Profound Thought of the Day:

From a NYTimes Article on why no one is defending Bush anymore...

But when a politician makes likability a substitute for authority, his opponents make hatred a substitute for opposition.

A Dark Day...

Today in History:

Republican George W. Bush claimed the presidency 36 days after Election Day; Democrat Al Gore conceded defeat.


p.s. - Happy Birthday Steve Buscemi


Muhammad Yunus' Nobel Lecture

Click here for the entire lecture. Hat tip to Playground Politics.

Some highlights:

By giving us this prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has given important support to the proposition that peace is inextricably linked to poverty. Poverty is a threat to peace.

World's income distribution gives a very telling story. Ninety four percent of the world income goes to 40 percent of the population while sixty percent of people live on only 6 per cent of world income. Half of the world population lives on two dollars a day. Over one billion people live on less than a dollar a day. This is no formula for peace.
Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building stable peace we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to live decent lives.
We get what we want, or what we don't refuse. We accept the fact that we will always have poor people around us, and that poverty is part of human destiny. This is precisely why we continue to have poor people around us. If we firmly believe that poverty is unacceptable to us, and that it should not belong to a civilized society, we would have built appropriate institutions and policies to create a poverty-free world.

We wanted to go to the moon, so we went there. We achieve what we want to achieve. If we are not achieving something, it is because we have not put our minds to it. We create what we want.

What we want and how we get to it depends on our mindsets. It is extremely difficult to change mindsets once they are formed. We create the world in accordance with our mindset. We need to invent ways to change our perspective continually and reconfigure our mindset quickly as new knowledge emerges. We can reconfigure our world if we can reconfigure our mindset.

I believe that we can create a poverty-free world because poverty is not created by poor people. It has been created and sustained by the economic and social system that we have designed for ourselves; the institutions and concepts that make up that system; the policies that we pursue.

Poverty is created because we built our theoretical framework on assumptions which under-estimates human capacity, by designing concepts, which are too narrow (such as concept of business, credit- worthiness, entrepreneurship, employment) or developing institutions, which remain half-done (such as financial institutions, where poor are left out). Poverty is caused by the failure at the conceptual level, rather than any lack of capability on the part of people.
A human being is born into this world fully equipped not only to take care of him or herself, but also to contribute to enlarging the well being of the world as a whole. Some get the chance to explore their potential to some degree, but many others never get any opportunity, during their lifetime, to unwrap the wonderful gift they were born with. They die unexplored and the world remains deprived of their creativity, and their contribution.

He also goes in to the idea of social businesses, and even a social stock market. Read it all.

A Must Read

Waxing America on the Cheese War


I agree 100% - Cutting benefits for elected officials will only allow the wealthy to run

Left on the lake has a great explanation here.

I discuss a full vs part-time legislature here.

I assume there will be a large fiction section...

Big names, big dollars in Bush library bid
Baylor, SMU, Dallas pull out all stops for site that can be economic boon for host city

DALLAS — For a president, it's a place where his legacy is polished and set on display for posterity.
For the host town, a presidential library can mean an instant tourist attraction and a shot of economic vitality.
Three Texas universities are hoping to land the George W. Bush presidential library, and each is calling in its own heavy hitters and Bush backers to try to make the case.


Oshkosh Northwestern Does Follow-up on Poverty in Winnebago County

Here is the story. Below are some highlights:

One year after a special two-part series in The Northwestern, "Living on the Edge: The Peril of Poverty," recently released statistics show the number of people living in poverty is on the rise in Winnebago County. In fact, an additional 4,100 residents saw their incomes slide enough over the past two years to be considered living in poverty.
The U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 American Community Survey, which was released in October, reported that more than 15,500 individuals in Winnebago County, or 10.4 percent of the county's population, were living in poverty based on federal guidelines. That 36.1 percent increase means 4,100 more county residents are now living in poverty as opposed to the 11,000 the U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2003.
For a family of four, the federal poverty line for 2006 is an annual income of $20,000. But in Winnebago County, the cost of living for that same family is more than twice that amount. Penn State University's "Poverty in America" project determined the living wage in Winnebago County for a family of four is $42,356.

Local agencies that help individuals who are struggling have seen the results of the increase.

Tim Gessler, the manager of the financial assistance division at Winnebago County Department of Human Services, said an increase in the number of individuals seeking help closely mirrors the increase in the number of residents who are considered living in poverty.

In April 2006, 15,068 county residents received BadgerCare or some other type of medical assistance, a 36.7 percent increase over the 11,030 residents who received the same benefits in April 2003.

While not as large, the number of residents seeking food assistance has also increased.

Gessler said in 2005, 11,543 county residents received assistance through FoodShare, a food and nutrition program based on the federal food stamp program that helps Wisconsin residents not only purchase food, but also make healthy nutritious choices. That's an increase of 25.8 percent over the 9.175 residents who received nutrition aid in 2003.