Entries Tagged 'Government' ↓

A Milli, A Billi, A Trilli.


“A million here, a million there….”—Lil Wayne, “A Milli”

“Let’s make it a billion….”—Jay-Z, “A Billi,” feat. Lil’ Wayne

“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”—attributed to late U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL)

Obama BudgetFor the first time in U.S. history, it is not uncommon to hear politicians talk about trillions of dollars when discussing sums relevant to our national budget. For example, just yesterday, the Obama administration announced that, working with private institutions, the government would acquire over $1 trillion worth of toxic mortgage securities. The U.S. deficit is expected to hit $1.8 trillion this year. The price tag of the Iraq War has been estimated at $3 trillion. Over the next decade, President Obama’s deficits, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated, could total $9.3 trillion.

Most people have no idea whatsoever how much money these words represent, though. Some understand the basic math: A thousand dollars equals ten $100 bills, like the crisp note, above. A million bucks is a thousand bundles of a thousand dollars. (O.K., it’s starting to get fuzzy already….) A billion is a thousand millions. A trillion is a thousand billions.

But even these words do little to convey the size of the funds under consideration. I mean, even the best description I ever heard of how big a trillion dollars is—more than it’d cost to spend a million dollars every day since the birth of Christ—doesn’t really convey it. How long ago was Christ born? How big is a million? What does it feel like to live, let alone spend money, for centuries?

A picture, however, is still truly worth a thousand words, and the creator of the PageTutor article, “What does one TRILLION dollars look like?”, has literally performed a national service, answering that question in a way, I promise, you will never, ever forget.

He starts with a $100 bill, like the Benjamin, below.


Pretty much anyone who works can relate to this piece of currency. It neatly fits into our common spending and earning protocols. It is the largest U.S. bill being circulated.

Next, “A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2″ thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun.”


Next, here’s what a million dollars in those $100 bills looks like, next to a white guy for both scale and relevance:


Now, feast your eyes on $100 million, set square upon a pallet.


You’d need more than seven of these to pay for one day of U.S. operations in Iraq.

A billion dollars has effectively been the common unit of spending for government purposes at least since the 1960s. As noted, above, Senator Dirksen is famed to have said as much in his “A billion here…there” quip.

Here’s what a billion dollars looks like at this scale, on ten $100 million pallets.


And finally, a trillion dollars, the new unit of government spending, after the jump:

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Detroit Really Needs Money For Gas.

Fake car ad…or is it real?

Let’s hope, for their sake, it’s coming in January. Because, with the Senate turning down the $14 billion auto bailout, the December one sure didn’t work.


“Luhk entwo mah ayes.”

A couple of weeks back, author Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine) spoke at an event hosted by University of Chicago faculty campaigning against the planned creation of the Milton Friedman Institute, a research center named after UC’s most famous, most controversial alumnus and professor. (He died in 2006.)

I heard Klein’s speech on Democracy Now, and it was great. But the part that really caught my attention was her reference to an Arnold Schwarzenegger taped intro to the 1990, ten-part documentary, Free To Choose, in which Friedman outlines his ideas for the masses.

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Swimming Can Be Pure Torture.


Someone went through a lot of trouble to fake this protest against the Beijing Olympics, above, and get it to look like an Amnesty International effort. (Click on the image to see its details—like the AI logo and eratz URL—at full size.) But even after the organization disclaimed it, via Boing Boing, it still retains its primal power.

Best. National Anthem. Performance. Ever.

“Oh say can you see…me jack this beat?”
Vocalist Rene Marie prepares to knock one outta the state

Kanye West’s “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people” speech is now officially retired as my favorite “Straight Jack-Move Racial Protest by a Musician in a Public Forum.” It’s now a distant second to Colorado jazz vocalist Rene Marie’s singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” July 1st, at Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s State of the City address, but, instead of using Francis Scott Key’s traditional words, switching them out for the lyrics to James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the so-called “Black National Anthem”!

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“A shame, the way the poor Africans are starving…[sigh]…such a shame. I hope we can help them in some way. Now, what will it be: The supreme of chicken with stuffed thigh, nuts and orange savoury and beetroot foam, or will I have the milk-fed lamb flavored with herbs and mustard, and roast lamb with cepes and black truffle? Does a Chambolle-Musigny go with lamb? And what are we going to do about the poor starving Africans?”

“Maybe I can share my milk-fed lamb with the Africans, mommy!”

According to the UK’s Daily Telegraph, via The Huffington Post, world leaders, meeting in Japan on Monday to solve the global food crisis, stuffed themselves stupid at an 18-course banquet, below, specially prepared for the meeting, calling down, no doubt inaudible, worldwide outrage. (“Meanwhile back at the Vomitorium” stabbed The Daily Kos. “Crumbs from the rich nations’ table” dripped the capitalism-giddy, sherbert-toned Financial Times.)

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The Thousand-Lie War


Pick your poison….

This story came out earlier in the year but, clearly, has not gotten the traction it deserves, and probably never could: According to a study by the Center for Public Integrity, via Alternet.com, “President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements, in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”

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Hillary Clinton and Feminism: Nothing from Nothing Leaves Nothing.

“I’m for real!!”

While most mainstream media size up Hillary Clinton’s historic presidential campaign as a boost for feminism, University of Maryland School of Law professor and civil rights attorney Sherrilyn A. Ifill takes an opposing position: That New York State Senator’s rise to power has been, in fact, “very traditional.”

“In some ways,” says Ifill, “Mrs. Clinton, contrary to her public image, is a kind of throwback to the 1950s.”

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Looks Like Client 9 Didn’t Exactly Land on His Behind.

Happy as a former governor with a rich daddy
Better buy his pops one ginormous Father’s Day gift: Eliot Spitzer

Since his fast-moving disgrace and subsequent resignation on March 17 over a prostitution scandal, former NY State governor and superdelegate Eliot Spitzer has been maintaining an incredibly low profile.

Indeed, many who watched his resignation, live, on television, may remember wondering what this once seemingly unstoppable leader, not yet fifty years old, would do with the rest of his life. Assuming he would refuse Playgirl‘s offer to pose nude—which apparently he, thankfully, did—what would his next act be? How would he make a living, given his pariah status? Where would he go?

Apparently, Spitzer’s gone the same place all kids go when they mess up: Home.

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White as the Salt Flats: Race in Utah

White as far as you can see…

“This baby is black. It’s a dark, ugly thing.”

Utah State Senator Chris Buttars was talkng about a pending bill when, in February, he uttered those words on the statehouse floor.

In the uproar that followed, he called the NAACP-led protest against his remarks a “hate lynch mob,” adding “How do I know what words I’m supposed to use in front of those people?”

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