January 06, 2005

Hamster Numbers: Debt and the dollar

From the Economic Policy Institute:

The United States is currently borrowing $665 billion annually from foreign lenders to finance the gap between payments to and receipts from the rest of the world, an amount equivalent to $5,500 per American household. This borrowing entails serious costs for the U.S. economy. However, these costs have been hidden for the past few years, predominantly by the historically low interest rates, which resulted from the Federal Reserve’s attempts to spur economic recovery after the 2001 recession and from a downturn in domestic investment. This happy scenario will not persist indefinitely, and when interest rates rise, the costs of U.S. borrowing will have serious economic consequences:

• With no improvement in the current account deficit, the external debt of the United States will rise from 24% of total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of 2003 to 64% by 2014.

• The cost of servicing just the additional debt incurred from 2004 to 2014 will rise to 1.7% of GDP by 2014, the equivalent of $250 billion in 2004 dollars.

Posted by Eric at 05:35 PM | Comments (8)

December 08, 2004

Hamster Numbers: Cold Winter

From the Progress Report:

For millions of low-income Americans, it's going to be a long, very cold winter. Fuel prices have skyrocketed – according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the average cost of home heating this winter will be a whopping 24 percent higher than last year. To make matters worse, the number of people living in poverty, who are especially likely to need help paying their energy bills, rose last year by 1.3 million to 36 million people, or 12.5 percent of the population. Yet Congress is underfunding the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP helps poor households – many of which include people who are elderly or disabled – pay their heating bills during the coldest months of winter). About 30 million households qualify for help, but a lack of funding means only about one out of every seven families receives assistance. And initial sampling shows that this year, with temperatures dropping, fuel prices soaring and more Americans living in poverty, requests for assistance could reach an all-time high.

Posted by Eric at 06:49 PM | Comments (47)

October 12, 2004

Hamster Numbers: Iraq Rebuilding

From American Progress Action Fund:

U.S.-funded reconstruction programs in Iraq have created only 80,000 jobs, far below the projected goal of 250,000 set last year by the Coalition Provisional Authority. As a result, Iraq’s population of 25 million is suffering from close to 50 percent unemployment and underemployment. In some parts of the country, unemployment alone is as high as 60 percent. While the disappointing numbers can largely be attributed to the slow disbursement of U.S. reconstruction assistance (only $1.3 billion out of $18.4 billion), according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, only 27 percent of that aid actually reaches the Iraqi people. The rest goes to costs associated with insurance, overhead, security, profits, and foreign salaries - money that doesn't enter Iraq's economy.

Posted by Eric at 07:29 AM | Comments (30)

October 11, 2004

Hamster Numbers: Jobs

From Americans for Democratic Action, Inc. (ADA):

The monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report in out and the outlook in sluggish at best. A mere 96,000 jobs were added for the month of September and the unemployment rate remained about 5.4%.

An increase of 150,000 jobs per month is needed in order to just match regular growth in the work force.

The numbers mean that Bush will end his term with fewer people working than he began. In January 2001 there were roughly 800,000 for jobs than in September 2004. For the first time since 1932 or when Herbert Hoover's Administration has a president seen fewer employed when he ended his term than when he started.

The record is even worse when the private sector situation is reviewed and government employment figures are excluded. (Government jobs increased over 900,000 between January 2001 and September 2004). Looking at the private sector alone there were 1.7 million fewer jobs in September 2004 than in January 2001.

During this anemic recovery wage and salary increase has been a mere 1% and contrasts sharply with the average 4% gain during past recessions.

In the past year alone average hourly and weekly earnings in real terms have actually declined. Wages now comprise the lowest share of GDP since 1929, and the typical American family has lost about $1500 in real income since Bush's term began in 2001.

Posted by Eric at 11:27 AM | Comments (30)

September 29, 2004

Hamster Numbers: NYT Corrections

From Harpers:

Words the New York Times devoted last May to examining its own faulty reporting on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction : 3,082 [Harper's research ]

Words the Times devoted last year to "correcting the record" after an investigation of reporter Jayson Blair : 7,102 [Harper's research ]

Posted by Eric at 06:51 AM | Comments (33)

September 15, 2004

Hamster Numbers: Healthcare

From the American Progress Action Fund:

The number of uninsured Americans has risen dramatically under President Bush. The Census Bureau recently reported that 45 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2003 -an increase of 1.4 million from 2002 and 5.2 million from 2000. The number of uninsured Americans on the president's watch is now greater than the total number of seniors aged 65 or older and roughly equal to the combined populations of California, Oregon, and Washington.

Rising health care costs are squeezing middle class families and their employers. The inability to rein in double-digit increases in health care costs harms workers and employers alike. Already tight families must now contend with larger premiums and deductibles while employers must pay more and more to keep a healthy and productive work force. Health care costs now eat up 15 percent of the American economy - costs that dampen economic growth, investment, and job creation.

The president's plans for Health Savings Accounts will only mean more uninsured and greater out-of-pocket expenses for workers. MIT economist Jonathan Gruber concludes that the president's proposed tax credits for individual health insurance and expanded health savings accounts (HSAs) would together cause 2.6 million people to lose their employment-based coverage and become uninsured. HSAs also require families to pay at least $2,000 - on top of insurance premiums - before any coverage kicks in.

Posted by Eric at 12:00 PM | Comments (49)

September 13, 2004

Hamster Numbers

From Harpers:

Minimum number of U.S. firms under contract in Iraq that have paid federal fines, settlements, or restitution since 2000 : 7 [Project on Government Oversight (Washington)/Harper's research ]

Amount they paid : $87,635,766 [Project on Government Oversight (Washington)/Harper's research ]

Minimum amount that Wal-Mart has received in subsidies from state and local governments since 1980 : $625,000,000 [Good Jobs First (Washington) ]

Number of the 73 firms participating in the Medicare discount drug program that have been investigated since 2000 : 20 [Center for American Progress (Washington) ]

Number of these that have paid fines in connection with criminal cases : 17 [Center for American Progress (Washington) ]

Posted by Eric at 04:06 AM | Comments (41)

September 07, 2004

Hamster Numbers: Voting

From the Drug Policy Alliance:

Nearly 5 million American citizens cannot vote due to a felony conviction. In 14 states, people with felony convictions can permanently lose the right to vote. In most other states, those on probation and on parole are denied the vote. Given current rates of incarceration, 3 in 10 of the next generation of African American men can expect to be disfranchised at some point in their lives.

Posted by Eric at 01:59 AM | Comments (26)

September 06, 2004

Hamster Numbers: Jobs

From the AFL-CIO:

The nation's manufacturing workers especially have been hit hard. Although some 22,000 manufacturing jobs were created last month, more than 2.7 million total manufacturing jobs have been lost under Bush's watch. At the current pace, it would take more than 14 years to restore manufacturing employment levels to where they were when Bush took office. Meanwhile, the decline in the number of good information industry jobs also continued, with 11,000 positions lost last month. And the slowdown in retail sales, a symptom of consumers' uneasiness, was reflected in the loss of 11,300 retail jobs.

The official unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged in August, dipping slightly to 5.4 percent, though this slight decrease was primarily because 150,000 more people dropped out of the job market. The unemployment rate for Latinos worsened, dropping from 6.8 percent in July to 6.9 percent in August, and African American unemployment improved slightly, from 10.9 percent in July to 10.4 percent in August.

Analysts say the jobless rate could worsen in coming months. Last week, new applications for unemployment benefits rose to a five-month high as layoffs related to Hurricane Charley mounted, BLS reported.

Initial jobless claims increased for a second week in a row, climbing by 19,000 to 362,000 in the week ended Aug. 28. That marked the highest level since the week ended April 10. BLS estimates slightly less than half of the increase in jobless claims resulted from disruptions caused by the hurricane.

The average length of unemployment also continues to increase. Last month, the average duration of unemployment increased to 19 weeks or nearly five months, up from 18.6 weeks in July.

Posted by Eric at 01:47 AM | Comments (38)

September 04, 2004

Hamster Numberrs: Bush Admin and Military

1972 Year that Bush walked away from his pilot duties in the Texas National Guard, Nearly two years before his six-year obligation was up.

$3,500 Reward a group of veterans offered in 2000 for anyone who could confirm Bush's Alabama guard service.

600-700 Number of guardsmen who were in Bush's unit during that period.

0 Number of guardsmen from that period who came forward with information about Bush's guard service.

0 Number of minutes that President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, the assistant Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, the former chairman of the Defence Policy Board, Richard Perle, and the White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove ­ the main proponents of the war in Iraq ­served in combat (combined). - Graydon Carter

Posted by Eric at 08:39 AM | Comments (48)

August 26, 2004

Hamster Numbers: Coalition Deaths

From Mother Jones and The Defense Department:

Number of U.S. service members killed since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 19, 2003: 966

Number killed since President Bush declared an end to "major combat" on May 1, 2003: 828

Number killed since the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government on June 28, 2004: 111

Posted by Eric at 02:10 PM | Comments (16)

August 19, 2004

Worker Comp Lags

From EPI, we find:

One of the few bright spots in the current economy is fast productivity growth, which has increased 11.1% since the third quarter of 2001. Since economists consider productivity (i.e., output per hour worked) to be a key economic determinant of living standards, this fast pace would normally have positive implications for working families. Yet, as the figure below reveals, workers compensation has consistently lagged productivity growth over this period.

Since the start of the recovery, inflation-adjusted compensation has only increased 3.4%, less than one-third the growth rate of productivity. Real wages and salaries are falling even further behind. Since the recovery began, wages have been stagnant, and have fallen in absolute terms in the past two quarters.

To the degree that higher benefit costs are driven by the higher cost of health care, the increased dollars being spent on employee benefits do not result in improved benefits. Additionally, employers have been required to make larger contributions into defined benefit pension plans than they did during the stock market boom. While this translates into higher compensation costs, it does not improve living standards for workers. And for those who do not receive benefits from their employers (a significant number of workers, as less than 50% of workers at the bottom half of the wage distribution receive health benefits and only 20% of all workers have defined benefit pension plans), total compensation is likely falling even more sharply behind productivity.

Posted by Eric at 10:16 AM | Comments (13)

Worker Comp Lags

From EPI, we find:

One of the few bright spots in the current economy is fast productivity growth, which has increased 11.1% since the third quarter of 2001. Since economists consider productivity (i.e., output per hour worked) to be a key economic determinant of living standards, this fast pace would normally have positive implications for working families. Yet, as the figure below reveals, workers compensation has consistently lagged productivity growth over this period.

Since the start of the recovery, inflation-adjusted compensation has only increased 3.4%, less than one-third the growth rate of productivity. Real wages and salaries are falling even further behind. Since the recovery began, wages have been stagnant, and have fallen in absolute terms in the past two quarters.

To the degree that higher benefit costs are driven by the higher cost of health care, the increased dollars being spent on employee benefits do not result in improved benefits. Additionally, employers have been required to make larger contributions into defined benefit pension plans than they did during the stock market boom. While this translates into higher compensation costs, it does not improve living standards for workers. And for those who do not receive benefits from their employers (a significant number of workers, as less than 50% of workers at the bottom half of the wage distribution receive health benefits and only 20% of all workers have defined benefit pension plans), total compensation is likely falling even more sharply behind productivity.

Posted by Eric at 10:16 AM | Comments (7)

August 17, 2004

Hamster Numbers: Hispanic Homeownership

From National Council of La Raza:

  • "Homeownership rates among Latinos increased steadily during the 1990s, but peaked at 47.3% in 2001. By 2003, Latino homeownership had declined by 0.6 percentage points."
  • "Affordability continues to be a problem as housing costs rise faster than income. On average, Hispanic families spend more than a third of their income on housing."
  • "While overall housing problems decreased slightly, more than twice the number of Hispanics than Whites reported problems with building quality."

    Posted by Eric at 05:46 AM | Comments (20)

    Hamster Numbers: Hispanic Homeownership

    From National Council of La Raza:

  • "Homeownership rates among Latinos increased steadily during the 1990s, but peaked at 47.3% in 2001. By 2003, Latino homeownership had declined by 0.6 percentage points."
  • "Affordability continues to be a problem as housing costs rise faster than income. On average, Hispanic families spend more than a third of their income on housing."
  • "While overall housing problems decreased slightly, more than twice the number of Hispanics than Whites reported problems with building quality."

    Posted by Eric at 05:46 AM | Comments (0)

    August 14, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Voting

    From Ask Dr. Dave:

    "Throughout our history, Americans have passionately defended and fought for the right to vote. But we exercise that right far less than citizens in other countries. For example, from 1945 to 1998 voting turnout in the U.S. ranked 139th of 171 countries. Our turnout rate of about 50 percent compares to the 73 percent average for the 36 established democracies."

    Posted by Eric at 06:11 AM | Comments (16)

    Hamster Numbers: Voting

    From Ask Dr. Dave:

    "Throughout our history, Americans have passionately defended and fought for the right to vote. But we exercise that right far less than citizens in other countries. For example, from 1945 to 1998 voting turnout in the U.S. ranked 139th of 171 countries. Our turnout rate of about 50 percent compares to the 73 percent average for the 36 established democracies."

    Posted by Eric at 06:11 AM | Comments (1)

    August 11, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Minority Youth Employment

    Young? Minority? Looking for a job? Uh-oh, spaghettios. From the College Dem blog:

  • "The release of today's Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that only 32,000 jobs were created in July. Experts were expecting 215,000
    to 247,000 new jobs. Hidden in today's report is the exceptionally unsettling
    picture for minority youth. In July, the jobless rate for African American youth hit a historic high and the rate for Latino youth was near the all time worst. The jobless rate for all 16 to 19 year olds reached 56.1 percent in July, while the jobless rate for African American youth reached 75.1 percent and Latino youth reached almost 66 percent."

    Posted by Eric at 04:45 PM | Comments (5)

    Hamster Numbers: Minority Youth Employment

    Young? Minority? Looking for a job? Uh-oh, spaghettios. From the College Dem blog:

  • "The release of today's Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that only 32,000 jobs were created in July. Experts were expecting 215,000
    to 247,000 new jobs. Hidden in today's report is the exceptionally unsettling
    picture for minority youth. In July, the jobless rate for African American youth hit a historic high and the rate for Latino youth was near the all time worst. The jobless rate for all 16 to 19 year olds reached 56.1 percent in July, while the jobless rate for African American youth reached 75.1 percent and Latino youth reached almost 66 percent."

    Posted by Eric at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

    July 22, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Star Wars

    From Harpers:

    Minimum U.S. spending on missile defense each year since President Reagan's 1983 "Star Wars" speech : $2,700,000,000 [Office of Sen. Jack Reed (Washington) ]

    Number of the ten missile-defense components to be deployed this fall that have been field-tested as a system : 0 [General Accounting Office (Washington)/Council for a Livable World (Washington) ]

    Posted by Eric at 06:52 AM | Comments (29)

    Hamster Numbers: Star Wars

    From Harpers:

    Minimum U.S. spending on missile defense each year since President Reagan's 1983 "Star Wars" speech : $2,700,000,000 [Office of Sen. Jack Reed (Washington) ]

    Number of the ten missile-defense components to be deployed this fall that have been field-tested as a system : 0 [General Accounting Office (Washington)/Council for a Livable World (Washington) ]

    Posted by Eric at 06:52 AM | Comments (0)

    July 20, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Wages

    From Moving Ideas / EPI:

  • Wages Fall Again in June
    Real hourly and weekly earnings have fallen for six out of the last seven months.

  • The unemployment rate, at 5.6% in June 2004, is at the very same rate as in November 2001.
  • Posted by Eric at 06:25 AM | Comments (5)

    Hamster Numbers: Wages

    From Moving Ideas / EPI:

  • Wages Fall Again in June
    Real hourly and weekly earnings have fallen for six out of the last seven months.

