Happy Mardi Gras. Pack on five pounds for me.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. It’s also the first annual Global Fast. If you haven’t signed up yet, consider it. I’ve talked with organizer Rich Halvorson. It’s a worthwhile project that brings a whole new angle to charitable endeavors. Link to article (registration might be required).
Don’t dis a Persian (I linked to this story yesterday): “An enraged Iranian immigrant used a 3-pound hammer to beat his wife, sister-in-law and mother-in-law to death and then stabbed them repeatedly because he felt ‘disrespected.'”
The current issue of The Atlantic Monthly has all sorts of good stuff in it. Three things:
1. Buy a European while you still can. In a few years, they’re going to be a collector’s item:
A paper by three Austrian population experts takes up Europe’s falling birthrates, which have dropped below replacement level in many countries, and investigates whether they are likely to rebound, level off, or continue to fall. Current United Nations projections estimate that birthrates will level off at around 1.85 children per woman in most countries. But it’s just as likely, the authors argue, that Europe will find itself caught in a “low fertility trap” that keeps driving the Continent’s population downward.
2. Well then, let’s beat on ’em just for the fun of it: “[A] new study says harsher prison conditions also make criminals measurably more likely to offend again.”
3. Bill Clinton (and Reagan and Kennedy and Johnson and Nixon) hate black people: “Between 1960 and 2000, the employment rate for black men plunged from 90 percent to 76 percent; for “low-skilled” black men (defined as high-school dropouts), in particular, it fell from 89 percent to just 56 percent. Between 1980 and 2000, meanwhile, the incarceration rate for black men rose from just 1 percent to nearly 10 percent.” The study thinks immigration might be to blame: as immigrants take up low-skill jobs, unskilled blacks lose the jobs and turn to crime instead. Link.
When I mentioned the Tim Hardaway story last week, I linked to this site at a CBS news affiliate in Fort Lauderdale, which was also sponsoring a Hardaway poll. I wrote at the time: “Aside: Check out the poll at the link. The first option (It’s what most people believe) is winning.” When I checked the site yesterday, I noticed that the CBS news affiliate had pulled the poll from its site (the story is still there, but the poll is gone). I’m guessing the news people didn’t like what they were seeing in the poll results.
My poll, by the way, will stay up, come rain, shine, or Ameche (and Ameche made a run yesterday afternoon, jumping from 7% to 16%).
It’s surprising, though, that only 20 people voted. I personally know nine of the voters. That means only 11 people from the TDE general audience voted (unless the poll counting mechanism is busted), though I get 200-300 people here every day. Very odd. I thought people liked to answer simple polls, but that apparently isn’t the case with TDE readers. Maybe I’ll later post a poll about polls.
A BBC follow-up to one of the many freaky Romanian stories I’ve posted here during the past two years: “A Romanian priest has been jailed for 14 years for conducting an exorcism that led to the death of a nun who he believed was possessed by devils.” My earlier post about the occurrence. Earlier post with links to other freaky Romanian stuff. Interesting: The BBC article implies that the priest was Catholic. That’s not accurate. He was a priest in the Romanian Orthodox Church, according to Get Religion.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList