Thursday, March 31, 2011 @ 9:01am
Dave Ross Commentary - Listen: The recession finally pays off...
It was officially the troubled asset relief program, TARP for short. And everybody hated it.
Conservatives hated it for tinkering with the market forces.
Liberals hated it for bailing out the big banks.
George Bush didn't like it; Barack Obama didn't like it, and most voters assumed they had just kissed $700 billion dollars goodbye.
And even worse, it didn't move the unemployment rate, and it didn't help the housing market.
But it DID accomplish one thing that government programs never seem to do.
TARP actually turned a profit!
Nobody thought that could happen. Last year, the president said TARP would end up costing $117 billion.
But in fact the treasury department reports that as of Wednesday, the bank bailout went into the black by $6 BILLION.
To put that in units that the House of Representatives might understand, that's 1200 times the current subsidy for National Public Radio.
It's about 12 times what the first week of the Libya no-fly zone cost.
But that's not the whole story. According to Treasury Department figures... if you total up all the federal rescue programs that were put in place to prevent the recession from tuning into a Depression -- the result will be a profit to taxpayers of $23.6 billion.
So let's see -- what would have been better -- punishing the big banks, letting a Depression happen, or bailing out the big banks, and turning a profit of $23.6 billion?
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 @ 10:28am
An MIT chemist has created an artificial leaf that reproduces photosynthesis on a powerful level. By turning sunlight and water into energy, one single "leaf" could power an entire household.
For the do-it-yourself types out there, a YouTuber created his own version of a mini-solar panel that he calls a "leaf". It may not be as impressive as the MIT project, but it's still pretty cool. Check it out below.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 @ 8:32am
Dave Ross Commentary - Listen: Are you ready for another warning? Anti-colorists want food coloring warning
It may seem frivolous at a time when we're all spooked by radiation, but the Food and Drug Administration is going to hold hearings on food coloring.
-- Because of more studies linking Yellow number 5 and Red number 3, which are made from coal tar -- to hyperactivity.
The FDA already requires listing artificial colors on the label, but the anti-colorists now want explicit warnings that colors can cause children to misbehave.
Many doctors think this is an urban legend. But it's like the placebo effect -- where if you believe a pill can cure you it some times actually does. There's a reverse placebo effect where if you believe something can hurt you, it actually will.
So today -- the FDA will open hearings which could possibly lead to new warnings about artificial colors.
Just one request:
That... besides examining the effects of artificial colors, they examine the effects of WARNINGS about artificial colors.
For example -- I have eaten colored food. Red cherries that would've been beige, hot dogs that would've been grey, sweet and sour pork that without the cheerful red coating would just look like leftover chicken, and I've noticed no ill effects.
But if there was a warning such as -- "The color of this food might make you fling a chair through a window" -- I'd probably develop a tick.
Artificial color made from coal tar DOES sound disgusting -- but look at the natural colors! Natural green is made from algae and seaweed, and natural red is made from grinding up a crimson-colored south American beetle.
And frankly these days, if the food is affordable, and not radioactive... I count myself lucky.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 @ 10:42am
Yesterday was a banner day for Republican presidential hopefuls.
Godfather's Pizza founder and GOP candidate Herman Cain declared that no Muslims would ever serve on his cabinet. "What?" you say, "That can't be right. You must have misheard him." Nope. Check out the video below. (The Council on American-Islamic Relations has since called Cain's comments 'bigoted.')
Meanwhile, at camp Trump, The Donald released his own birth certificate to show he is, indeed, a US citizen, not like that faker who's in the White House now. The only problem is, it's not really Trump's birth certificate, it's some other document, raising the question, "What exactly are you hiding, Mr. Future President?" Click here for details from CBS New's Political Hotsheet.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 @ 8:40am
Dave Ross Commentary - Listen: Did you get the real message?
In Libya... it might SEEM that we are at war with Mohammar Gadhafi. And yes, the president says Libya would be better off without him:
"But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake."
So this is NOT about regime change, and notice -- he didn't even call it a war! He called it a military mission! Sort of a big helping hand from the sky. I wonder why...