  • The unemployment rate, at 5.6% in June 2004, is at the very same rate as in November 2001.
  • Posted by Eric at 06:25 AM | Comments (1)

    July 01, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Halliburton Costs

    From the LA Times, a "top investigator for the Coalition Provisional Authority" has criticized Halliburton for excessive costs. Among them:

  • "Halliburton, which managed the contract to house government employees and contractors at the hotel, charged $2.85 million for the rooms"
  • "a senior CPA official set up living and working quarters in a hotel room for the equivalent of nearly $700 a night"
  • "the CPA allowed Halliburton to rent hotel facilities for medical checkups and other services at a cost of $342,000 per year"
  • "The company also charged $191,000 a year for laundry services"

    Posted by Eric at 07:24 AM | Comments (7)

    Hamster Numbers: Halliburton Costs

    From the LA Times, a "top investigator for the Coalition Provisional Authority" has criticized Halliburton for excessive costs. Among them:

  • "Halliburton, which managed the contract to house government employees and contractors at the hotel, charged $2.85 million for the rooms"
  • "a senior CPA official set up living and working quarters in a hotel room for the equivalent of nearly $700 a night"
  • "the CPA allowed Halliburton to rent hotel facilities for medical checkups and other services at a cost of $342,000 per year"
  • "The company also charged $191,000 a year for laundry services"

    Posted by Eric at 07:24 AM | Comments (0)

    June 30, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Middle Class

    From the Senate Democratic Policy Committee:

    State taxes jumped by $14.5 billion in 2002 and 2003, after seven straight years of declines.

    Household debt has climbed $2.3 trillion under George Bush, a one-third increase.

    Household bankruptcy filings have risen by 33 percent since 2000.

    The stock market has dropped, hurting retirement savings. The NASDAQ is down 27 percent since George Bush took office, and the S&P 500 is down 15 percent.

    Posted by Eric at 08:08 PM | Comments (19)

    Hamster Numbers: Middle Class

    From the Senate Democratic Policy Committee:

    State taxes jumped by $14.5 billion in 2002 and 2003, after seven straight years of declines.

    Household debt has climbed $2.3 trillion under George Bush, a one-third increase.

    Household bankruptcy filings have risen by 33 percent since 2000.

    The stock market has dropped, hurting retirement savings. The NASDAQ is down 27 percent since George Bush took office, and the S&P 500 is down 15 percent.

    Posted by Eric at 08:08 PM | Comments (2)

    June 29, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Unemployment Benefits

    From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

  • From late December through the end of June, an estimated 2,065,000 unemployed individuals will have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. About 34,000 of them will have qualified for additional unemployment aid through the federal/state extended benefits program. The remaining 2,031,000 individuals will not qualify for any federal unemployment benefits.

  • The more than two million jobless workers exhausting their regular benefits and going without federal aid from late December through June is higher than the number of such exhaustees in any other period of comparable length on record.
  • Posted by Eric at 01:03 AM | Comments (12)

    Hamster Numbers: Unemployment Benefits

    From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

  • From late December through the end of June, an estimated 2,065,000 unemployed individuals will have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. About 34,000 of them will have qualified for additional unemployment aid through the federal/state extended benefits program. The remaining 2,031,000 individuals will not qualify for any federal unemployment benefits.

  • The more than two million jobless workers exhausting their regular benefits and going without federal aid from late December through June is higher than the number of such exhaustees in any other period of comparable length on record.
  • Posted by Eric at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)

    June 21, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: ANWR

    From CAP:

    The House leadership is attempting to buy votes for drilling in ANWR the centerpiece of the Bush administration's energy plan by linking proceeds to health care costs of retired coal mine workers. This ploy does not change the proposal's fundamental flaws. Drilling in ANWR would likely produce only 3.2 billion barrels of oil, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, not even enough to satisfy six months' demand; oil would not begin to reach the market for another 10 years; and it would take 50 years to extract the full amount. For this pittance, the House leadership and the administration are willing to disturb hundreds of acres of pristine wildlife habitat.

    Posted by Eric at 06:02 AM | Comments (34)

    Hamster Numbers: ANWR

    From CAP:

    The House leadership is attempting to buy votes for drilling in ANWR the centerpiece of the Bush administration's energy plan by linking proceeds to health care costs of retired coal mine workers. This ploy does not change the proposal's fundamental flaws. Drilling in ANWR would likely produce only 3.2 billion barrels of oil, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, not even enough to satisfy six months' demand; oil would not begin to reach the market for another 10 years; and it would take 50 years to extract the full amount. For this pittance, the House leadership and the administration are willing to disturb hundreds of acres of pristine wildlife habitat.

    Posted by Eric at 06:02 AM | Comments (5)

    June 17, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Budget Cuts

    Bush as another Reagan? The conservative AEI:

    Table 1. How Many Departments' and Agencies' Budgets Have They Cut?

    President and Term, Number of Budget Cuts

    Johnson, 4 out 15
    Nixon, 3 out 15
    Carter, 5 out 15
    Reagan 1, 8 out 15
    Reagan 2, 10 out 15
    Bush 41, 2 out 15
    Clinton 1, 9 out 15
    Clinton 2, 0 out 15
    Bush 43, 0 out 15

    Posted by Eric at 07:16 AM | Comments (223)

    Hamster Numbers: Budget Cuts

    Bush as another Reagan? The conservative AEI:

    Table 1. How Many Departments' and Agencies' Budgets Have They Cut?

    President and Term, Number of Budget Cuts

    Johnson, 4 out 15
    Nixon, 3 out 15
    Carter, 5 out 15
    Reagan 1, 8 out 15
    Reagan 2, 10 out 15
    Bush 41, 2 out 15
    Clinton 1, 9 out 15
    Clinton 2, 0 out 15
    Bush 43, 0 out 15

    Posted by Eric at 07:16 AM | Comments (3)

    June 16, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Hooters

  • "Amount that Tom DeLay's political action committee spent at the Washington, D.C., Hooters last November : $117.19" [Federal Election Commission (Washington) ]

    Posted by Eric at 01:31 AM | Comments (1)

    Hamster Numbers: Hooters

  • "Amount that Tom DeLay's political action committee spent at the Washington, D.C., Hooters last November : $117.19" [Federal Election Commission (Washington) ]

    Posted by Eric at 01:31 AM | Comments (0)

    June 11, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Marriage

    Percentage of the 958 same-sex unions granted to Vermont residents since July 2000 that have since been dissolved : 3 [Vermont Department of Health (Burlington) ]

    Percentage of U.S. heterosexual marriages that are dissolved within five years : 20 [National Center for Health Statistics (Hyattsville, Md.) ]

    --Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 05:36 PM | Comments (31)

    Hamster Numbers: Marriage

    Percentage of the 958 same-sex unions granted to Vermont residents since July 2000 that have since been dissolved : 3 [Vermont Department of Health (Burlington) ]

    Percentage of U.S. heterosexual marriages that are dissolved within five years : 20 [National Center for Health Statistics (Hyattsville, Md.) ]

    --Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 05:36 PM | Comments (7)

    June 09, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Rockefeller Drug Laws

    From the Drug Policy Alliance:

    For example, the Rockefeller Drug Laws mandate a penalty of 15 years to life in prison for possession of four ounces or sale of two ounces of certain controlled substances. This is in many cases greater than the sentence for people convicted of rape, murder, arson, or kidnapping.

    As a result, drug felons now comprise 38% of the prison population. 45% of women in prison in 2002 were sentenced for drug crimes. And while African Americans and Latinos comprise just 23% of New York's population, they make up a staggering 93% of those currently incarcerated for drug felonies, even though drug selling and use are reportedly almost proportionate between races.

    Posted by Eric at 07:08 AM | Comments (17)

    Hamster Numbers: Rockefeller Drug Laws

    From the Drug Policy Alliance:

    For example, the Rockefeller Drug Laws mandate a penalty of 15 years to life in prison for possession of four ounces or sale of two ounces of certain controlled substances. This is in many cases greater than the sentence for people convicted of rape, murder, arson, or kidnapping.

    As a result, drug felons now comprise 38% of the prison population. 45% of women in prison in 2002 were sentenced for drug crimes. And while African Americans and Latinos comprise just 23% of New York's population, they make up a staggering 93% of those currently incarcerated for drug felonies, even though drug selling and use are reportedly almost proportionate between races.

    Posted by Eric at 07:08 AM | Comments (2)

    June 08, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Money and Marriage

    Quoted from the Drum Major Institue:

    Amount requested by the President for a healthy marriages initiative to help couples develop problem-solving, negotiation and listening skills: $1.5 billion

    Percentage of American households that argue about money related topics on a regular basis: 95 percent

    Number of U.S. private sector workers who have lost their job since March 2001: 2.3 million

    Posted by Eric at 08:20 AM | Comments (14)

    Hamster Numbers: Money and Marriage

    Quoted from the Drum Major Institue:

    Amount requested by the President for a healthy marriages initiative to help couples develop problem-solving, negotiation and listening skills: $1.5 billion

    Percentage of American households that argue about money related topics on a regular basis: 95 percent

    Number of U.S. private sector workers who have lost their job since March 2001: 2.3 million

    Posted by Eric at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

    June 02, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Nation's Veterans Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago?

    Not really, finds the Senate Democratic Policy Committee:

  • Claims Backlog. As of May 10, 2004, nearly 475,000 claims were pending before the VA, including 90,839 that had been waiting for over 180 days. During the same week in 2000, there were 142,712 fewer claims pending, or almost 30 percent less than the current backlog. In 2000, only 78,690 had been pending for more than 180 days.
  • Inadequate Health Care Funding. President Bush's Fiscal Year 2005 budget request provides only a 1.9 percent funding increase, far less than the pace of inflation. His budget falls over $4.1 billion short of the need identified by the Independent Budget created by leading nonpartisan veterans' groups. VA Secretary Principi himself testified that the Administration's request was inadequate.
  • Driving Veterans Away, Part I. President Bush's January 2003 decision to bar new Priority 8 veterans from enrolling in the VA health care system has prevented an estimated 200,000 veterans from receiving health care. These veterans could have an annual income as low as $25,000
  • Driving Veterans Away, Part II. Policies proposed by President Bush's Fiscal Year 2005 budget request would drive an estimated ten percent of all VA enrollees-800,000 veterans-away from the VA health care system.
  • Increased Out-of-Pocket Expenses. Over the course of his term, President Bush has proposed a number of increases in copayments, enrollment fees, and other out-of-pocket expenses paid by veterans. Out-of-pocket payments have already risen 340 percent, or a total of $561 million, during President Bush's term, and his Fiscal Year 2005 budget proposes another $543 million hike.
  • Posted by Eric at 05:20 PM | Comments (5)

    Hamster Numbers: Nation's Veterans Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago?

    Not really, finds the Senate Democratic Policy Committee:

  • Claims Backlog. As of May 10, 2004, nearly 475,000 claims were pending before the VA, including 90,839 that had been waiting for over 180 days. During the same week in 2000, there were 142,712 fewer claims pending, or almost 30 percent less than the current backlog. In 2000, only 78,690 had been pending for more than 180 days.
  • Inadequate Health Care Funding. President Bush's Fiscal Year 2005 budget request provides only a 1.9 percent funding increase, far less than the pace of inflation. His budget falls over $4.1 billion short of the need identified by the Independent Budget created by leading nonpartisan veterans' groups. VA Secretary Principi himself testified that the Administration's request was inadequate.
  • Driving Veterans Away, Part I. President Bush's January 2003 decision to bar new Priority 8 veterans from enrolling in the VA health care system has prevented an estimated 200,000 veterans from receiving health care. These veterans could have an annual income as low as $25,000
  • Driving Veterans Away, Part II. Policies proposed by President Bush's Fiscal Year 2005 budget request would drive an estimated ten percent of all VA enrollees-800,000 veterans-away from the VA health care system.
  • Increased Out-of-Pocket Expenses. Over the course of his term, President Bush has proposed a number of increases in copayments, enrollment fees, and other out-of-pocket expenses paid by veterans. Out-of-pocket payments have already risen 340 percent, or a total of $561 million, during President Bush's term, and his Fiscal Year 2005 budget proposes another $543 million hike.
  • Posted by Eric at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

    May 28, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Children's Health

    From Misleader.org:

    During today's first event, the President is expected to praise children's hospitals. However, his budget this year proposes to freeze funding for grants to these hospitals, preventing their federal grants from keeping pace with inflation. He also proposes a $94 million cut to the Community Access Program - effectively eliminating another program that provides grants to children's hospitals in need. And he is trying to slash $158 million (68%) from training grants for specialties that include pediatrics. These efforts are consistent with his past policies: last year, the President proposed cutting $86 million (30%) from grants to children's hospitals. And in 2002, he proposed to cut $35 million (14%) from grants for children's hospitals to train pediatricians.

    Posted by Eric at 07:33 AM | Comments (12)

    Hamster Numbers: Children's Health

    From Misleader.org:

    During today's first event, the President is expected to praise children's hospitals. However, his budget this year proposes to freeze funding for grants to these hospitals, preventing their federal grants from keeping pace with inflation. He also proposes a $94 million cut to the Community Access Program - effectively eliminating another program that provides grants to children's hospitals in need. And he is trying to slash $158 million (68%) from training grants for specialties that include pediatrics. These efforts are consistent with his past policies: last year, the President proposed cutting $86 million (30%) from grants to children's hospitals. And in 2002, he proposed to cut $35 million (14%) from grants for children's hospitals to train pediatricians.

    Posted by Eric at 07:33 AM | Comments (3)

    May 26, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Murder and the Death Penalty

    Quoted from the Western Prison Project:

  • Number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters in 1999: 15,530
  • Number of persons sentenced to death in 1999: 282
  • Number of executions, 1999: 98
  • Number of people removed in 1999 from death row by dismissal of indictment, reversal of judgment, commutation, re-sentencing, order of new trial or death: 122
  • Ratio of death sentences to murders, 1999: 1 to 55
  • Ratio of executions to murders, 1999: 1 to 158
  • Posted by Eric at 01:36 AM | Comments (29)

    Hamster Numbers: Murder and the Death Penalty

    Quoted from the Western Prison Project:

  • Number of murders and non-negligent manslaughters in 1999: 15,530
  • Number of persons sentenced to death in 1999: 282
  • Number of executions, 1999: 98
  • Number of people removed in 1999 from death row by dismissal of indictment, reversal of judgment, commutation, re-sentencing, order of new trial or death: 122
  • Ratio of death sentences to murders, 1999: 1 to 55
  • Ratio of executions to murders, 1999: 1 to 158
  • Posted by Eric at 01:36 AM | Comments (3)

    May 25, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: College Money

    Quoted from the Drum Major Institute

    Number of working-class American parents who do not, or cannot, save for their children's college education: 4 in 10

    Ratio of the amount of a four-year public university education the maximum Pell Grant could pay for in 1976 to 2004: 2:1

    Cost of annual tuition at Yale University, President George W. Bush's alma mater and university attended by his daughter Barbara: $37,000

    Average annual income for a full-time American worker: $32,500

    Number of associate's degrees awarded to American college students every year: 600,000

    Number of U.S. information technology (IT), back office, customer service and sales jobs expected to move "offshore" by 2005: 600,000

    Posted by Eric at 12:01 AM | Comments (9)

    Hamster Numbers: College Money

    Quoted from the Drum Major Institute

    Number of working-class American parents who do not, or cannot, save for their children's college education: 4 in 10

    Ratio of the amount of a four-year public university education the maximum Pell Grant could pay for in 1976 to 2004: 2:1

    Cost of annual tuition at Yale University, President George W. Bush's alma mater and university attended by his daughter Barbara: $37,000

    Average annual income for a full-time American worker: $32,500

    Number of associate's degrees awarded to American college students every year: 600,000

    Number of U.S. information technology (IT), back office, customer service and sales jobs expected to move "offshore" by 2005: 600,000

    Posted by Eric at 12:01 AM | Comments (3)

    May 24, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Single Moms Losing Ground Under Bush

    From the Economic Policy Insititute and MovingIdeas.org, we find that:

  • Over the 2000-2002 period, as the low-wage labor market weakened, the annual work hours of single moms fell by 2.1% per year
  • Though their incomes fell only slightlyless, in fact, than the income of the median family, which fell 1.2% per yearthese vulnerable families already have difficulty making ends meet given their low income levels.
  • Posted by Eric at 10:26 PM | Comments (11)

    Hamster Numbers: Single Moms Losing Ground Under Bush

    From the Economic Policy Insititute and MovingIdeas.org, we find that:

