Harper's Index

Number of the 100 highest-paid American CEOs who earned more than their employers paid in taxes last year : 25

Date on which the Lake Erie Correctional Institution became the first U.S. state prison sold to a private company : 8/31/2011

Amount the Corrections Corporation of America paid the State of Ohio for the prison : $72,700,000

Percentage of U.S. Postal Service expenses that go to labor costs : 89
Of FedEx and UPS expenses, respectively : 41, 48

Percentage of Americans who disapprove of a deficit-reduction plan with no tax increases : 60

Amount of the 2009 stimulus package that the federal government has yet to spend : $127,000,000,000

Estimated annual cost to the U.S. economy of worker “disengagement” : $400,000,000,000

Estimated annual cost of rust and other corrosion to the Defense Department each year : $23,000,000,000

Estimated percentage of Americans aged 17 to 24 who are ineligible to join the military : 75

Respective rank of obesity, drug and alcohol problems, and low “aptitude” among the most common reasons for ineligibility : 1, 2, 3

Date on which WikiLeaks announced “pre-litigation action” against the Guardian newspaper for leaking information : 9/1/2011

Number of chopsticks made each day by Georgia Chopsticks in Americus, Georgia, for use in China : 2,100,000

Percentage increase in the number of Chinese students applying to U.S. graduate schools this year : 21

Portion of unemployed people in the United States who are covered by primary unemployment insurance : 1/4

Percentage change since 2001 in applications for Social Security disability benefits : +50

Number of Americans currently receiving them : 13,600,000

Year by which the program will be unable to pay benefits, according to congressional estimates : 2018

Chances that a U.S. corporation is considering ending health benefits when federal insurance exchanges begin : 3 in 10

Percentage of all oxycodone sold to doctors in the U.S. last year that went to Florida : 89

Date on which Florida began requiring potential welfare recipients to pass a drug test before receiving benefits : 7/1/2011

Percentage who have failed the test : 2.5

Estimated amount this will save the state over the next year in denied benefits : $98,000

Amount that Rick Perry has received in federal farm subsidies : $72,687

Number of the top 50 donors to Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns who received an appointment to a state post : 22

Percentage increase in the sales of luxury goods within the United States in the past year : 7.3

Number of “designer vagina” operations paid for by the British National Health Service last year : 2,000

Percentage of women seeking the procedure who were deemed to have “normal” genitalia in a 2010 study : 100

Minutes of television that the average British dog watches each day : 50

Number of times the average British man will fall in love, according to an August study : 3

Number of times the average British woman will : 1
Percentage change in the gap between the wages of U.S. men and women since 1998 : +9

Amount by which a typical good-looking U.S. worker will out-earn a typical ugly one over a lifetime : $230,000

Estimated amount that discrimination against the ugly costs America each year : $20,000,000,000

Percentage of cell phone owners who admit they have pretended to be on the phone to avoid talking to someone in person : 13

Percentage of female scientists who say they have fewer children than they wanted because of their careers : 45

Percentage of male scientists who do : 25

Date on which Joe Walsh (R., Ill.) said Washington can’t put “one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids” : 7/13/2011

Amount that Walsh currently owes in back child support : $98,422

Last year in which the U.S. government did not “do everything wrong,” according to Ron Paul : 1987 (or possibly 1988)

Figures cited are the latest available as of September 2011.



Bill Maher 10/15/11

Occupy the Tundra

She is standing alone with her dogs with an early frost on the grass, staking her claim as part of the 99%. "Occupy the Tundra," says the sign she holds, hand-lettered on an old piece of cardboard.

Thousands of Americans are occupying Wall Street and various plazas, parks and squares across America. Diane McEachern has made sure that Bethel, Alaska -- a town of 6,400 way out in western Alaska -- is among them.

The picture she posted on the Occupy Wall Street Facebook page of herself in a musk-ox neck warmer, standing in the grass with her dogs in silent protest of corporate greed, has become the rural equivalent of a million-man march. The photo has been shared by thousands of people around the world.

"I am a woman. The dogs are rescues. The tundra is outside of Bethel, Alaska. The day is chill. The sentiment is solid. Find your spot. Occupy it. Even if it is only your own mind," she wrote as a caption.

McEachern, an assistant professor in the rural human service program at the University of Alaska's Kuskokwim Campus, said she was following the Wall Street protests and wondering how they might be brought home to a town with one main street and no roads out.

"When I saw that it was growing and there was Occupying Portland and Occupying New Hampshire, I thought, for goodness' sake, what can I occupy? How can I get on this?" McEachern said in an interview with The Times. "And I thought, well, what's my context? What's important to me?"

The foreclosure crisis may not have hit bush Alaska in a huge way, but people in Bethel are paying $6.87 a gallon for gasoline, she said. Stove oil prices for heating homes are equally unaffordable. Cuts in social services to rural villages are pending.

"And right now, they're proposing here the largest gold mine in human history, the Pebble Mine, that's going to do catastrophic damage to the environment and the native community, in the premier wild salmon habitat in the world," she said. "So I'm not well-versed on the larger economic system, but I can relate to the idea of corporate wealth being lopsidedly in the hands of so few, when so many are struggling."

McEachern said she initially took the photo as a lark, inviting a friend to snap her picture with her dogs so she could post it on her own Facebook page. When she decided to post it on Occupy Wall Street's page as well, the image unexpectedly took off.

More than 4,100 people have shared it on their own Facebook pages; nearly 8,000 others have "liked" it. "If I found my way to the tundra, I would give you a hug for how awesome you are!" one person wrote. "Thank you for keeping your lonely vigil!" said another.

"I didn't think anything was going to explode like this," McEachern said. "I didn't really quite get a clue until I opened my Facebook one morning, and there's over 200 friend requests. I've got to tell you, I'm likeable, but not that likeable," she added.

"I think it may be the little dog with the piercing blue eyes, because there are so many comments about that dog piercing their soul," she added, referring to her dog Seabiscuit, one of three resolute-looking canines in the photo. "Either that, or we need to do an exorcism."

In response to the flood of comments, McEachern recently replied, announcing plans to go out on a tundra protest again on Saturday. She took the opportunity to answer queries, some from supporters, some who hadn't had anything nice to say.

"For those who ask about the [permanent fund dividend] that all Alaskans receive [based on oil revenues], I got mine and donated it to Greenpeace on behalf of Glenn Beck," she wrote. "To the suggestion I set myself on fire ...I AM on fire!"

Michael Moore with Lawrence O'Donnell



Michele Bachmann

Simple Gifts


The NewYorker