years ago.”

Some interesting pictures of the new developments can be found here.  Below is a leaked video of the plans to remodel the Sacred Mosque to accommodate much larger numbers of visitors.

Posted by: adoseofliberty | January 1, 2010

Dead in the Water

Daniel Henninger sums up the 00’s in the Wall Street Journal editorial page:

Why pretend? We have arrived at a point where nearly everyone’s conversation of more than five minutes about what is going on in the nation or the world ends up in the ditch.

The opinion polls are deep into the no-holiday spirit, competing to deliver low blows to the American psyche. Pew Research Center began dim December with a survey titled “Current Decade Rated Worst in 50 Years.” Washington Post/ABC staggered in with the bad word that 61% of the American people think their country is in long-term decline.

The U.S. is starting to sound like one long Rodney Dangerfield joke: “I looked up the family tree and found out I was the sap.”

Why the long national face?

Pew’s numbers touched the heart of the past decade’s sense of sadness. Asked to identify the decade’s singular event, 53% said the attacks of September 11, 2001. Nothing else was close.

It is debated often whether 9/11’s sense of urgency about the threat of Islamic terror has faded. Apparently not for the American people. We’ll catch a break if the past week wakes up Washington.

If at its end the decade was looking for a silver lining, this one got the shaft—another gray September. In September 2008, the U.S. financial system for all intents and purposes blew up. Years of imprudently low interest rates and Congress’s political protection of bargain-basement mortgages decked the world in moral hazard. Cheap money was (is) crack for bankers. When the subprime mortgage mania blew, it took down much of Wall Street and a decade’s worth of 401(k) gains.

Let’s toss in the decade’s last straw just for the fun of it: The politicians running California, New York, New Jersey and arguably Congress were shown to be fiscally deranged. If America is in decline, its political class is leading it over the cliff.

Americans are historic optimists. They must be: Another recent study found that the happiest state in the Union is . . . Louisiana. Hurricanes, floods, wars, depression—somehow this country’s can-do spirit won’t die.

Until now. There is a datum in the pollsters’ 10-year ash heap that is disturbing and new. At the start of 2008, according to Pew, well before the September financial implosion, 41% said the U.S. was the world’s leading economic power; 30% said China. By this November, those numbers had flipped: 44% said China was on top; only 27% said the U.S.

However false this is, what people are saying is they assume China in time will clean our clock. This is a frightening snapshot of national demoralization.

It is a nation refusing to answer the bell. Throwing in the towel. We can’t compete. We’re done.

I don’t buy it. America isn’t dead. It’s just dead in the water.

In Pew’s comparison of five decades, one trumps the other four: the 1980s. “The balance of opinion about the 1980s is overwhelmingly positive across all age groups.” The 1980s’ negative rating is just 12%.

How can this be? As the ’80s ended, pundits everywhere famously wrote the whole thing off as “The Decade of Greed.” Left-wing essayist Barbara Ehrenreich, one of too many to count, called her version of the decade, “The Worst Years of Our Lives.”

But it looks like people think the ’80s were the best years of their lives. We—especially those among us thinking of running for the presidency—had better try to figure out why fast.

Because all conversation in our politics goes straight into rage if one brings any public figure’s name into it, I will preposterously not mention Ronald Reagan.

Forget greed. That was just an artifact, a side show. More than anything, the 1980s freed Americans to do the one thing they love to do above all else: create.

From day one many better decades ago, America has been about compulsive creation. It’s a nation driven by the New—new ideas, new cities, new companies, technologies, art forms, production, management, distribution, design, Hollywood, Tin Pan Alley, Silicon Valley.

Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad, some of it’s ugly. So what? This is the upward-moving mojo that Americans want to get them back in the game—the space to create, build and do what’s new. The big question raised by you-know-who in the 1980s was whether government was part of the solution to national creativity or part of the problem.

Time’s up, so let’s not spoil the downer spirit by ending with false optimism.

We are in the anti-1980s. But I don’t care how flat the earth is; with competitors like China, India and the others, the belief that our big fat national government can somehow subsidize, much less identify, the U.S.’s next creative edge is straight from the dusty book of the original flat-earth society.

So a New Year’s Eve prediction: If we stay on the course set the past year, the next decade will make the 2000s look like the end of the golden age.

Posted by: adoseofliberty | December 31, 2009

“Financial Literacy”

The Politico reported on an educational measure included in the Senate health bill that passed last week on Christmas Eve:

For critics of the Democrats’ $849 billion health care bill, this may be the ultimate irony: millions of dollars set aside so the government can help teach citizens how to handle their own money better.

The funding is part of a broader, $375 million program aimed at promoting responsible lifestyles — a five-year plan to fund state efforts to educate adolescents on abstinence, contraception and other “adult preparation subjects” such as healthy relationships, increased child-parent communication and “financial literacy.”

You can imagine how Sen. Jim DeMint feels.

“The federal government is never going to encourage personal responsibility and never has,” the South Carolina Republican said. “Personal responsibility is a good principle — but not the government doing it.”

In a document circulating in the hopes of defeating the measure — and the health care bill in general — aides to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) say: “The federal government, which is now $12 trillion in debt and riddled with hundreds of billions of dollars of waste, management, duplication and ineffective programs, has little credibility educating Americans about financial responsibility.”

Perhaps he’s referring to the largest deficit in the history of the United States? Or maybe a 10-year budget outlook that sends the national debt to unprecedented levels?  Does anyone remember the wildly “successful” cash-for-clunkers?  Or the “stimulus” bill that did what exactly?  Oh yeah, lose money and create jobs in non-existing districts.

Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas recalls the most recent reasons why Americans need to have someone set them straight:

“Financial literacy is one of the biggest problems we have in this country.  Look at what happened in our stock markets, look at what happened in our economy with mortgages; people are indebting themselves into something more than what they can afford.”

We all know that people can’t be trusted with their own money.  Or that “deregulation”, the market “running wild”, Wall Street “greed”, the failure of capitalism, etc. caused The Great Recession.  Or do we?

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