  • Over the 2000-2002 period, as the low-wage labor market weakened, the annual work hours of single moms fell by 2.1% per year
  • Though their incomes fell only slightlyless, in fact, than the income of the median family, which fell 1.2% per yearthese vulnerable families already have difficulty making ends meet given their low income levels.
  • Posted by Eric at 10:26 PM | Comments (1)

    May 22, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Dollars & Death Penalty

    From the Western Prision Project:

    Estimated cost of a death penalty trial, in dollars: $2 million
    Number of times a capital trial is more expensive than a non-capital trial, in California: 6
    Amount that California could save per year by abolishing capital punishment: $90 million
    Cost in New Jersey in 1991 to impose the death penalty: $16 million
    Number of police laid off in New Jersey in 1992 due to lack of funds to pay them: 500
    Ratio of spending in Jasper County, Mississippi on one capital trial in 1995 to its spending on libraries: 5 to 1

    Posted by Eric at 03:43 PM | Comments (6)

    Hamster Numbers: Dollars & Death Penalty

    From the Western Prision Project:

    Estimated cost of a death penalty trial, in dollars: $2 million
    Number of times a capital trial is more expensive than a non-capital trial, in California: 6
    Amount that California could save per year by abolishing capital punishment: $90 million
    Cost in New Jersey in 1991 to impose the death penalty: $16 million
    Number of police laid off in New Jersey in 1992 due to lack of funds to pay them: 500
    Ratio of spending in Jasper County, Mississippi on one capital trial in 1995 to its spending on libraries: 5 to 1

    Posted by Eric at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

    May 21, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Crack/Cocaine Disparity

    From the Drug Policy Alliance:

    Pharmacologically the same drug, crack and powder cocaine are treated very differently within the walls of our justice system. Current policy generates a 100 to 1 penalty ratio for crack-related offenses. For instance, possession of only 5 grams of crack-cocaine yields a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence, however it takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to prompt the same sentence. Moreover, crack-cocaine is the only drug for which the first offense of simple possession can trigger a federal mandatory minimum sentence. Yet "simple possession of any quantity of any other substance by a first time offender - including powder cocaine - is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum of one year in prison." (21 U.S.C. 844) i

    Posted by Eric at 10:28 AM | Comments (17)

    Hamster Numbers: Crack/Cocaine Disparity

    From the Drug Policy Alliance:

    Pharmacologically the same drug, crack and powder cocaine are treated very differently within the walls of our justice system. Current policy generates a 100 to 1 penalty ratio for crack-related offenses. For instance, possession of only 5 grams of crack-cocaine yields a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence, however it takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to prompt the same sentence. Moreover, crack-cocaine is the only drug for which the first offense of simple possession can trigger a federal mandatory minimum sentence. Yet "simple possession of any quantity of any other substance by a first time offender - including powder cocaine - is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum of one year in prison." (21 U.S.C. 844) i

    Posted by Eric at 10:28 AM | Comments (3)

    May 19, 2004

    Death Penalty and Innocence

    From Western Prison Project:

  • Since 1973, number of people who have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence: 103
  • Number of persons executed in Florida since 1977: 51
  • Number of persons released from Florida death row with evidence of innocence, since 1973: 22
  • Number of persons on death row in Illinois on December 31, 2001: 158
  • Number of persons executed in Illinois since 1977: 12
  • Number of persons released from Illinois death row with evidence of innocence, since 1973: 13
  • Number of death row prisoners freed by Illinois Governor Ryan on January 10, 2003: 4
  • Percent of Illinois death row prisoners whose death sentences were commuted to life or shorter sentences on January 11, 2003 by Governor Ryan after he reviewed each case and found "questions about the fairness of the death penalty system as a whole" : 100%

    Posted by Eric at 03:46 AM | Comments (22)

    Death Penalty and Innocence

    From Western Prison Project:

  • Since 1973, number of people who have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence: 103
  • Number of persons executed in Florida since 1977: 51
  • Number of persons released from Florida death row with evidence of innocence, since 1973: 22
  • Number of persons on death row in Illinois on December 31, 2001: 158
  • Number of persons executed in Illinois since 1977: 12
  • Number of persons released from Illinois death row with evidence of innocence, since 1973: 13
  • Number of death row prisoners freed by Illinois Governor Ryan on January 10, 2003: 4
  • Percent of Illinois death row prisoners whose death sentences were commuted to life or shorter sentences on January 11, 2003 by Governor Ryan after he reviewed each case and found "questions about the fairness of the death penalty system as a whole" : 100%

    Posted by Eric at 03:46 AM | Comments (9)

    May 17, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Uninsured

    From covertheuninsuredweek.org:

  • "Recent Census Bureau data demonstrate that the problem of the uninsured has grown worse in 2002. According to figures released in September 2003, almost 44 million people15.2 percent of the total U.S. populationwere uninsured in 2002, up from 14.6 percent in the previous year. This was the largest singleyear increase in both the number and rate of uninsured people in a decade."

  • "The percentage of the non-elderly population that is uninsured has climbed steadily from 13.7 percent in 1987 to 17.3 percent in 2002 (with a slight dip of no more than one percentage point around the turn of the century)."

    Posted by Eric at 06:26 PM | Comments (25)

    Hamster Numbers: Uninsured

    From covertheuninsuredweek.org:

  • "Recent Census Bureau data demonstrate that the problem of the uninsured has grown worse in 2002. According to figures released in September 2003, almost 44 million people15.2 percent of the total U.S. populationwere uninsured in 2002, up from 14.6 percent in the previous year. This was the largest singleyear increase in both the number and rate of uninsured people in a decade."

  • "The percentage of the non-elderly population that is uninsured has climbed steadily from 13.7 percent in 1987 to 17.3 percent in 2002 (with a slight dip of no more than one percentage point around the turn of the century)."

    Posted by Eric at 06:26 PM | Comments (4)

    May 14, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Drug Laws

    From the Western Prison Project:

    Number of antitrust cases filed in U.S. District Courts, 1975: 1,467
    Number of antitrust cases filed in U.S. District Courts, 2000: 901
    Number of sentences given for drug law violations in federal court in 1975: 4,887
    Number of sentences given for drug law violations in federal court in 2000: 23,120
    Number of years of imprisonment given to federal drug offenders convicted in 1999: 152,528

    Posted by Eric at 03:53 AM | Comments (38)

    Hamster Numbers: Drug Laws

    From the Western Prison Project:

    Number of antitrust cases filed in U.S. District Courts, 1975: 1,467
    Number of antitrust cases filed in U.S. District Courts, 2000: 901
    Number of sentences given for drug law violations in federal court in 1975: 4,887
    Number of sentences given for drug law violations in federal court in 2000: 23,120
    Number of years of imprisonment given to federal drug offenders convicted in 1999: 152,528

    Posted by Eric at 03:53 AM | Comments (0)

    May 13, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Tax Cuts

    From Harpers:

    Average amount a Bush Cabinet member will save this year due to cuts in capital-gains and dividend taxes : $42,000 [The Independent (London) ]

    Median U.S. household income in 2002 : $42,409 [U.S. Census Bureau (Washington) ]

    Posted by Eric at 04:13 PM | Comments (17)

    Hamster Numbers: Tax Cuts

    From Harpers:

    Average amount a Bush Cabinet member will save this year due to cuts in capital-gains and dividend taxes : $42,000 [The Independent (London) ]

    Median U.S. household income in 2002 : $42,409 [U.S. Census Bureau (Washington) ]

    Posted by Eric at 04:13 PM | Comments (5)

    May 09, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Victims of crime: Who is at greatest risk?

    From the Western Prison Project:

    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income under $7,500: 67.0
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $7,500-$14,999: 44.2
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $15,000-$24,999: 38.9
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $25,000-$34,999: 37.1
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $35,000-$49,999: 30.9
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $50,000-$74,999: 24.1
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income of $75,000 or more: 23.1

    Posted by Eric at 04:35 AM | Comments (2)

    Hamster Numbers: Victims of crime: Who is at greatest risk?

    From the Western Prison Project:

    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income under $7,500: 67.0
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $7,500-$14,999: 44.2
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $15,000-$24,999: 38.9
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $25,000-$34,999: 37.1
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $35,000-$49,999: 30.9
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income between $50,000-$74,999: 24.1
    Number of burglaries per 1,000 households with an income of $75,000 or more: 23.1

    Posted by Eric at 04:35 AM | Comments (0)

    May 07, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Reporters

    From Harpers:

    Number of articles in major U.S. newspapers that have called any White House statement on Iraq a lie : 0 [Harper's research ]

    Number of the five tax-cut questions asked the president on Meet the Press last winter that concerned the cuts' inequity : 0 [Meet the Press transcript, 2/8/04 ]

    Posted by Eric at 05:35 AM | Comments (2)

    Hamster Numbers: Reporters

    From Harpers:

    Number of articles in major U.S. newspapers that have called any White House statement on Iraq a lie : 0 [Harper's research ]

    Number of the five tax-cut questions asked the president on Meet the Press last winter that concerned the cuts' inequity : 0 [Meet the Press transcript, 2/8/04 ]

    Posted by Eric at 05:35 AM | Comments (0)

    May 06, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Minimum Wage

    From the EPI:

    Congress has not increased the minimum wage in more than six years. The last increase raised the minimum wage from $4.25 to $4.75 on October 1, 1996 and to $5.15 on September 1, 1997. Since 1997, inflation and government inaction have eaten away 90% of the value of that increase, returning the minimum wage to a historically low level in terms of purchasing power. The minimum wage has also lost significant ground compared to average hourly earnings in private employment. In the first quarter of 2004, the $5.15 minimum wage was only 33.2% of average hourly earnings ($15.52)the lowest it has been in more than 50 years.

    Posted by Eric at 02:03 AM | Comments (16)

    Hamster Numbers: Minimum Wage

    From the EPI:

    Congress has not increased the minimum wage in more than six years. The last increase raised the minimum wage from $4.25 to $4.75 on October 1, 1996 and to $5.15 on September 1, 1997. Since 1997, inflation and government inaction have eaten away 90% of the value of that increase, returning the minimum wage to a historically low level in terms of purchasing power. The minimum wage has also lost significant ground compared to average hourly earnings in private employment. In the first quarter of 2004, the $5.15 minimum wage was only 33.2% of average hourly earnings ($15.52)the lowest it has been in more than 50 years.

    Posted by Eric at 02:03 AM | Comments (9)

    May 03, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Halliburton Profits

    From the Center for American Progress:

    The prison camps in Guantanamo cost the military about $118 million a year to operate. A new facility, Camp 5, will open this week, expanding the prison's capacity to 1,100. Halliburton subsidiary KBR has been awarded $110 million worth of work "to build prison cells and other facilities." The expansion is curious in light of the fact that Paul Butler said the United States is interested in transferring at least half of the 600 remaining detainees to the custody of their home countries.

    Posted by Eric at 02:30 PM | Comments (47)

    Hamster Numbers: Halliburton Profits

    From the Center for American Progress:

    The prison camps in Guantanamo cost the military about $118 million a year to operate. A new facility, Camp 5, will open this week, expanding the prison's capacity to 1,100. Halliburton subsidiary KBR has been awarded $110 million worth of work "to build prison cells and other facilities." The expansion is curious in light of the fact that Paul Butler said the United States is interested in transferring at least half of the 600 remaining detainees to the custody of their home countries.

    Posted by Eric at 02:30 PM | Comments (2)

    May 02, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: College Tuition

    From the Center for American Progress:

    The Congressional Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (ACSFA) estimates that over the next decade more than 4 million college-qualified high school graduates will not attend a four-year college and 2 million of those graduates will attend no college at all due to financial barriers. Recent trends in college costs and the failure of student aid to keep pace create obstacles for poor and middle class families. Tuition and fees at colleges have risen by as much as 40 percent in some states, while the 2002-03 maximum Pell Grant or federal scholarship was worth $500 less than the maximum Pell Grant in 1975-76 when adjusted for inflation. Despite growing debt levels (an average of $17,000 per undergraduate), many students can not make ends meet. According to a report by ACSFA, after taking into account family contributions, student loans, grants and work, the average low-income student needs $3,800 more to meet college costs and the average middle-income student needs $2,250 more.

    Posted by Eric at 05:50 AM | Comments (23)

    Hamster Numbers: College Tuition

    From the Center for American Progress:

    The Congressional Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (ACSFA) estimates that over the next decade more than 4 million college-qualified high school graduates will not attend a four-year college and 2 million of those graduates will attend no college at all due to financial barriers. Recent trends in college costs and the failure of student aid to keep pace create obstacles for poor and middle class families. Tuition and fees at colleges have risen by as much as 40 percent in some states, while the 2002-03 maximum Pell Grant or federal scholarship was worth $500 less than the maximum Pell Grant in 1975-76 when adjusted for inflation. Despite growing debt levels (an average of $17,000 per undergraduate), many students can not make ends meet. According to a report by ACSFA, after taking into account family contributions, student loans, grants and work, the average low-income student needs $3,800 more to meet college costs and the average middle-income student needs $2,250 more.

    Posted by Eric at 05:50 AM | Comments (5)

    April 30, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Texas v. Vermont

    Rank of Texas among states in which the largest percentage of citizens lack health insurance : 1 [U.S. Census Bureau (Washington) ]

    Rank of Vermont : 42 [U.S. Census Bureau (Washington) ]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 12:53 AM | Comments (10)

    Hamster Numbers: Texas v. Vermont

    Rank of Texas among states in which the largest percentage of citizens lack health insurance : 1 [U.S. Census Bureau (Washington) ]

    Rank of Vermont : 42 [U.S. Census Bureau (Washington) ]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 12:53 AM | Comments (0)

    April 28, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Inmates

    "About 70 percent of the prison inmates in the United States are illiterate. Perhaps 200,000 of the country's inmates suffer from a serious mental illness. A generation ago such people were handled primarily by the mental-health, not the criminal-justice, system. Sixty to 80 percent of the American inmate population has a history of substance abuse. Meanwhile, the number of drug-treatment slots in American prisons has declined by more than half since 1993." Eric Schlosser

    Posted by Eric at 08:53 AM | Comments (21)

    Hamster Numbers: Inmates

    "About 70 percent of the prison inmates in the United States are illiterate. Perhaps 200,000 of the country's inmates suffer from a serious mental illness. A generation ago such people were handled primarily by the mental-health, not the criminal-justice, system. Sixty to 80 percent of the American inmate population has a history of substance abuse. Meanwhile, the number of drug-treatment slots in American prisons has declined by more than half since 1993." Eric Schlosser

    Posted by Eric at 08:53 AM | Comments (2)

    April 26, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Tax Cuts

    From MovingIdeas and CBPP:

  • The Bush tax cuts have contributed to revenues dropping in 2004 to the lowest level as a share of the economy since 1950.
  • The cost of the tax cuts account for more than half of the 2004 deficit, which CBO estimates to be $477 billion or 4.2 percent of GDP. Based on these estimates, the deficit would have been 1.6 percent of GDP without the tax cuts.
  • Posted by Eric at 12:44 AM | Comments (12)

    Hamster Numbers: Tax Cuts

    From MovingIdeas and CBPP:

  • The Bush tax cuts have contributed to revenues dropping in 2004 to the lowest level as a share of the economy since 1950.
  • The cost of the tax cuts account for more than half of the 2004 deficit, which CBO estimates to be $477 billion or 4.2 percent of GDP. Based on these estimates, the deficit would have been 1.6 percent of GDP without the tax cuts.
  • Posted by Eric at 12:44 AM | Comments (7)

    April 20, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Environment

    From John Kerry research:

    Instead of protecting public health, George Bush rolled back and undermined our most important safeguard from industrial air pollution, the Clean Air Act. Breaking a campaign promise to clean up the oldest, dirtiest coal-fired power plants, the Bush Administration has fought to weaken protections that would require the use of modern pollution control technology and has undercut pending lawsuits against polluters. George Bush's so-called "Clear Skies" proposal, will result in over 21 million tons more pollution than if he simply enforced the Clean Air Act. Compared to an alternate EPA plan, rejected by the White House, the Bush plan will result in over 100,000 more premature deaths and millions of added cases of asthma and other serious illnesses.

    Posted by Eric at 11:08 PM | Comments (32)

    Hamster Numbers: Environment

    From John Kerry research:

    Instead of protecting public health, George Bush rolled back and undermined our most important safeguard from industrial air pollution, the Clean Air Act. Breaking a campaign promise to clean up the oldest, dirtiest coal-fired power plants, the Bush Administration has fought to weaken protections that would require the use of modern pollution control technology and has undercut pending lawsuits against polluters. George Bush's so-called "Clear Skies" proposal, will result in over 21 million tons more pollution than if he simply enforced the Clean Air Act. Compared to an alternate EPA plan, rejected by the White House, the Bush plan will result in over 100,000 more premature deaths and millions of added cases of asthma and other serious illnesses.

    Posted by Eric at 11:08 PM | Comments (7)

    April 19, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Florida Environment

    From NRDC:

    In 2003, a total of 58,840,020 gallons of sewage spilled into Florida waters. Sewage containing bacteria, viruses, fecal matter and a host of other wastes has repeatedly closed beaches, killed fish and shut down shellfish beds. Florida beach closings and advisories in 2002 more than doubled to 1,745 from 686 in 2001. Meanwhile, the Bush administration is changing policy so cities and towns can skip a required treatment procedure for partially treated sewage they pump into rivers, lakes and coastal waters during high rains. Contact with sewage-infested water can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, with exposure posing the greatest risk for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

    Posted by Eric at 06:33 PM | Comments (14)

    Hamster Numbers: Florida Environment

    From NRDC:

    In 2003, a total of 58,840,020 gallons of sewage spilled into Florida waters. Sewage containing bacteria, viruses, fecal matter and a host of other wastes has repeatedly closed beaches, killed fish and shut down shellfish beds. Florida beach closings and advisories in 2002 more than doubled to 1,745 from 686 in 2001. Meanwhile, the Bush administration is changing policy so cities and towns can skip a required treatment procedure for partially treated sewage they pump into rivers, lakes and coastal waters during high rains. Contact with sewage-infested water can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, with exposure posing the greatest risk for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

    Posted by Eric at 06:33 PM | Comments (11)

    April 16, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Top Taxes

    From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

    The Treasury analysis shows that the one percent of taxpayers with the highest incomes paid 33.9 percent of federal individual income taxes in 2001. However, a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office shows that this group pays a substantially smaller proportion 22.7 percent of federal taxes overall, including payroll, excise, and other taxes.[2] The progressivity of the tax system is further muted if state and local taxes are taken into account; most state and local tax systems are regressive ... As a result of the three major tax cut bills enacted since 2001, the top one percent of taxpayers will receive average tax cuts of nearly $35,000 in 2004, according to new data from the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, or 54 times the average tax cut that the middle fifth of taxpayers will receive. The highest-income taxpayers also will experience a much greater percentage increase in after-tax income as a result of the tax cuts than other taxpayers will. Finally, the Tax Policy Center data show that those at the top of the income scale will be paying a smaller share of all federal taxes when the tax cuts are fully in effect.

    Posted by Eric at 08:20 AM | Comments (31)

    Hamster Numbers: Top Taxes

    From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

    The Treasury analysis shows that the one percent of taxpayers with the highest incomes paid 33.9 percent of federal individual income taxes in 2001. However, a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office shows that this group pays a substantially smaller proportion 22.7 percent of federal taxes overall, including payroll, excise, and other taxes.[2] The progressivity of the tax system is further muted if state and local taxes are taken into account; most state and local tax systems are regressive ... As a result of the three major tax cut bills enacted since 2001, the top one percent of taxpayers will receive average tax cuts of nearly $35,000 in 2004, according to new data from the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, or 54 times the average tax cut that the middle fifth of taxpayers will receive. The highest-income taxpayers also will experience a much greater percentage increase in after-tax income as a result of the tax cuts than other taxpayers will. Finally, the Tax Policy Center data show that those at the top of the income scale will be paying a smaller share of all federal taxes when the tax cuts are fully in effect.

    Posted by Eric at 08:20 AM | Comments (4)

    April 15, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: community water systems

    In June 2003, the EPA released a "Draft Report on the Environment," which stated, "94% of the population served by community water systems were served by systems that met all health-based standards." Internal agency documents, however, show that EPA audits for at least five years have suggested that the percentage of the population with safe drinking water is much lower - 79 to 84% in 2002 - which means that an additional 30 million Americans are at potential risk. The EPA Inspector General is currently investigating whether the agency deliberately misled the public by overstating the purity of the nation's drinking water. -Environment 2004.

    Posted by Eric at 09:43 AM | Comments (21)

    Hamster Numbers: community water systems

    In June 2003, the EPA released a "Draft Report on the Environment," which stated, "94% of the population served by community water systems were served by systems that met all health-based standards." Internal agency documents, however, show that EPA audits for at least five years have suggested that the percentage of the population with safe drinking water is much lower - 79 to 84% in 2002 - which means that an additional 30 million Americans are at potential risk. The EPA Inspector General is currently investigating whether the agency deliberately misled the public by overstating the purity of the nation's drinking water. -Environment 2004.

    Posted by Eric at 09:43 AM | Comments (2)

    April 14, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: AIDs in China

    Chance that a resident of China has never heard of AIDS : 1 in 5 [Futures Group International (Washington) ]

    Estimated number of doctors in China with experience in treating HIV/AIDS : 100 [amfAR (N.Y.C.) ]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 11:19 PM | Comments (19)

    Hamster Numbers: AIDs in China

    Chance that a resident of China has never heard of AIDS : 1 in 5 [Futures Group International (Washington) ]

    Estimated number of doctors in China with experience in treating HIV/AIDS : 100 [amfAR (N.Y.C.) ]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 11:19 PM | Comments (3)

    April 13, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Health Care

    America Coming Together:

    Almost 44 million Americans are uninsured. The uninsured in America represent people across the spectrum, including:
  • 8.5 million American children. This represents 11.6 percent of American children.
  • One out of every five African-Americans. 7.4 million African-Americans are uninsured.
  • 28.4 million people making under $50,000. This represents 21.2 percent of Americans making under $50,000.
  • 2.2 million Asian-Americans. This represents 18 percent of Asian-Americans.
  • Almost one-third of all Hispanics. 12.8 million Hispanics are uninsured.
    (Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2002, U.S. Census Bureau Report, Sept. 2003; Census Finds Many More Lack Health Insurance, Washington Post, September 30, 2003; 43 Million Lack Insurance, Miami Herald, September 30, 2002.)
  • Posted by Eric at 02:25 PM | Comments (16)

    Hamster Numbers: Health Care

    America Coming Together:

    Almost 44 million Americans are uninsured. The uninsured in America represent people across the spectrum, including:
  • 8.5 million American children. This represents 11.6 percent of American children.
  • One out of every five African-Americans. 7.4 million African-Americans are uninsured.
  • 28.4 million people making under $50,000. This represents 21.2 percent of Americans making under $50,000.
  • 2.2 million Asian-Americans. This represents 18 percent of Asian-Americans.
  • Almost one-third of all Hispanics. 12.8 million Hispanics are uninsured.
    (Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2002, U.S. Census Bureau Report, Sept. 2003; Census Finds Many More Lack Health Insurance, Washington Post, September 30, 2003; 43 Million Lack Insurance, Miami Herald, September 30, 2002.)
  • Posted by Eric at 02:25 PM | Comments (6)

    April 12, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Death Penalty

    ACLU:

    While white victims account for approximately one-half of all murder victims, 81% of all Capital cases involve white victims. Furthermore, as of October 2002, 12 people have been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black, compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims.

    In January 2003, researchers at the University of Maryland concluded in a study commissioned by the Maryland Governor that defendants are much more likely to be sentenced to death if they have killed a white person ... In April 2001, researchers from the University of North Carolina released a study of all homicide cases in North Carolina between 1993 and 1997. The study found that the odds of getting a death sentence increased three and a half times if the victim was white rather than black.

    Posted by Eric at 09:01 AM | Comments (23)

    Hamster Numbers: Death Penalty

    ACLU:

    While white victims account for approximately one-half of all murder victims, 81% of all Capital cases involve white victims. Furthermore, as of October 2002, 12 people have been executed where the defendant was white and the murder victim black, compared with 178 black defendants executed for murders with white victims.

    In January 2003, researchers at the University of Maryland concluded in a study commissioned by the Maryland Governor that defendants are much more likely to be sentenced to death if they have killed a white person ... In April 2001, researchers from the University of North Carolina released a study of all homicide cases in North Carolina between 1993 and 1997. The study found that the odds of getting a death sentence increased three and a half times if the victim was white rather than black.

    Posted by Eric at 09:01 AM | Comments (3)

    April 10, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Mercury

    "Power plants are the largest uncontrolled source of mercury, a neurological toxin that threatens the health of fetuses, children and other vulnerable populations. Twelve percent of women of childbearing age in the United States have levels of mercury in their bodies that exceed the level EPA considers safe. Prenatal exposure to methyl mercury can cause adverse developmental and cognitive effects in children, even at low doses that do not result in effects in the mother. Mercury may also affect cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems. In 2001 the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory to pregnant women, women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, nursing mothers and children on the hazard of consuming certain kinds of fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish due to mercury contamination. Health Canada, the country's federal health agency, included tuna in a similar advisory. Local fish are also a risk. In 2001, 44 states had advisories in effect for mercury in non-commercial fish and 17 states had statewide advisories in effect. Another 9 states have statewide advisories for mercury in their coastal waters." -Environment 2004.

    Posted by Eric at 10:10 AM | Comments (46)

    Hamster Numbers: Mercury

    "Power plants are the largest uncontrolled source of mercury, a neurological toxin that threatens the health of fetuses, children and other vulnerable populations. Twelve percent of women of childbearing age in the United States have levels of mercury in their bodies that exceed the level EPA considers safe. Prenatal exposure to methyl mercury can cause adverse developmental and cognitive effects in children, even at low doses that do not result in effects in the mother. Mercury may also affect cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems. In 2001 the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory to pregnant women, women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, nursing mothers and children on the hazard of consuming certain kinds of fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish due to mercury contamination. Health Canada, the country's federal health agency, included tuna in a similar advisory. Local fish are also a risk. In 2001, 44 states had advisories in effect for mercury in non-commercial fish and 17 states had statewide advisories in effect. Another 9 states have statewide advisories for mercury in their coastal waters." -Environment 2004.

    Posted by Eric at 10:10 AM | Comments (6)

    April 09, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Trade Deficit

    Economic Policy Institute and Moving Ideas:

    Effect Of Rising Trade Deficit Shouldn't Be Ignored

  • Domestic output is now just 76.5% of domestic demand, nearly 14% less than the 1987 to 1997 average.
  • The rising trade deficit in manufactured goods accounts for about 58% of the decline in manufacturing employment between 1998 and 2003 and 34% of the decline from 2000 to 2003.
  • Approximately 1.78 million jobs since 1998 and 935,000 jobs since 2000 that have been lost due to rising net manufactured imports.
  • Posted by Eric at 06:53 AM | Comments (48)

    Hamster Numbers: Trade Deficit

    Economic Policy Institute and Moving Ideas:

    Effect Of Rising Trade Deficit Shouldn't Be Ignored

  • Domestic output is now just 76.5% of domestic demand, nearly 14% less than the 1987 to 1997 average.
  • The rising trade deficit in manufactured goods accounts for about 58% of the decline in manufacturing employment between 1998 and 2003 and 34% of the decline from 2000 to 2003.
  • Approximately 1.78 million jobs since 1998 and 935,000 jobs since 2000 that have been lost due to rising net manufactured imports.
  • Posted by Eric at 06:53 AM | Comments (6)

    April 07, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: EPA Cleanups

    Environment 2004:

    Prior to announcing its 2005 budget, the Bush Administration engaged in an a highly publicized series of announcements of funding increases for environmental projects in Oregon, the Great Lakes region, and, of course, Florida. What do these places have in common? Theyre all swing states that were close in the 2000 election, and probably will be again in 2004.

    But these press conferences were design to cover up President Bushs overall budget for environmental protection. In the 2005 budget, Bush cut the EPAs budget by over $600 million, including a 30% cut to waste treatment programs and other clean water activities. EPAs Inspector General found that a $174.9 million shortfall prevented EPA from beginning cleanups at 11 Superfund sites and slowed the cleanup of at least 29 other contaminated sites in 17 states during fiscal year 2003. The Bush administration has cut the pace of Superfund cleanup in half as compared to the previous administration, with the EPA completing just 40 Superfund cleanups last year. To summarize: Bush slashes environmental protection nationally while funding specific programs in swing states. As Phil Clapp of the National Environmental Trust said, God help you if youre waiting for EPA to clean up a toxic waste site outside of a swing state.

    Posted by Eric at 01:01 AM | Comments (13)

    Hamster Numbers: EPA Cleanups

    Environment 2004:

    Prior to announcing its 2005 budget, the Bush Administration engaged in an a highly publicized series of announcements of funding increases for environmental projects in Oregon, the Great Lakes region, and, of course, Florida. What do these places have in common? Theyre all swing states that were close in the 2000 election, and probably will be again in 2004.

    But these press conferences were design to cover up President Bushs overall budget for environmental protection. In the 2005 budget, Bush cut the EPAs budget by over $600 million, including a 30% cut to waste treatment programs and other clean water activities. EPAs Inspector General found that a $174.9 million shortfall prevented EPA from beginning cleanups at 11 Superfund sites and slowed the cleanup of at least 29 other contaminated sites in 17 states during fiscal year 2003. The Bush administration has cut the pace of Superfund cleanup in half as compared to the previous administration, with the EPA completing just 40 Superfund cleanups last year. To summarize: Bush slashes environmental protection nationally while funding specific programs in swing states. As Phil Clapp of the National Environmental Trust said, God help you if youre waiting for EPA to clean up a toxic waste site outside of a swing state.

    Posted by Eric at 01:01 AM | Comments (9)

    April 06, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Troops

    Ratio of the number of privately contracted military workers in Iraq to the number of British troops there : 5:4 [Coalition Provisional Authority (Baghdad) ]

    Number of U.S. soldiers whose retirement or leave has been postponed by the Army to maintain troop strength : 3,500 [U.S. Army (Washington) ]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 12:43 AM | Comments (10)

    Hamster Numbers: Troops

    Ratio of the number of privately contracted military workers in Iraq to the number of British troops there : 5:4 [Coalition Provisional Authority (Baghdad) ]

    Number of U.S. soldiers whose retirement or leave has been postponed by the Army to maintain troop strength : 3,500 [U.S. Army (Washington) ]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 12:43 AM | Comments (5)

    April 05, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Endangered Species Act of 1973

    "The Administration has consistently failed to comply with the ESA (Endangered Species Act of 1973) and numerous court orders to designate "critical habitat" for species listed as threatened or endangered, a key ingredient in species protection. They blame this failure on cost, claiming that it cannot afford to designate critical habitat and carry out other conservation efforts. In fact, the Bush Administration has repeatedly failed to seek the necessary funds from Congress to fulfill all of its responsibilities, in one instance ignoring a specific invitation from Congress to do so. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that $153 million would be needed to erase the backlog of overdue critical habitat designations for fiscal year 2003, yet the Bush Administration only requested $9 million in funding." -Environment 2004

    Posted by Eric at 06:08 AM | Comments (271)

    Hamster Numbers: Endangered Species Act of 1973

    "The Administration has consistently failed to comply with the ESA (Endangered Species Act of 1973) and numerous court orders to designate "critical habitat" for species listed as threatened or endangered, a key ingredient in species protection. They blame this failure on cost, claiming that it cannot afford to designate critical habitat and carry out other conservation efforts. In fact, the Bush Administration has repeatedly failed to seek the necessary funds from Congress to fulfill all of its responsibilities, in one instance ignoring a specific invitation from Congress to do so. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that $153 million would be needed to erase the backlog of overdue critical habitat designations for fiscal year 2003, yet the Bush Administration only requested $9 million in funding." -Environment 2004

    Posted by Eric at 06:08 AM | Comments (4)

    April 04, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: John Kerry Fundraising Records

    From JohnKerry.com about non-incumbent fundraising:

    More than $50,000,000 total raised in any quarter

    $38,000,000 total raised in any month (March)
    $36,000,000 total raised from grassroots contributors in any quarter
    355,000 total number of grassroots contributions in any quarter
    $26,700,000 total raised online in any quarter
    $2,600,000 total raised online at JohnKerry.com in one day ( March 4, 2004 )

    Posted by Eric at 08:12 AM | Comments (8)

    Hamster Numbers: John Kerry Fundraising Records

    From JohnKerry.com about non-incumbent fundraising:

    More than $50,000,000 total raised in any quarter

    $38,000,000 total raised in any month (March)
    $36,000,000 total raised from grassroots contributors in any quarter
    355,000 total number of grassroots contributions in any quarter
    $26,700,000 total raised online in any quarter
    $2,600,000 total raised online at JohnKerry.com in one day ( March 4, 2004 )

    Posted by Eric at 08:12 AM | Comments (7)

    April 02, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: National Parks

    "Across the U.S., national parks and wilderness areas are degraded by air pollution. For example, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the natural visibility of 113 miles now occurs only 1% of the time. Average summer visibility that should be 77 miles is now 15 miles. The Clean Air Act provides special protections for park visibility, requiring existing power plants to install modern pollution control equipment to curb the haze they cause in national parks and wilderness areas. The Bush plan would repeal the haze cleanup requirements." -Environment 2004.

