Daily Archives: December 15, 2011

For Sale, Cheap: The Things You Need to Invade a Nation

By Elizabeth Dwoskin and Gopal Ratnam – As the Army’s logistics chief for the Iraq drawdown, it’s U.S. Army Major General Thomas Richardson’s job to tally all the equipment and supplies the Pentagon has shipped to Iraq over eight years of war, and to make sure none is inadvertently left behind on Dec. 31, the day the U.S. officially clears out. When he took the assignment in September 2010, the Army had identified just over 2 million items at 92 bases that had to be sent back to the U.S., moved to Afghanistan, sold, given away, or destroyed. He estimated it would take about 20,000 truckloads to get all of it.

Richardson’s bigger challenge is finding takers for all the things the military no longer wants. An Alabama school district happily took eight used trombones and clarinets. U.S. towns and counties can petition the Pentagon for some of the leftovers and pay only shipping costs. Cleveland County, Okla., paid $42,000 for a used Caterpillar (CAT) bulldozer that is now clearing roads and public parks. A volunteer fire department in South Dakota bought advanced firefighting equipment it otherwise could not have afforded… more> http://twurl.nl/lgbxv3


Europe’s economic purgatory

By Robert J. Samuelson – Europe has entered an economic and political purgatory from which there is no early escape.

Any hint that a country might dump the euro would trigger runs on banks, as depositors would seek to withdraw their euros. Banks would collapse. Deprived of buyers for their debt, countries would default. This would impose further losses on banks inside and outside the defaulting country. Without viable banks, borrowers would be starved for credit.

The logic is plain. If debtors need rescuing, then the rescuers ought to have some say over the policies that might cause trouble. The potential for intrusiveness — and resentment — is obvious. Brussels might order tax increases or spending cuts. National sovereignty over basic political choices is being outsourced.

So Europe is trapped in purgatory. more> http://twurl.nl/q7w3e1

Ethernet for Vehicles Advances

By Charles Murray – A coalition of automakers and automotive suppliers said recently that they are forming a special interest group (SIG) aimed at driving broad-scale adoption of Ethernet in vehicles, largely to serve the expected boom of camera-based applications in cars. At the same time, NXP Semiconductors announced that it is licensing Broadcom Corp.’s BroadR-Reach Ethernet technology, which would enable automakers to run a two-wire, twisted-pair type of Ethernet, instead of the four-wire type we’ve come to know in laptops. more> http://twurl.nl/vbawo2

Real Americans redistribute: The payroll tax debate’s dirty secret

By Matt Miller – Can we talk for a minute about redistribution of income? Just between us?

We take billions from struggling young families earning $35,000 who can barely make ends meet, let alone save for college or retirement, and use the money to pay for Social Security and Medicare benefits for seniors who earn more than $100,000.

We take billions from high-income blue states like New York and California, and ship them via federal benefits and subsidies for farming and oil to poor red states like Alabama and Oklahoma. We do this even though the recipient states mostly vote Republican and moan endlessly about getting Uncle Sam off their backs.

We give a hefty housing subsidy via the mortgage-interest deduction to Bill Gates — while Gates’s maid, assuming she rents, gets no housing subsidy at all. more> http://twurl.nl/ctl281


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