Category Archives: Uncategorized

Time Square Closed

Times Square New York City, was evacuated yesterday because of a bomb scared. The unidentified man who was seen running from a smoking car, has still not been found.

Quote of the Day: by Fred Astaire

“I have no desire to prove anything by dancing.  I have never used it as an outlet or means of expressing myself.  I just dance.  I just put my feet in the air and move them around.”

I’ve featured a surprise below.  Not your normal Fred Astaire profile.  ;)

California’s Easter Earthquake


The Mexicali earthquake that struck the California-Mexico border area at 3:40 p.m. Pacific Time Sunday spawned widespread reports of shaking chandeliers and sloshing pools in the Los Angeles area.

The earthquake, which was centered about 108 miles east of Tijuana, Mexico, some 10 miles below the surface appeared to have caused some more significant damage nearer the border, including one report of a death in Mexico, but officials are still gathering information.

The shaking lasted for 35 to 55 seconds and the 7.2-magnitude quake is the largest in Southern California since the 7.3 Landers quake on June 28, 1992.

Residents across Southern California and Arizona reported serious ground shakes, but there were no immediate reports of injuries and only limited reports of damages. However, Sunday’s quake also could trigger others in the coming days.

Healthcare Passed!


House Passes Historic Health Care Legislation

Capping a year of legislative activity and ending decades of Democratic
frustration, the House approves a pair of bills that would extend health care
coverage to more than 30 million Americans. One bill goes to Obama’s desk, the
other heads for a final showdown in the Senate.

Re-Post: Will A Court Ruling On Campaign Finance Raise Concerns About Corruption?

Will A Court Ruling On Campaign Finance Raise Concerns About Corruption?

12:01 // pm

Below is a re-post of an article from NPR’s Planet Money.  It’s worth the read.

February 8, 2010

By Ethan Arrow

When Chana and David did a podcast last month on the 2009 Corruption Perception Index, I was a bit surprised to hear that the US ranked not in the top 5 least-corrupt countries, not in the top 10, but 19th. That’s a lot more corrupt than Singapore, Australia and Norway, and just a little less corrupt than Barbados. In case you missed the podcast, they talked to Jermyn Brooks of Transparency International, the organization that compiles the annual index from a series of surveys. Jermyn assuaged our worries by explaining that rankings are based on perceived levels of corruption and not on actual corruption. He added that there’s some room for improvement as countries end economic, political and social practices that many view as corrupt.

That might be good news for countries like Nigeria (currently #130), which is trying to pass anti-corruption laws in an attempt to rid itself of the bribes and blackmail that have historically infected its politics and economy. (We did a podcast on that, too.) But what about the US? Brooks told us that one of the reasons the US ranks relatively low on the list – at least compared to other democracies – is that private money, albeit with some restrictions, is allowed to play a pivotal role in politics.

Now things could get even worse, at least if you’re listening to the critics (Obama included) of the recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign financing. On January 21st, the Court ruled that limiting corporate spending on political campaigns violates the First Amendment principle on free speech.

So in the spirit of continuing our examination of corruption, I decided to ask Brooks what he thought about the ruling. If lobbyists, special interest groups and private corporations can now use even more money to sway elections, what effect might that have on next year’s index? Here’s what he had to say:

“The international reputation of the US as a fair and transparent society will take a further blow, and nascent democracies will cite the US as an example why they do not need to deal with their own conflicts of interest between politicians and business.” He added that the US is ” most vulnerable to perceptions of corrupt practices with respect to business’s aggressive lobbying, supported by campaign financing, to influence political decision making.” Brooks’ conclusion: “If the Supreme Court ruling is allowed to stand, it is bound to impact negatively on the Corruption Practices Index.”

I guess if Jermyn’s right, we could find the US even further down the list next year, possibly behind Qatar, Saint Lucia or even France.

categories: Politics