    Posted by Eric at 03:39 AM | Comments (15)

    Hamster Numbers: National Parks

    "Across the U.S., national parks and wilderness areas are degraded by air pollution. For example, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the natural visibility of 113 miles now occurs only 1% of the time. Average summer visibility that should be 77 miles is now 15 miles. The Clean Air Act provides special protections for park visibility, requiring existing power plants to install modern pollution control equipment to curb the haze they cause in national parks and wilderness areas. The Bush plan would repeal the haze cleanup requirements." -Environment 2004.

    Posted by Eric at 03:39 AM | Comments (7)

    April 01, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: State Jobs

    "As of February 2004, 35 states have failed to get back to their pre-recession employment levels. Furthermore, 49 states have not created enough jobs to keep up with the natural growth in the number of potential workers, as job growth has lagged the growth in working-age population since March 2001. As for the unemployed, 43 states have higher unemployment rates than when the recession began." Job Watch

    Posted by Eric at 12:30 AM | Comments (12)

    Hamster Numbers: State Jobs

    "As of February 2004, 35 states have failed to get back to their pre-recession employment levels. Furthermore, 49 states have not created enough jobs to keep up with the natural growth in the number of potential workers, as job growth has lagged the growth in working-age population since March 2001. As for the unemployed, 43 states have higher unemployment rates than when the recession began." Job Watch

    Posted by Eric at 12:30 AM | Comments (2)

    March 30, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Tax Cuts

    "The Republican budget cuts domestic spending by $113 billion over the next five years to pay for permanent tax cuts for the wealthy. Massive tax cuts don't come cheap, and millions of Americans will be forced to deal with cuts in education, health care, veterans benefits, housing, environmental protection, and child care all to pay for substantial handouts to the rich." -Center for American Progress.

    Posted by Eric at 01:22 AM | Comments (15)

    Hamster Numbers: Tax Cuts

    "The Republican budget cuts domestic spending by $113 billion over the next five years to pay for permanent tax cuts for the wealthy. Massive tax cuts don't come cheap, and millions of Americans will be forced to deal with cuts in education, health care, veterans benefits, housing, environmental protection, and child care all to pay for substantial handouts to the rich." -Center for American Progress.

    Posted by Eric at 01:22 AM | Comments (11)

    March 29, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Social Justice

  • "A black persons average jail sentence is six months longer than a whites for the same crime; that is 39 months versus 33 months"
  • "Blacks who are arrested are 3 times more likely to be imprisoned than whites"
  • "Black felons are less likely to get probation than white felons for the same offense"
    -National Urban League.

    Posted by Eric at 06:07 AM | Comments (4)

    Hamster Numbers: Social Justice

  • "A black persons average jail sentence is six months longer than a whites for the same crime; that is 39 months versus 33 months"
  • "Blacks who are arrested are 3 times more likely to be imprisoned than whites"
  • "Black felons are less likely to get probation than white felons for the same offense"
    -National Urban League.

    Posted by Eric at 06:07 AM | Comments (3)

    March 28, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Software Jobs

    From the Economic Policy Institute:

    Software jobs, which pay some of the highest wages in America, have fallen sharply since 2000. These jobs have disappeared despite the fact that software sales to U.S. businesses in 2003 were up 4% over 2000. Comprehensive data on the number of U.S. software jobs that have moved overseas is hard to come by, but persuasive indirect evidence points towards the significant movement of software jobs to India (the most prominent of many countries to which U.S. software work is being moved) ... Domestic software-related jobs, however measured, have declined significantly in recent years. U.S. jobs in software-producing industries declined by 128,000 (10%) between 2000 and 2004, while jobs in software occupations shrank by 154,000 (5%) from 2000 to 2002 (the last year data were available).

    Posted by Eric at 07:05 AM | Comments (47)

    Hamster Numbers: Software Jobs

    From the Economic Policy Institute:

    Software jobs, which pay some of the highest wages in America, have fallen sharply since 2000. These jobs have disappeared despite the fact that software sales to U.S. businesses in 2003 were up 4% over 2000. Comprehensive data on the number of U.S. software jobs that have moved overseas is hard to come by, but persuasive indirect evidence points towards the significant movement of software jobs to India (the most prominent of many countries to which U.S. software work is being moved) ... Domestic software-related jobs, however measured, have declined significantly in recent years. U.S. jobs in software-producing industries declined by 128,000 (10%) between 2000 and 2004, while jobs in software occupations shrank by 154,000 (5%) from 2000 to 2002 (the last year data were available).

    Posted by Eric at 07:05 AM | Comments (10)

    March 27, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Uninsured

    "Nearly 44 million Americans were uninsured during 2002, the Census Bureau estimates--almost a 6 percent increase over 2001. Thats more than 15 percent of the population. And those numbers tell only part of the story. Millions more Americans are uninsured for short time periods or have skimpy coverage with low benefit limits or high deductibles. Lifetime benefit limits of $1 million or less are quickly exhausted when catastrophic illness or injury occurs. Minority-group members, young adults, and people with modest incomes are much more likely to be uninsured than others. The National Academies Institute of Medicine has reported that lack of insurance often means people simply do not get care for serious medical conditions. Uninsured women with breast cancer, for example, are 30 to 50 percent more likely to die from it than are insured women." -Consumers Union

    Posted by Eric at 01:09 AM | Comments (10)

    Hamster Numbers: Uninsured

    "Nearly 44 million Americans were uninsured during 2002, the Census Bureau estimates--almost a 6 percent increase over 2001. Thats more than 15 percent of the population. And those numbers tell only part of the story. Millions more Americans are uninsured for short time periods or have skimpy coverage with low benefit limits or high deductibles. Lifetime benefit limits of $1 million or less are quickly exhausted when catastrophic illness or injury occurs. Minority-group members, young adults, and people with modest incomes are much more likely to be uninsured than others. The National Academies Institute of Medicine has reported that lack of insurance often means people simply do not get care for serious medical conditions. Uninsured women with breast cancer, for example, are 30 to 50 percent more likely to die from it than are insured women." -Consumers Union

    Posted by Eric at 01:09 AM | Comments (1)

    March 26, 2004

    Hamster Number: Wages

    From Center for American Progress and Moving Ideas.org:

    The average wage of new jobs created this coming year is forecasted to be $35,855, significantly lower than the $43,629 average wage of those jobs lost between 2001-03.

    The Bush Administration has helped keep wages down, opposing an increase in minimum wage and advocating cutting overtime for approximately 8 million workers.

    Posted by Eric at 10:42 AM | Comments (10)

    Hamster Number: Wages

    From Center for American Progress and Moving Ideas.org:

    The average wage of new jobs created this coming year is forecasted to be $35,855, significantly lower than the $43,629 average wage of those jobs lost between 2001-03.

    The Bush Administration has helped keep wages down, opposing an increase in minimum wage and advocating cutting overtime for approximately 8 million workers.

    Posted by Eric at 10:42 AM | Comments (11)

    March 25, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: GOP Enviro Cuts

    From the House Budget Committee's Democratic Staff:

    House Republicans provided only $28.7 billion in discretionary funds in 2005, a cut of $1.5 billion (5.1 percent) from last year's level. Republicans unanimously voted against a Democratic amendment increasing
    funding for clean air, safe drinking water, and conservation measures
    by $2.2 billion in 2005.

    From 2005-2009, House Republicans provided 10.5 percent less than what is needed to maintain current services at the 2004 level. More noteworthy, their
    funding levels in 2009 will still be $901 million below the 2004 enacted level. Simply stated, the Republican budget cuts the federal commitment to environmental protection.

    Posted by Eric at 12:05 AM | Comments (19)

    Hamster Numbers: GOP Enviro Cuts

    From the House Budget Committee's Democratic Staff:

    House Republicans provided only $28.7 billion in discretionary funds in 2005, a cut of $1.5 billion (5.1 percent) from last year's level. Republicans unanimously voted against a Democratic amendment increasing
    funding for clean air, safe drinking water, and conservation measures
    by $2.2 billion in 2005.

    From 2005-2009, House Republicans provided 10.5 percent less than what is needed to maintain current services at the 2004 level. More noteworthy, their
    funding levels in 2009 will still be $901 million below the 2004 enacted level. Simply stated, the Republican budget cuts the federal commitment to environmental protection.

    Posted by Eric at 12:05 AM | Comments (7)

    March 24, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Spending Per Minute

    "Every MINUTE the Bush Administration spends $991,000 more than it takes in. An explosion in interest payments on this debt will occur just as baby-boomers reach retirement. Who will have to pay for Social Security, Medicare and the GWB debt then? Our kids and grandkids, thats who." -JohnKerry.com

    Posted by Eric at 12:46 AM | Comments (49)

    Hamster Numbers: Spending Per Minute

    "Every MINUTE the Bush Administration spends $991,000 more than it takes in. An explosion in interest payments on this debt will occur just as baby-boomers reach retirement. Who will have to pay for Social Security, Medicare and the GWB debt then? Our kids and grandkids, thats who." -JohnKerry.com

    Posted by Eric at 12:46 AM | Comments (8)

    March 23, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Job Losses in 3/4s of Battleground States

    Bad news for Bush in battleground states: battleground voters don't have jobs, and jobless voters usually don't vote for the sitting president. Cox News:

    President Bush is facing an economic minefield in 17 battleground states for his re-election bid, where nearly three-fourths of the counties he carried four years ago have lost jobs since he won the White House.

    A Cox News Service analysis found that 72.5 percent of the counties in these key states that voted for Bush in 2000 have seen their jobless rates rise during his presidency, some by as much as 6 percent.

    "The president has his work cut out for him," said John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. "There's a strong economic pull on the president's popularity."

    He said other issues could rise to the forefront, but the "No. 1 issue" in these states is jobs, "and people here don't understand how the president's policies are addressing it."

    The contest between Bush and John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, will likely be played out this fall largely in these states, which have a total of 1,022 counties. And according to an analysis by Cox News Service, 751 of those counties, or 73.5 percent, have experienced jobless increases in during Bush's presidency.

    Moreover, according to the analysis, 545, or 72.5 percent, of those counties where the unemployment rate has gone up voted for Bush in 2000, compared to the 206 counties that voted for Al Gore, his Democratic rival, four years ago.

    Posted by Eric at 03:03 PM | Comments (13)

    Hamster Numbers: Job Losses in 3/4s of Battleground States

    Bad news for Bush in battleground states: battleground voters don't have jobs, and jobless voters usually don't vote for the sitting president. Cox News:

    President Bush is facing an economic minefield in 17 battleground states for his re-election bid, where nearly three-fourths of the counties he carried four years ago have lost jobs since he won the White House.

    A Cox News Service analysis found that 72.5 percent of the counties in these key states that voted for Bush in 2000 have seen their jobless rates rise during his presidency, some by as much as 6 percent.

    "The president has his work cut out for him," said John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. "There's a strong economic pull on the president's popularity."

    He said other issues could rise to the forefront, but the "No. 1 issue" in these states is jobs, "and people here don't understand how the president's policies are addressing it."

    The contest between Bush and John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, will likely be played out this fall largely in these states, which have a total of 1,022 counties. And according to an analysis by Cox News Service, 751 of those counties, or 73.5 percent, have experienced jobless increases in during Bush's presidency.

    Moreover, according to the analysis, 545, or 72.5 percent, of those counties where the unemployment rate has gone up voted for Bush in 2000, compared to the 206 counties that voted for Al Gore, his Democratic rival, four years ago.

    Posted by Eric at 03:03 PM | Comments (10)

    March 22, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Polls

    Percentage points by which Ronald Reagan's approval rating changed in 1983 : +17 [The Gallup Organization (Princeton, N.J.) ]

    Percentage points by which George W. Bush's rating changed last year : 0 [The Gallup Organization (Princeton, N.J.) ]

    --Harpers.

    Posted by Eric at 05:29 AM | Comments (13)

    Hamster Numbers: Polls

    Percentage points by which Ronald Reagan's approval rating changed in 1983 : +17 [The Gallup Organization (Princeton, N.J.) ]

    Percentage points by which George W. Bush's rating changed last year : 0 [The Gallup Organization (Princeton, N.J.) ]

    --Harpers.

    Posted by Eric at 05:29 AM | Comments (5)

    March 18, 2004

    Hamster Number: Bush and Energy Industry

    From Friends of the Earth:

    President Bush has received millions in campaign contributions from electric utilities and other energy companies. He has been the top recipient of electric utility contributions during the past two presidential campaign cycles. Between 2000 and 2004, Bush received $1.14 million in PAC and individual contributions from the electric utility industry. In addition, more than 70 percent of the electric utility industrys $8.4 million in soft money contributions in 2000 supported the Republican Party. Bush is also the top recipient of general energy industry contributions, taking in more than $5.6 million during the 2000 and 2004 cycles.[iv]
    So what?
    Not surprisingly, the Bush administrations weak mercury proposal reflects the opposition of the presidents industry contributors to tougher mercury controls. Indeed, EPA went so far as to include word-for-word industry recommendations in its proposed rule. An analysis of EPAs proposal reveals that the agency copied at least a dozen paragraphs from two memos submitted by Latham & Watkins, a Washington , DC law firm representing utilities such as Cinergy. [v]
    Silly Hamster, money doesn't influence politics.

    Posted by Eric at 02:32 AM | Comments (18)

    Hamster Number: Bush and Energy Industry

    From Friends of the Earth:

    President Bush has received millions in campaign contributions from electric utilities and other energy companies. He has been the top recipient of electric utility contributions during the past two presidential campaign cycles. Between 2000 and 2004, Bush received $1.14 million in PAC and individual contributions from the electric utility industry. In addition, more than 70 percent of the electric utility industrys $8.4 million in soft money contributions in 2000 supported the Republican Party. Bush is also the top recipient of general energy industry contributions, taking in more than $5.6 million during the 2000 and 2004 cycles.[iv]
    So what?
    Not surprisingly, the Bush administrations weak mercury proposal reflects the opposition of the presidents industry contributors to tougher mercury controls. Indeed, EPA went so far as to include word-for-word industry recommendations in its proposed rule. An analysis of EPAs proposal reveals that the agency copied at least a dozen paragraphs from two memos submitted by Latham & Watkins, a Washington , DC law firm representing utilities such as Cinergy. [v]
    Silly Hamster, money doesn't influence politics.

    Posted by Eric at 02:32 AM | Comments (7)

    March 17, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: $80 Million for Medicare Ads

    What $80 Million for Medicare Ads Could Be Used For, from Center American Progress:

    $80M is more than needed to set up a system to give seniors access to meds from Canada; $80M would prevent the White House from eliminating grants to low-income health clinics; $80M would restore most of the White House-proposed cuts to rural health activities; $80M would restore some of the cuts to veterans' medical care proposed by the White House; $80M would fully restore cuts to minority health programs; $80M would restore the White House-backed cuts to Medicaid's computer systems.