"If we tried to overthrow Ghadafi by force, our coalition would splinter. We'd likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground to accomplish that mission. The dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater, so would the costs, and our share of the responsibility for what comes next," said Obama.
Do you get it? DO you understand what he's describing?
"To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya," he continued.
Instead of a commander in chief laying out what he WILL do, this was a commander in chief laying out what he will NOT do.
For members of Congress who keep asking the President what victory will look like -- you're asking the wrong guy. His focus isn't on victory. His focus is NOT creating another Iraq!
And the Libyan rebels, who see Gadhafi hiding his tanks among civilians and generally not playing fair, need to understand that.
The President is telling us here in America not to expect a victory, and he's warning the rebels -- this is not Iraq, I am not George Bush, the ground troops are not coming.
You might want to try the French.
Monday, March 28, 2011 @ 9:51am
Dave Ross Commentary - Listen: Does your child have Facebook syndrome?
The American Academy of Pediatrics -- the same group that recommends doctors ask parents whether they have a gun at home -- now recommends pediatricians start asking about Facebook.
"We know that kids who use facebook too much, and have trouble with social problems and depression get depressed more," says Gwen O'Keefe, who wrote the new guidelines.
The pediatrician is now supposed to ask, in a friendly way, "Do you have a Facebook account? How many virtual friends do you have?"
And if the kid says 200 -- it could signal a Facebook addiction. The kid could be cyberbullied -- or be a cyber bullier. Or could get depressed from reading all those cheerful posts, and feeling inadequate.
"One way of handling technology is to have an agreed upon use plan in the family so that people understand when it's appropriate to be plugged in and when it's not," says O'Keefe.
Which is fine -- I just wonder how it got to the point that juvenile computer use has become a potential medical problem; how kids became glued to the Internet as if they were sales reps ... or stockbrokers.
There's only one way they could have the time for that: they don't have any chores!
Don't parents know it IS legal have your kids do the laundry, clean out the garage, a little house painting? But OK, if they're ABOVE that, because they're so good on the computer, let them BE stockbrokers. We have ten year old concert pianists, why not?
At least have them do your taxes.
"Hey son -- after school, could you go on-line and cyberbully the IRS for Daddy?"
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 11:06am
Qwest Communications will officially merge with CenturyLink next week, throwing the future name of Seattle's Qwest Field into question. Will it become CenturyLink Field? Century Stadium? What will we call it for short? Some have suggested "The Link" or "The Clink".
If you had the naming rights - but had to keep it related to the CenturyLink brand - what would you call the home of the Seahawks?
KIRO's Bill Swartz joined Dave and Luke to offer some ideas of his own. Listen here:
KIRO's Alex Silverman's spoke with a major player in stadium naming rights. Listen to his piece here:
[PHOTO: Jude Freeman]
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 9:01am
Dave Ross Commentary - Listen: What country would YOU escape to?
The Declaration of Independence declares that all men are created equal, but it does not promise that we'll all end up with the same net worth.
"We don't really have a middle class in America," says Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University.
Ariely surveyed thousands of Americans to find out what they considered to be a fair distribution of wealth. Currently in America: 20% of the population owns 84% of the total wealth -- in the form of property, stock, and savings. That's more lopsided than any other western country. It's more like China.
So Dan asked this question -- if you were a refugee, and you were going to jump on a boat and emigrate to another country, not knowing anything about it -- what kind of country would you want to end up in:
"We showed people two distributions of wealth, one of them was based on Sweden and one of them was based on the U.S. We said, 'Where would you rather live?' and 92 percent of American's picked Sweden."
Sweden. It doesn't any more socialist than that. And here's the really crazy thing -- it cut across party lines:
"For Democrats, it was 93 percent of them, choosing Sweden, and for Republicans it was 90.5 percent," says Ariely.
Wow. So Americans, if they were figuratively escaping somewhere on a figurative boat would like to end up in Sweden. Of course, wealth gap or not, we know where the people in the ACTUAL boats seem to end up.