Turtle Index: Healthcare, Ethanol and Video Games

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For this month’s Turtle Index: focus on healthcare in America. The number in square brackets refers to the source, given below. 4 dollars: portion of the cost of a $299 iPod made in China that actually stays in China, according to University of California study [1]. 160 dollars: amount that stays in the United States […]

Celine on The Value of Education

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I was recently listening to someone on the radio who had worked with the Rwandan truth and reconciliation commission and she was saying how one of the things that surprised her was how the people who participated in and fomented the genocide were often the best educated. Priests, doctors, teachers. The heros she found were […]

Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA

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If you want to be really afraid, read Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, a prize-winning history of the CIA based heavily on recently declassified internal documents and hundreds of interviews with former and current agents, including most living directors and some dead ones (the author has been covering the intelligence […]

What is 'Middle Class'?

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How much does the middle class earn in America? Most Americans like to think of themselves as middle class, but it takes less money than you might think to be middle class and, if you really are middle class, it takes more money than you might think to be upper class.

A Modest Plea for Biblical Literalism

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A friend’s wife joined a good Christian church where they believe in beating the children in order to save their souls. Seems like a reasonable enough trade. But then, we’re talking beating with sticks and belts. We’re talking bruises, welts and blood. I suppose it will make the little tykes righteous. The friend was unable […]

Welcome to Raised by Turtles

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Welcome to my brain dump. I have no idea what will end up on this site, but basically, I’m planning to use it to put some fiction up that has languised on my hard drive for years and also to be a sort of external memory to keep track of various things I learn. The […]

A Troubling Sort of Courage

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Review of Michael Beschloss, Presidential Courage I had high expectations of Michael Beschloss’ Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989, but must say that I was disappointed. I had expected stirring narratives of cases where presidents stuck to their guns in the face of criticism and opposition. That’s more or less what’s […]

Rent or Own? Some thoughts on the true value of real estate

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I’m always telling people that historically speaking, real estate has never been a good investment. Now, I don’t really invest because 1) I don’t have any money and 2) I have the worst sense of timing anyway. So good investment/bad investment is generally irrelevant, but I do like to track social trends and lately, whenever […]

Bush Administration Cites Success of Inquisition as Model

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The Bush administration responded forcefully today to critics of “aggressive interrogation”, known euphemistically as “torture lite.” Critics, including the FBI, have alleged that torture is ineffective and does not elicit quality information from suspects. The Bush administration has pointed out, however, that these techniques have been extremely effective in the past. Notably, press secretary Tony […]

Drink more, earn more

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According to a recent study, social drinker earn more — lots more. That’s all interesting enough, though it should be noted that drinking alone at home doesn’t count. What’s more interesting, though, is that barhopping without drinking apparently doesn’t count either. What’s interesting here is that, having been alerted by Paul Graham to listen to […]