    Posted by Eric at 02:56 AM | Comments (12)

    Hamster Numbers: $80 Million for Medicare Ads

    What $80 Million for Medicare Ads Could Be Used For, from Center American Progress:

    $80M is more than needed to set up a system to give seniors access to meds from Canada; $80M would prevent the White House from eliminating grants to low-income health clinics; $80M would restore most of the White House-proposed cuts to rural health activities; $80M would restore some of the cuts to veterans' medical care proposed by the White House; $80M would fully restore cuts to minority health programs; $80M would restore the White House-backed cuts to Medicaid's computer systems.

    Posted by Eric at 02:56 AM | Comments (1)

    March 16, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: C02 Emissions

    From ClimateStar.org:

    With only 4 percent of the population, the United States now produces 25 percent of annual CO2 emissions -- 6.7 billion metric tons annually -- and will remain the chief climate change polluter worldwide for years to come. During the past century, the United States together with other industrialized countries such as Japan, Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Canada has produced more than 60 percent of the CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming.

    Posted by Eric at 04:39 AM | Comments (51)

    Hamster Numbers: C02 Emissions

    From ClimateStar.org:

    With only 4 percent of the population, the United States now produces 25 percent of annual CO2 emissions -- 6.7 billion metric tons annually -- and will remain the chief climate change polluter worldwide for years to come. During the past century, the United States together with other industrialized countries such as Japan, Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Canada has produced more than 60 percent of the CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming.

    Posted by Eric at 04:39 AM | Comments (1)

    March 15, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Assault Weapons Ban

    "Polls show overwhelming public support for a strong assault weapons ban. Nationally, 63 percent of Americans -- including a majority of gun owners -- favor strengthening the assault weapons ban to prevent the gun industry from manufacturing commercial models of military-style assault weapons, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Consumer Federation of America." Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

    Posted by Eric at 03:36 AM | Comments (19)

    Hamster Numbers: Assault Weapons Ban

    "Polls show overwhelming public support for a strong assault weapons ban. Nationally, 63 percent of Americans -- including a majority of gun owners -- favor strengthening the assault weapons ban to prevent the gun industry from manufacturing commercial models of military-style assault weapons, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Consumer Federation of America." Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

    Posted by Eric at 03:36 AM | Comments (8)

    March 13, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Bush Index

    From the DCCC:

    Jobs Lost Under Bush
    2,966,000
    (Dept. of Labor projections 03/05/2004)

    Americans Uninsured
    43,600,000
    (US Census Bureau 2002)

    National Debt:
    $7,099,567,295,565.79
    (03/05/2004)
    (your share: $24,252.92)

    Posted by Eric at 07:01 PM | Comments (42)

    Hamster Numbers: Bush Index

    From the DCCC:

    Jobs Lost Under Bush
    2,966,000
    (Dept. of Labor projections 03/05/2004)

    Americans Uninsured
    43,600,000
    (US Census Bureau 2002)

    National Debt:
    $7,099,567,295,565.79
    (03/05/2004)
    (your share: $24,252.92)

    Posted by Eric at 07:01 PM | Comments (7)

    Hamster Numbers: Arab Americans

    According to a new Zogby International poll:

    If the election were held now, John Kerry would get 54 percent of the vote among Arab Americans in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, four key battleground states in the Nov. 2 election. Bush lags far behind at 30 percent. Other candidates would get 5 percent of the vote. Eleven percent are undecided.

    In 2000, Bush led his Democratic rival Al Gore among Arab Americans, winning 45 percent of their votes nationwide, compared to 38 percent voted for Gore and 13 percent for Ralph Nader. In the four battleground states, Bush did even better, winning 46 percent of Arab American votes, versus 29 percent for Gore and 13 percent for Nader.

    Posted by Eric at 12:38 AM | Comments (52)

    Hamster Numbers: Arab Americans

    According to a new Zogby International poll:

    If the election were held now, John Kerry would get 54 percent of the vote among Arab Americans in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, four key battleground states in the Nov. 2 election. Bush lags far behind at 30 percent. Other candidates would get 5 percent of the vote. Eleven percent are undecided.

    In 2000, Bush led his Democratic rival Al Gore among Arab Americans, winning 45 percent of their votes nationwide, compared to 38 percent voted for Gore and 13 percent for Ralph Nader. In the four battleground states, Bush did even better, winning 46 percent of Arab American votes, versus 29 percent for Gore and 13 percent for Nader.

    Posted by Eric at 12:38 AM | Comments (6)

    March 12, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Pell Grants

    Representative George Miller:

    Bush Freezes Federal College Scholarship, or Pell Grant
    Just as college tuition is rising and the buying power of grants continues to erode, President Bush has frozen the maximum Pell Grant at $4,050 in his FY 2005 education budget. This is the 3rd year in a row that Bush has frozen or cut the maximum Pell Grant.

    Despite Bushs protests that restoring the buying power of the Pell Grant wont stop rising college costs, he continues to ignore the tuition problem. Not only has he failed to address rising college tuition, but his budget makes college even more expensive by freezing or cutting student aid and taxing students.

    Bush Breaks his Promise to Increase Maximum Pell Grant to $5,100
    While campaigning in 2000, President Bush, pledged to make college more affordable and accessible by increasing the maximum Pell Grant for college freshman to $5,100.

    Not only has President Bush broken his promise to increase the maximum Pell award to $5,100, but hes actually frozen or cut the maximum Pell grant for the past three years.

    Bush College Aid Update Would Force Students to Pay More for College
    In 2003, the Bush Administration made revisions to the information used to determine financial aid eligibility that would have eliminated Pell Grants for 84,000 students, and reduced college aid to thousands more students. Fortunately, a Democratic amendment to the 2004 Education Appropriations bill reversed the Bush cuts, restoring Pell Grants and key college aid to students

    Posted by Eric at 12:59 AM | Comments (46)

    Hamster Numbers: Pell Grants

    Representative George Miller:

    Bush Freezes Federal College Scholarship, or Pell Grant
    Just as college tuition is rising and the buying power of grants continues to erode, President Bush has frozen the maximum Pell Grant at $4,050 in his FY 2005 education budget. This is the 3rd year in a row that Bush has frozen or cut the maximum Pell Grant.

    Despite Bushs protests that restoring the buying power of the Pell Grant wont stop rising college costs, he continues to ignore the tuition problem. Not only has he failed to address rising college tuition, but his budget makes college even more expensive by freezing or cutting student aid and taxing students.

    Bush Breaks his Promise to Increase Maximum Pell Grant to $5,100
    While campaigning in 2000, President Bush, pledged to make college more affordable and accessible by increasing the maximum Pell Grant for college freshman to $5,100.

    Not only has President Bush broken his promise to increase the maximum Pell award to $5,100, but hes actually frozen or cut the maximum Pell grant for the past three years.

    Bush College Aid Update Would Force Students to Pay More for College
    In 2003, the Bush Administration made revisions to the information used to determine financial aid eligibility that would have eliminated Pell Grants for 84,000 students, and reduced college aid to thousands more students. Fortunately, a Democratic amendment to the 2004 Education Appropriations bill reversed the Bush cuts, restoring Pell Grants and key college aid to students

    Posted by Eric at 12:59 AM | Comments (2)

    March 09, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Jobs

    "No private sector jobs were created in February and job growth in December and January was revised down by -23,000. Even with 22,000 new jobs in state and local public education, February's job count was less than previously reported for January. Total hours worked in the private sector fell by -0.1% in February to levels still -1.6% lower than when the recovery officially began in November, 2001. This is the first time on record that hours worked have declined in a recovery. Manufacturing hours worked edged up to -8.1% below levels when the recovery began. This is uncharted territory and reflects the new importance of globalization and a current account trade deficit that now exceeds -$1 million per MINUTE." MBG Information Services

    Posted by Eric at 02:15 PM | Comments (16)

    Hamster Numbers: Jobs

    "No private sector jobs were created in February and job growth in December and January was revised down by -23,000. Even with 22,000 new jobs in state and local public education, February's job count was less than previously reported for January. Total hours worked in the private sector fell by -0.1% in February to levels still -1.6% lower than when the recovery officially began in November, 2001. This is the first time on record that hours worked have declined in a recovery. Manufacturing hours worked edged up to -8.1% below levels when the recovery began. This is uncharted territory and reflects the new importance of globalization and a current account trade deficit that now exceeds -$1 million per MINUTE." MBG Information Services

    Posted by Eric at 02:15 PM | Comments (7)

    March 08, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Latino Employment

    Latinos can tell it's an election year because George W. Bush is finally paying attention to them. George Bush lost credibility for failing to make good on his promise in 2001 of immigration reform, but finally laid out a proposal. And after two strained years of US-Mexico relations, this weekend Bush has invited Vicente Fox to his ranch in Crawford. Since Bush took office, more Hispanic families are living in poverty, the number of unemployed Latinos has increased by 16 percent, and the gap between White and Latino homeownership has increased by seven percent. Latinos are right to ask why George Bush only remembers his promises to them every four years." John Kerry.

    Posted by Eric at 10:43 AM | Comments (11)

    Hamster Numbers: Latino Employment

    Latinos can tell it's an election year because George W. Bush is finally paying attention to them. George Bush lost credibility for failing to make good on his promise in 2001 of immigration reform, but finally laid out a proposal. And after two strained years of US-Mexico relations, this weekend Bush has invited Vicente Fox to his ranch in Crawford. Since Bush took office, more Hispanic families are living in poverty, the number of unemployed Latinos has increased by 16 percent, and the gap between White and Latino homeownership has increased by seven percent. Latinos are right to ask why George Bush only remembers his promises to them every four years." John Kerry.

    Posted by Eric at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

    March 05, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Mexico

    "Percentage of Mexicans who had a "bad" or "very bad" opinion of the United States in 2000 and 2003, respectively : 22, 58" -- Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 12:02 AM | Comments (4)

    Hamster Numbers: Mexico

    "Percentage of Mexicans who had a "bad" or "very bad" opinion of the United States in 2000 and 2003, respectively : 22, 58" -- Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

    March 04, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Cheney and Economy

    From the Center for American Progress:

    "Despite eight million Americans out of work, stagnating wages, and a new ABC News/Money Magazine poll showing consumer confidence took its biggest plunge in more than 18 years of polling, Cheney said "the economy is recovering significantly" and that "the economy's in very good shape." While 760,000 jobless workers exhaust their unemployment benefits and hundreds of thousands simply give up their search for work because the economy is so bleak, Cheney said the national 5.6% unemployment rate is "not bad." The indifference to the nation's economic problems expressed in Cheney's comment was echoed just a few months ago when President Bush told Michigan its economy "looks pretty good," despite the fact that the state has lost 180,000 jobs since January 2001 and has a 7.6% unemployment rate – the highest in the country."

    Posted by Eric at 09:21 AM | Comments (8)

    Hamster Numbers: Cheney and Economy

    From the Center for American Progress:

    "Despite eight million Americans out of work, stagnating wages, and a new ABC News/Money Magazine poll showing consumer confidence took its biggest plunge in more than 18 years of polling, Cheney said "the economy is recovering significantly" and that "the economy's in very good shape." While 760,000 jobless workers exhaust their unemployment benefits and hundreds of thousands simply give up their search for work because the economy is so bleak, Cheney said the national 5.6% unemployment rate is "not bad." The indifference to the nation's economic problems expressed in Cheney's comment was echoed just a few months ago when President Bush told Michigan its economy "looks pretty good," despite the fact that the state has lost 180,000 jobs since January 2001 and has a 7.6% unemployment rate – the highest in the country."

    Posted by Eric at 09:21 AM | Comments (1)

    March 03, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: 2005 Budget

    "The Bush Administration's proposed funding for education under Title I (education for the disadvantaged) is $7.1 billion below what is needed to fund the President's own No Child Left Behind education bill, which leaves 2.4 million children behind. Funding for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is less than half the level that Congress committed to paying when the legislation was adopted in 1975. The budget proposal also underfunds after-school programs by more than $1 billion, denying services to 1.32 million children. A $316 million cut in vocational education funding will keep students from acquiring job skills. Furthermore, 38 programs totaling $1.4 billion have been slashed from the Administration's education budget. Many of these programs are essential to helping young people succeed in school by providing school counselors, focusing on dropout prevention, reducing alcohol abuse, and creating smaller learning environments." -- Children's Defense Fund

    Posted by Eric at 08:26 AM | Comments (10)

    Hamster Numbers: 2005 Budget

    "The Bush Administration's proposed funding for education under Title I (education for the disadvantaged) is $7.1 billion below what is needed to fund the President's own No Child Left Behind education bill, which leaves 2.4 million children behind. Funding for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is less than half the level that Congress committed to paying when the legislation was adopted in 1975. The budget proposal also underfunds after-school programs by more than $1 billion, denying services to 1.32 million children. A $316 million cut in vocational education funding will keep students from acquiring job skills. Furthermore, 38 programs totaling $1.4 billion have been slashed from the Administration's education budget. Many of these programs are essential to helping young people succeed in school by providing school counselors, focusing on dropout prevention, reducing alcohol abuse, and creating smaller learning environments." -- Children's Defense Fund

    Posted by Eric at 08:26 AM | Comments (1)

    March 02, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Ozone Standards

    USPIRG:

    2002 was the worst smog season for which we have data (1998-present).

    Forty-one (41) states and the District of Columbia exceeded the national health standard for ozone 8,818 times during the 2002 ozone season.

    Twenty-nine (29) states and the District of Columbia exceeded the old, 1-hour peak ozone standard 811 times in 2002.

    Posted by Eric at 08:13 AM | Comments (51)

    Hamster Numbers: Ozone Standards

    USPIRG:

    2002 was the worst smog season for which we have data (1998-present).

    Forty-one (41) states and the District of Columbia exceeded the national health standard for ozone 8,818 times during the 2002 ozone season.

    Twenty-nine (29) states and the District of Columbia exceeded the old, 1-hour peak ozone standard 811 times in 2002.

    Posted by Eric at 08:13 AM | Comments (11)

    March 01, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Tax Cuts

    Children's Defense Fund

    Making the Bush tax cuts permanent would give each individual millionaire an average of over $181,700 each year when fully implemented. That amount of money instead each year could provide:

  • Health insurance for 74 uninsured children, or
  • Youth jobs for 50 disadvantaged youth, or
  • Child care assistance for 49 children of working parents, or
  • Head Start for 22 three- and four-year olds, or
  • Affordable housing for 22 low-income families
  • Posted by Eric at 06:28 AM | Comments (83)

    Hamster Numbers: Tax Cuts

    Children's Defense Fund

    Making the Bush tax cuts permanent would give each individual millionaire an average of over $181,700 each year when fully implemented. That amount of money instead each year could provide:

  • Health insurance for 74 uninsured children, or
  • Youth jobs for 50 disadvantaged youth, or
  • Child care assistance for 49 children of working parents, or
  • Head Start for 22 three- and four-year olds, or
  • Affordable housing for 22 low-income families
  • Posted by Eric at 06:28 AM | Comments (1)

    February 27, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: No Child Left Behind

    "President Bush promised to fully fund this law. But since its signing two years ago, he has refused to provide the resources that schools, teachers and students need. The Appropriations bill for this year, now pending before the Senate would create a shortfall of over $7.5 billion in funding for elementary and secondary education. This comes on top of a shortage of $5.5 billion from last year and $4.2 billion from fiscal year 2002. And reports are that the upcoming budget will be another $8 billion or more short.

    Thats a total of over $25 billion below what the President said the schools needed and what he promised to provide. That means that approximately 5 million children will not get the highly-qualified teachers, after-school programs, and tutoring services we promised them in the upcoming year. In my book, the President and the Republican Congress get an F for effort." -- Congressman George Miller, January 14, 2004.

    Posted by Eric at 12:20 AM | Comments (13)

    Hamster Numbers: No Child Left Behind

    "President Bush promised to fully fund this law. But since its signing two years ago, he has refused to provide the resources that schools, teachers and students need. The Appropriations bill for this year, now pending before the Senate would create a shortfall of over $7.5 billion in funding for elementary and secondary education. This comes on top of a shortage of $5.5 billion from last year and $4.2 billion from fiscal year 2002. And reports are that the upcoming budget will be another $8 billion or more short.

    Thats a total of over $25 billion below what the President said the schools needed and what he promised to provide. That means that approximately 5 million children will not get the highly-qualified teachers, after-school programs, and tutoring services we promised them in the upcoming year. In my book, the President and the Republican Congress get an F for effort." -- Congressman George Miller, January 14, 2004.

    Posted by Eric at 12:20 AM | Comments (0)

    February 25, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Vouchers

    "An initial People For the American Way analysis of federal education grants has uncovered a pattern of major and at times unsolicited grants made to a small cadre of pro-voucher private advocacy groups. The funds diverted to these groups total more than $75 million over the last three years, and were doled out by the U.S. Department of Education despite chronic underfunding of the Bush administrations own landmark No Child Left Behind education legislation." -PFAW.

    Posted by Eric at 02:20 AM | Comments (6)

    Hamster Numbers: Vouchers

    "An initial People For the American Way analysis of federal education grants has uncovered a pattern of major and at times unsolicited grants made to a small cadre of pro-voucher private advocacy groups. The funds diverted to these groups total more than $75 million over the last three years, and were doled out by the U.S. Department of Education despite chronic underfunding of the Bush administrations own landmark No Child Left Behind education legislation." -PFAW.

    Posted by Eric at 02:20 AM | Comments (2)

    February 24, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Bush and Economy

    "The Bush administration is backing moves to outsource more U.S. jobs, according to its Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) annual report to Congress. Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade, said N. Gregory Mankiw, Bushs CEA chairman. More things are tradable than were tradable in the past. And thats a good thing. The report also predicts the economy will generate 3.9 million new jobs this yeara claim that would mean an average 325,000 new jobs each month. In spring 2003, the council said the presidents Jobs and Growth millionaire tax cut plan would create 306,000 jobs monthly starting in July. Yet by February 2004, the Bush administration was 1.8 million jobs short of that prediction. So far, the economy has lost 2.9 million private-sector jobs and 2.8 million manufacturing jobs since Bush took office. Meanwhile, the number of long-term jobless workers has been roughly 2 million for months, and for much of that time, long-term unemployment has been at its highest rate since 1983." -AFL-CIO

    Posted by Eric at 12:37 AM | Comments (83)

    Hamster Numbers: Bush and Economy

    "The Bush administration is backing moves to outsource more U.S. jobs, according to its Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) annual report to Congress. Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade, said N. Gregory Mankiw, Bushs CEA chairman. More things are tradable than were tradable in the past. And thats a good thing. The report also predicts the economy will generate 3.9 million new jobs this yeara claim that would mean an average 325,000 new jobs each month. In spring 2003, the council said the presidents Jobs and Growth millionaire tax cut plan would create 306,000 jobs monthly starting in July. Yet by February 2004, the Bush administration was 1.8 million jobs short of that prediction. So far, the economy has lost 2.9 million private-sector jobs and 2.8 million manufacturing jobs since Bush took office. Meanwhile, the number of long-term jobless workers has been roughly 2 million for months, and for much of that time, long-term unemployment has been at its highest rate since 1983." -AFL-CIO

    Posted by Eric at 12:37 AM | Comments (6)

    February 23, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Youth Employment Rate Lowest in 39 Years

    According to the Children's Defense Fund, based on Labor Department figures, "only 34 percent of teenagers age 16-19 were employed (part- or full-time) in January 2004, marking the lowest youth employment rate for the month of January since 1965." From the CDF:

    "Young workers are often the last hired and first fired, and that certainly appears to be the case here," said Arloc Sherman, a Senior Research Associate at CDF. "Young workers these days often use these jobs to help save for college, support their family, or just give them a good strong launch into the workforce. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has already cut the very programs that help teens find work."

    Since 2002 the Bush Administration has cut funding for youth programs under the Workforce Investment Act by $352 million (26 percent). In addition, the Administration's proposed 2005 budget cuts support for vocational and technical education overall by nearly $323 million (25 percent).

    Overall, youths age 16 to 19 have lost more than one million jobs since January 2000, according to Labor Department data (not seasonally). The same data show that, as of January 2004:

    33.2 percent of male teens worked - the lowest percentage on record (records start in 1948).

    34.9 percent of female teens worked - the lowest since 1972.

    19.6 percent of Black teens worked - the lowest since 1984.

    27.2 percent of Latino teens worked - the lowest on record (records for Latino teens start in 1994).

    A record-setting President.

    Posted by Eric at 04:52 AM | Comments (65)

    Hamster Numbers: Youth Employment Rate Lowest in 39 Years

    According to the Children's Defense Fund, based on Labor Department figures, "only 34 percent of teenagers age 16-19 were employed (part- or full-time) in January 2004, marking the lowest youth employment rate for the month of January since 1965." From the CDF:

    "Young workers are often the last hired and first fired, and that certainly appears to be the case here," said Arloc Sherman, a Senior Research Associate at CDF. "Young workers these days often use these jobs to help save for college, support their family, or just give them a good strong launch into the workforce. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has already cut the very programs that help teens find work."

    Since 2002 the Bush Administration has cut funding for youth programs under the Workforce Investment Act by $352 million (26 percent). In addition, the Administration's proposed 2005 budget cuts support for vocational and technical education overall by nearly $323 million (25 percent).

    Overall, youths age 16 to 19 have lost more than one million jobs since January 2000, according to Labor Department data (not seasonally). The same data show that, as of January 2004:

    33.2 percent of male teens worked - the lowest percentage on record (records start in 1948).

    34.9 percent of female teens worked - the lowest since 1972.

    19.6 percent of Black teens worked - the lowest since 1984.

    27.2 percent of Latino teens worked - the lowest on record (records for Latino teens start in 1994).

    A record-setting President.

    Posted by Eric at 04:52 AM | Comments (10)

    February 20, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Environment

    From the NRDC:

    The Bush administration's budget reveals a ballooning environmental deficit that is growing even greater than the fiscal deficit. The reason for this is the disproportional cuts that have been directed at environmental programs even as overall domestic spending increases. Between FY 2004 and FY 2005 total investments in environmental protection would decrease by $1.9 billion or nearly six percent. Over the next five years, as the loss of purchasing power taxes remaining resources, the shortfall compared to FY 2004 grows dramatically to a total of $7.0 billion.

    Posted by Eric at 01:59 AM | Comments (41)

    Hamster Numbers: Environment

    From the NRDC:

    The Bush administration's budget reveals a ballooning environmental deficit that is growing even greater than the fiscal deficit. The reason for this is the disproportional cuts that have been directed at environmental programs even as overall domestic spending increases. Between FY 2004 and FY 2005 total investments in environmental protection would decrease by $1.9 billion or nearly six percent. Over the next five years, as the loss of purchasing power taxes remaining resources, the shortfall compared to FY 2004 grows dramatically to a total of $7.0 billion.

    Posted by Eric at 01:59 AM | Comments (0)

    February 19, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Global Warming

    According to the Union of Concerned Scientists:

    Since the beginning of the 20th century, the mean surface temperature of the earth has increased by about 1.1 F (0.6Celsius).

    Over the last 40 years, which is the period with most reliable data, the temperature increased by about 0.5 F (0.2-0.3Celsius).

    Warming in the 20th century is greater than at any time during the past 400-600 years.

    Seven of the ten warmest years in the 20th century occurred in the 1990s. 1998, with global temperatures spiking due to one of the strongest El Nios on record, was the hottest year since reliable instrumental temperature measurements began.

    Posted by Eric at 04:40 AM | Comments (66)

    Hamster Numbers: Global Warming

    According to the Union of Concerned Scientists:

    Since the beginning of the 20th century, the mean surface temperature of the earth has increased by about 1.1 F (0.6Celsius).

    Over the last 40 years, which is the period with most reliable data, the temperature increased by about 0.5 F (0.2-0.3Celsius).

    Warming in the 20th century is greater than at any time during the past 400-600 years.

    Seven of the ten warmest years in the 20th century occurred in the 1990s. 1998, with global temperatures spiking due to one of the strongest El Nios on record, was the hottest year since reliable instrumental temperature measurements began.

    Posted by Eric at 04:40 AM | Comments (20)

    February 18, 2004

    Daily Numbers: Insurance

  • "9.2 million children in America had no insurance during 2001. That's 12 percent of children in America without health insurance!"
  • "30 to 40 percent of people who lose their jobs also lose health insurance."
  • "Just 330,000 people nationwide would be covered through Bush's plan, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That's just 0.8 percent of the 41.2 million Americans without health insurance"

    -DNC

    Posted by Eric at 01:25 AM | Comments (54)

    Daily Numbers: Insurance

  • "9.2 million children in America had no insurance during 2001. That's 12 percent of children in America without health insurance!"
  • "30 to 40 percent of people who lose their jobs also lose health insurance."
  • "Just 330,000 people nationwide would be covered through Bush's plan, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That's just 0.8 percent of the 41.2 million Americans without health insurance"

    -DNC

    Posted by Eric at 01:25 AM | Comments (1)

    February 17, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Bush Record

  • "The economy has a nearly 9 million job deficit from where it should be at this point in a recovery. The lack of employment growth has had a measurable impact on wage growth, which has been flat."
  • "Since the start of the recession in March 2001, consumer prices rose by 5.1 percent."
  • "In comparison, medical care grew by 12.5 percent and education increased by 19.2 percent during the same period. These price increases are occurring at a time when employers are reducing their benefits. And to pay for these costs, households have borrowed record amounts of debt."

    -Center for American Progress

    Posted by Eric at 09:12 AM | Comments (27)

    Hamster Numbers: Bush Record

  • "The economy has a nearly 9 million job deficit from where it should be at this point in a recovery. The lack of employment growth has had a measurable impact on wage growth, which has been flat."
  • "Since the start of the recession in March 2001, consumer prices rose by 5.1 percent."
  • "In comparison, medical care grew by 12.5 percent and education increased by 19.2 percent during the same period. These price increases are occurring at a time when employers are reducing their benefits. And to pay for these costs, households have borrowed record amounts of debt."

    -Center for American Progress

    Posted by Eric at 09:12 AM | Comments (2)

    February 16, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Iraq

    Reward offered by the U.S. military to any Iraqi who turns in a hand-held launcher and missile : $500 [Coalition Press Information Center (Baghdad) ]

    Amount such a weapon can reportedly fetch on the international black market : $5,000 [Independent (London) ]

    - Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 04:13 AM | Comments (10)

    Hamster Numbers: Iraq

    Reward offered by the U.S. military to any Iraqi who turns in a hand-held launcher and missile : $500 [Coalition Press Information Center (Baghdad) ]

    Amount such a weapon can reportedly fetch on the international black market : $5,000 [Independent (London) ]

    - Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 04:13 AM | Comments (1)

    February 13, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Jobs Predictions

    From the EPI:

    The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) writes the Economic Report of the President, the administration's major annual assessment of economic trends. In each of the last three years, the report has included the administration's employment forecast for coming years. The following conclusions stand out from an assessment of these forecasts:

    Job growth would have to improve dramatically to meet the CEA's just-released prediction of an average of 132.7 million jobs in 2004. The administration's prediction would only be met if job growth averaged more than 450,000 new jobs each month, about four times the level of job growth in January.1

    Actual employment levels in recent years have fallen far below administration forecasts. In its 2003 report, for example, the CEA predicted that the average number of jobs in 2003 would be 1.7 million higher than its average in 2002. Instead, it was 400,000 lower. (See Table 1.)

    Each successive year, the administration has had to lower its starting point for jobs, but it has forecast strong growth just around the corner. For instance, in its 2002 report the CEA predicted there would be 138.3 million jobs in 2004. Now its prediction of 132.7 million (which is also likely to be too optimistic) is for 5.6 million fewer jobs than its 2002 forecast.

    Posted by Eric at 01:55 AM | Comments (0)

    Hamster Numbers: Jobs Predictions

    From the EPI:

    The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) writes the Economic Report of the President, the administration's major annual assessment of economic trends. In each of the last three years, the report has included the administration's employment forecast for coming years. The following conclusions stand out from an assessment of these forecasts:

    Job growth would have to improve dramatically to meet the CEA's just-released prediction of an average of 132.7 million jobs in 2004. The administration's prediction would only be met if job growth averaged more than 450,000 new jobs each month, about four times the level of job growth in January.1

    Actual employment levels in recent years have fallen far below administration forecasts. In its 2003 report, for example, the CEA predicted that the average number of jobs in 2003 would be 1.7 million higher than its average in 2002. Instead, it was 400,000 lower. (See Table 1.)

    Each successive year, the administration has had to lower its starting point for jobs, but it has forecast strong growth just around the corner. For instance, in its 2002 report the CEA predicted there would be 138.3 million jobs in 2004. Now its prediction of 132.7 million (which is also likely to be too optimistic) is for 5.6 million fewer jobs than its 2002 forecast.

    Posted by Eric at 01:55 AM | Comments (0)

    February 11, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers

    From the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:


    Under the Administrations proposed budget, at least 300,000 fewer children would receive child care assistance in 2009 than in 2003. The Administration estimates that the number of children receiving child care already fell by 100,000 over the last year, and will fall by another 200,000 over the next five years, resulting in a decline from 2.5 million children in FY 2003 to 2.2 million in FY 2009. This would occur because child care funding would be essentially frozen through FY 2009, making it impossible for states to maintain their current levels of child care assistance. As this analysis explains, the Administration's budget almost certainly underestimates the number of children that would lose child care over the next five years if the proposed budget was adopted.

    Posted by Eric at 11:09 AM | Comments (8)

    Daily Hamster Numbers

    From the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:


    Under the Administrations proposed budget, at least 300,000 fewer children would receive child care assistance in 2009 than in 2003. The Administration estimates that the number of children receiving child care already fell by 100,000 over the last year, and will fall by another 200,000 over the next five years, resulting in a decline from 2.5 million children in FY 2003 to 2.2 million in FY 2009. This would occur because child care funding would be essentially frozen through FY 2009, making it impossible for states to maintain their current levels of child care assistance. As this analysis explains, the Administration's budget almost certainly underestimates the number of children that would lose child care over the next five years if the proposed budget was adopted.

    Posted by Eric at 11:09 AM | Comments (4)

    February 10, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Tricks

    Number of press conferences at which President Bush has referred to a question as a "trick" : 11

    --Harpers.

    Posted by Eric at 04:49 AM | Comments (60)

    Hamster Numbers: Tricks

    Number of press conferences at which President Bush has referred to a question as a "trick" : 11

    --Harpers.

    Posted by Eric at 04:49 AM | Comments (4)

    February 09, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers: States

  • "Some 30 states are projecting deficits for Fiscal Year 2005 totaling about $39 billion to $41 billion. This represents between 7 percent and 8 percent of state general fund expenditures."

  • "In eight states, the shortfall estimate exceeds 10 percent of the budget including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Kansas, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York."

  • "While revenue growth has increased, it still remains extremely modest. The Rockefeller Institute of Government reports that in the most recent quarter, state tax revenue adjusted for inflation and legislative changes was only 0.4 percent higher than in the same period in 2002. This low rate of growth occurred despite a 3.5 percent growth in real GDP over the same period."

    -Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

    Posted by Eric at 12:40 AM | Comments (102)

    Daily Hamster Numbers: States

  • "Some 30 states are projecting deficits for Fiscal Year 2005 totaling about $39 billion to $41 billion. This represents between 7 percent and 8 percent of state general fund expenditures."

  • "In eight states, the shortfall estimate exceeds 10 percent of the budget including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Kansas, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York."

  • "While revenue growth has increased, it still remains extremely modest. The Rockefeller Institute of Government reports that in the most recent quarter, state tax revenue adjusted for inflation and legislative changes was only 0.4 percent higher than in the same period in 2002. This low rate of growth occurred despite a 3.5 percent growth in real GDP over the same period."

    -Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

    Posted by Eric at 12:40 AM | Comments (1)

    February 05, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Low Income Housing

    From The Children's Defense Fund:

    The Bush Administration's proposed budget cuts in Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Section 8 housing program could mean as many as 150,000 families with children will be denied vouchers. The Administration's budget also effectively block grants the Section 8 program, which could lead to some of the poorest families losing assistance and other families having to spend a greater portion of their income for rent.

    The proposed cuts and changes will disproportionately affect children. Fifty-nine percent of the 2 million households that receive Section 8 rental vouchers are families with children, making Section 8 the main source of housing assistance for low-income children.

    While the HUD budget emphasizes that "ours is a compassionate mission," Assistant Secretary Michael Liu acknowledged yesterday that the Section 8 voucher program is being cut by nearly $1 billion from FY 2004 to FY 2005.

    Posted by Eric at 02:49 PM | Comments (238)

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Low Income Housing

    From The Children's Defense Fund:

    The Bush Administration's proposed budget cuts in Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Section 8 housing program could mean as many as 150,000 families with children will be denied vouchers. The Administration's budget also effectively block grants the Section 8 program, which could lead to some of the poorest families losing assistance and other families having to spend a greater portion of their income for rent.

    The proposed cuts and changes will disproportionately affect children. Fifty-nine percent of the 2 million households that receive Section 8 rental vouchers are families with children, making Section 8 the main source of housing assistance for low-income children.

    While the HUD budget emphasizes that "ours is a compassionate mission," Assistant Secretary Michael Liu acknowledged yesterday that the Section 8 voucher program is being cut by nearly $1 billion from FY 2004 to FY 2005.

    Posted by Eric at 02:49 PM | Comments (1)

    February 04, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Political Money

    "2004 presidential candidates have raised 26 percent of donations in contributions that would not have been permitted before BCRA's doubling of limits."

    "2004 presidential primary contestants have raised 66 percent of their funds in contributions at or above $1,000, up from 61 percent in the 2000 race."

    "With one committee yet to file a 2003 year-end report with the FEC, political parties raised $275,408,400 in hard money in 2003, compared to $282,358,665 in both hard and soft money in 1999."

    "The average amount raised by the candidates increased from $16,255,545 in 1999 to $23,353,077 in 2003, an increase of 44 percent."

    --USPIRG

    Posted by Eric at 03:07 AM | Comments (3)

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Political Money

    "2004 presidential candidates have raised 26 percent of donations in contributions that would not have been permitted before BCRA's doubling of limits."

    "2004 presidential primary contestants have raised 66 percent of their funds in contributions at or above $1,000, up from 61 percent in the 2000 race."

    "With one committee yet to file a 2003 year-end report with the FEC, political parties raised $275,408,400 in hard money in 2003, compared to $282,358,665 in both hard and soft money in 1999."

    "The average amount raised by the candidates increased from $16,255,545 in 1999 to $23,353,077 in 2003, an increase of 44 percent."

    --USPIRG

    Posted by Eric at 03:07 AM | Comments (0)

    February 03, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Economy

  • After the torrid 8.2% growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter, the U.S. economy cooled to a 4.0% pace in the last quarter of 2003.

  • Fourth quarter output growth generated only 207,000 jobs. This 0.6% growth rate for jobs remains less than half the 1.3% growth rate (about 450,000 jobs per quarter) necessary to keep up with the working-age population. From Economic Policy Institute and MovingIdeas

    Posted by Eric at 02:09 AM | Comments (7)

    Hamster Numbers: Economy

  • After the torrid 8.2% growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter, the U.S. economy cooled to a 4.0% pace in the last quarter of 2003.

  • Fourth quarter output growth generated only 207,000 jobs. This 0.6% growth rate for jobs remains less than half the 1.3% growth rate (about 450,000 jobs per quarter) necessary to keep up with the working-age population. From Economic Policy Institute and MovingIdeas

    Posted by Eric at 02:09 AM | Comments (1)

    February 02, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers: EPA

    Number of paragraphs devoted to global warming in the EPA's 600-page "Draft Report on the Environment" of 2003: 1 [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]

    Number of paragraphs removed by the White House before publication: 5 [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 08:56 PM | Comments (7)

    Daily Hamster Numbers: EPA

    Number of paragraphs devoted to global warming in the EPA's 600-page "Draft Report on the Environment" of 2003: 1 [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]

    Number of paragraphs removed by the White House before publication: 5 [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 08:56 PM | Comments (1)

    January 29, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Extreme Poverty

  • "16% of American childrenalmost 12 millionlived in poverty in 2001, meaning their parents' income was at or below the federal poverty level. This is about the same number of children who lived in poverty in 1980."
  • "7% of American children5 millionlived in extreme poverty. This was a 17% increase from 2000. The parents of these children made half the federal poverty level."
  • "38% of American children27 millionlived in low-income families. Their parents made 200% of the federal poverty line or below. This was a 3% increase from 2000."

    -- National Center for Children in Poverty

    Posted by Eric at 03:07 PM | Comments (5)

    Hamster Numbers: Extreme Poverty

  • "16% of American childrenalmost 12 millionlived in poverty in 2001, meaning their parents' income was at or below the federal poverty level. This is about the same number of children who lived in poverty in 1980."
  • "7% of American children5 millionlived in extreme poverty. This was a 17% increase from 2000. The parents of these children made half the federal poverty level."
  • "38% of American children27 millionlived in low-income families. Their parents made 200% of the federal poverty line or below. This was a 3% increase from 2000."

    -- National Center for Children in Poverty

    Posted by Eric at 03:07 PM | Comments (3)

    January 28, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Voting

    Average percentage of the Jewish vote won by the Democratic presidential candidate in the 1980s: 59 [Voter News Service (Brooklyn)]

    Average percentage since then: 79 [Voter News Service (Brooklyn)]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 09:06 AM | Comments (25)

    Hamster Numbers: Voting

    Average percentage of the Jewish vote won by the Democratic presidential candidate in the 1980s: 59 [Voter News Service (Brooklyn)]

    Average percentage since then: 79 [Voter News Service (Brooklyn)]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 09:06 AM | Comments (4)

    January 27, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Voting

    Percentage of votes cast in U.S. elections last year that were counted by the largest voting-technology firm: 52 [Election Systems & Software (Omaha)]

    Campaign contributions that one voting-technology CEO raised to become a Bush Pioneer this year (2003): $100,000 [Bush-Cheney 04, Inc. (Arlington, Va.)]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

    Hamster Numbers: Voting

    Percentage of votes cast in U.S. elections last year that were counted by the largest voting-technology firm: 52 [Election Systems & Software (Omaha)]

    Campaign contributions that one voting-technology CEO raised to become a Bush Pioneer this year (2003): $100,000 [Bush-Cheney 04, Inc. (Arlington, Va.)]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

    January 26, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: AIDs

    "Over the past year (2003), more than 3 million people have died from AIDS. More than 20 million people have already died from AIDS and at least 40 million more are infected. By the end of the decade, the CIA predicts that as many as 100 million people will be infected around the world. The latest data show that the epidemic is now rapidly spreading across Asia and the Americas as well as in Africa." --Misleader.org

    Posted by Eric at 12:37 PM | Comments (8)

    Hamster Numbers: AIDs

    "Over the past year (2003), more than 3 million people have died from AIDS. More than 20 million people have already died from AIDS and at least 40 million more are infected. By the end of the decade, the CIA predicts that as many as 100 million people will be infected around the world. The latest data show that the epidemic is now rapidly spreading across Asia and the Americas as well as in Africa." --Misleader.org

    Posted by Eric at 12:37 PM | Comments (1)

    January 23, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Fat

    Grams by which the amount of fat in McDonalds fattiest salad exceeds that in its fattiest burger: 3 [McDonalds (Oak Brook, Ill.)]

    Percentage change since 2000 in the number of U.S. surgeries performed each year to treat morbid obesity: +178 [American Society for Bariatric Surgery (Gainesville, Fla.)]

    Number of Florida high school students who take physical-education courses online: 1,204 [Florida Virtual School (Orlando)]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 12:13 PM | Comments (35)

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Fat

    Grams by which the amount of fat in McDonalds fattiest salad exceeds that in its fattiest burger: 3 [McDonalds (Oak Brook, Ill.)]

    Percentage change since 2000 in the number of U.S. surgeries performed each year to treat morbid obesity: +178 [American Society for Bariatric Surgery (Gainesville, Fla.)]

    Number of Florida high school students who take physical-education courses online: 1,204 [Florida Virtual School (Orlando)]

    -Harpers

    Posted by Eric at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

    January 22, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Patriot Act

    Approximate number of governing bodies that have passed anti-Patriot Act resolutions: 240
    Number of people the resolutions encompass: 30 million in 37 states.

    -ACLU

    Posted by Eric at 12:21 AM | Comments (59)

    Hamster Numbers: Patriot Act

    Approximate number of governing bodies that have passed anti-Patriot Act resolutions: 240
    Number of people the resolutions encompass: 30 million in 37 states.

    -ACLU

    Posted by Eric at 12:21 AM | Comments (12)

    January 21, 2004

    Hamster Numbers: Fund Fees

    "Mutual fund fees, many buried deep within fund prospectuses and financial statements, cost investors an estimated $75 billion a year."

    "New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer estimates that someone who invested $100,000 in a mutual fund would lose as much as $6,000 over 10 years because of excessive, undisclosed fees."

    "Furthermore, small shareholders those investors trying to save for things like college education or a down payment on a house pay more in mutual fund fees than their wealthy counterparts. Even more infuriating, the mutual fund industry is now trying to pass on the cost of higher insurance premiums to protect themselves against future investor lawsuits for these same fee abuses."

    -Centetr for American Progress.

    Posted by Eric at 09:07 AM | Comments (28)

    Hamster Numbers: Fund Fees

    "Mutual fund fees, many buried deep within fund prospectuses and financial statements, cost investors an estimated $75 billion a year."

    "New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer estimates that someone who invested $100,000 in a mutual fund would lose as much as $6,000 over 10 years because of excessive, undisclosed fees."

    "Furthermore, small shareholders those investors trying to save for things like college education or a down payment on a house pay more in mutual fund fees than their wealthy counterparts. Even more infuriating, the mutual fund industry is now trying to pass on the cost of higher insurance premiums to protect themselves against future investor lawsuits for these same fee abuses."

    -Centetr for American Progress.

    Posted by Eric at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

    January 19, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Economic Ladder

    Percentage change since last year in the number of U.S. millionaires: -3 [Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (N.Y.C.)]

    Percentage change since 2001 in the number of U.S. families in poverty: +6 [U.S. Department of Commerce]

    -Harpers Index

    Posted by Eric at 11:00 AM | Comments (23)

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Economic Ladder

    Percentage change since last year in the number of U.S. millionaires: -3 [Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (N.Y.C.)]

    Percentage change since 2001 in the number of U.S. families in poverty: +6 [U.S. Department of Commerce]

    -Harpers Index

    Posted by Eric at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

    January 15, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Military

    Percentage change between 2001 and 2002 in G.I. Joe sales: +46 [Hasbro (Pawtucket, R.I.)]

    Percentage change since 1999 in the number of desertions from the U.S. Army: +36 [U.S. Army (Washington)]

    Average number of U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq each day since the invasion began: 9.2 [U.S. Department of Defense]

    Average number killed: 1.6 [U.S. Department of Defense]

    Average number of Iraqi civilians killed by gunfire in Baghdad each day last August: 17 [Iraqbodycount.net (London)]

    Percentage of Iraqs urban areas with access to potable water a year ago and today, respectively: 92, 60 [Coalition Provisional Authority (Baghdad)/World Health Organization (Geneva)]

    -Harpers Index

    Posted by Eric at 07:08 AM | Comments (49)

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Military

    Percentage change between 2001 and 2002 in G.I. Joe sales: +46 [Hasbro (Pawtucket, R.I.)]

    Percentage change since 1999 in the number of desertions from the U.S. Army: +36 [U.S. Army (Washington)]

    Average number of U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq each day since the invasion began: 9.2 [U.S. Department of Defense]

    Average number killed: 1.6 [U.S. Department of Defense]

    Average number of Iraqi civilians killed by gunfire in Baghdad each day last August: 17 [Iraqbodycount.net (London)]

    Percentage of Iraqs urban areas with access to potable water a year ago and today, respectively: 92, 60 [Coalition Provisional Authority (Baghdad)/World Health Organization (Geneva)]

    -Harpers Index

    Posted by Eric at 07:08 AM | Comments (10)

    January 14, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Harassment

    % of Californias middle and high school students, who are targets of harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation: 7.5%

    Rough number of students: more than 200,000 students

    LGBT students who reported harassment: 2 out of 3

    LGBT students who experienced repeated harassment: 47%

    http://www.365gay.com/newscon04/01/011204calSchools.htm

    Posted by Eric at 06:09 AM | Comments (37)

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Harassment

    % of Californias middle and high school students, who are targets of harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation: 7.5%

    Rough number of students: more than 200,000 students

    LGBT students who reported harassment: 2 out of 3

    LGBT students who experienced repeated harassment: 47%

    http://www.365gay.com/newscon04/01/011204calSchools.htm

    Posted by Eric at 06:09 AM | Comments (0)

    January 13, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers: US Muslims

    Percentage of U.S. Muslims who said in 2000 that they would vote for George Bush: 40 [Council on American-Islamic Relations (Washington)]

    Percentage who say this today: 2 [Council on American-Islamic Relations (Washington)]

    -Harpers.

    Posted by Eric at 06:59 PM | Comments (41)

    Daily Hamster Numbers: US Muslims

    Percentage of U.S. Muslims who said in 2000 that they would vote for George Bush: 40 [Council on American-Islamic Relations (Washington)]

    Percentage who say this today: 2 [Council on American-Islamic Relations (Washington)]

    -Harpers.

    Posted by Eric at 06:59 PM | Comments (15)

    Political Numbers

    PoliticalWire.com has all the numbers you need to keep you up-to-date with the upcoming votes.

    New Hampshire, with Clark gaining and Dean slipping a little.

    Arizona, with Clark taking the lead from Dean.

    New York, with Dean in a comfy lead.

    Iowa, with Dean expanding his lead.

    Posted by Eric at 05:42 PM | Comments (11)

    Political Numbers

    PoliticalWire.com has all the numbers you need to keep you up-to-date with the upcoming votes.

    New Hampshire, with Clark gaining and Dean slipping a little.

    Arizona, with Clark taking the lead from Dean.

    New York, with Dean in a comfy lead.

    Iowa, with Dean expanding his lead.

    Posted by Eric at 05:42 PM | Comments (9)

    January 12, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Toxic Waste Cleanup

  • Superfund toxic waste cleanup program funding shortfall for FY 2003: $174.9m

  • Cleanups at America's 1,238 Superfund sites under Bush: 40 sites cleaned up in fiscal year 2003

  • compared to an average 87 sites per year in the late 1990's.

    -USPIRG

    Posted by Eric at 03:18 AM | Comments (2)

    Daily Hamster Numbers: Toxic Waste Cleanup

  • Superfund toxic waste cleanup program funding shortfall for FY 2003: $174.9m

  • Cleanups at America's 1,238 Superfund sites under Bush: 40 sites cleaned up in fiscal year 2003

  • compared to an average 87 sites per year in the late 1990's.

    -USPIRG

    Posted by Eric at 03:18 AM | Comments (2)

    January 09, 2004

    Daily Hamster Numbers

  • Twenty five major American cities saw a 19% increase in the need for emergency food last year alone.
  • New jobs created during the 2004-05 period are forecast to pay an average of $35,855, far lower than the $43,629 average pay of those jobs lost between 2001-03.
  • Only 14% of CEOs are planning to increase the pace of hiring.

    From Moving Ideas.org and CAP.

    Posted by Eric at 03:48 AM | Comments (129)

    Daily Hamster Numbers

  • Twenty five major American cities saw a 19% increase in the need for emergency food last year alone.
  • New jobs created during the 2004-05 period are forecast to pay an average of $35,855, far lower than the $43,629 average pay of those jobs lost between 2001-03.
  • Only 14% of CEOs are planning to increase the pace of hiring.

    From Moving Ideas.org and CAP.

    Posted by Eric at 03:48 AM | Comments (3)