Gongol.com Archives: November 2009
Brian Gongol

November 20, 2009

Business and Finance In half a decade, interest payment on the debt will consume a third of all Federal income taxes
And when the news is being covered by people who don't fully grasp the scale of the problem -- like the CNN/Money reporter who writes, "On the bright side - such as it is - the record levels of debt issued lately have paid for stimulus and other rescue programs that prevented the economy from falling off a cliff. And the money was borrowed at very low rates" -- the problem is even worse. First, there's no convincing evidence that the huge government spending on programs like Cash for Clunkers or the $8000 new homebuyers' tax credit are doing anything to "prevent the economy from falling off a cliff." Moreover, the money may be borrowed at nominally low interest rates, but it's being borrowed in a way that threatens the long-term health of the US dollar. And if the dollar takes a beating because our creditors question our willingness or capacity to pay them back, then those "low" interest rates are going to become meaningless as we lose our purchasing power. The more we borrow, the worse the situation becomes. Period.

Health Obstetrics group says cervical-cancer screenings can be put off longer than previously thought
There is lots of good to be done by finding out when tests are best performed and balancing the value of treatment versus the costs involved. But there are at least two fallacies that emerge when, as in this case, doctors recommend putting off screenings for life-threatening diseases like cancer. First, they're balancing the costs and benefits of treatment using only today's treatments; what accountability is there to change the recommendations later when treatments change, becoming more effective or less risky? Perhaps it's better to be in the habit of looking when problems are most likely to emerge and then evaluating the treatment options on a case-by-case basis, instead of rejecting the notion altogether. Second, they overlook the fact that, to the individual, a life-threatening illness like cancer is a binary proposition: After all, you only get to live once. And if you miss signs that could have been caught early enough to have led to life-saving intervention, then you as the patient really don't care at all whether other people experience false alarms.

Computers and the Internet Omaha man accuses ex-girlfriend of posting nude photos of him on Facebook
These are modern problems, to be sure.

Broadcasting Chicago gets a community Christmas tree for less than $100,000
Remarkable because that's how much the city government thought it would cost. Radio station WGN-AM managed to get the job done at a fraction of the cost.

Water News Heroic water workers in Nebraska

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