On Killing Afghan Civilians and Nuking Iran: What Reddit says People are Reading

From Reddit.com on Saturday:

Afghan governor says US air strikes killed 22 civilians.

If only we could nuke Iran. Ron Paul says he has heard colleagues in Congress openly talk about using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran.

The World Bank estimates that biofuels have caused food prices to rise 75 percent, much more than earlier estimated. Translation: ethanol, which costs almost as much to produce as just buying petroleum would, is evil because it causes hunger among poor populations.

For an idea what this statistic means practically, watch this report on hunger in Haiti at Aljazeera International:

Gary Brecher explains guerrilla war to the pundits, about how they are in it for the long run, and Washington’s periodic waves of optimism are doomed to crash on the shore of dug-in, determined men with bombs and AK-47s willing to deploy them for the rest of our lives.

The anthrax used in the terrorist mailings of 2001 almost certainly came from the bioweapons labs at Ft. Detrick. Yeah, and those attacks came after September 11, too, which means it isn’t true that there have “been no attacks” since al-Qaeda on Bush’s watch.

The US Federal Reserve is not counting the cost of food and fuel in its inflation estimates. Yeah, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t count the unemployed in the unemployment figures either. They just count people who have been in between jobs and are still looking for employment for less than a certain period. After that time, if they don’t find a job, they aren’t unemployed any more, even if they never ever find another job. They are in a third category, of “not in the labor force.” The period after which you are dropped from the “unemployed” category has shrunk over time; the Reagan administration produced sunny statistics by redefining a lot of people as not in the work force. As did the Clinton administration. The BLS calls this phony number U3 and actually provides measures closer to reality as well, but the press usually only reports U3.

[Econoclast explains all this from a professional economist’s point of view in the comments. I fear I continue to maintain that the numbers are used ideologically by administrations for political purposes and understate what a layman would mean by things like inflation and unemployment in part to make voters happy with the status quo. I’ve had colleagues who’ve worked for the government who have come back with horror stories about how they were ordered to tinker with the statistics, not by falsifying but by framing. But that is a philosophical issue. Thanks to Jim Devine for clarifying.]

Gas station with sense of humor.

Can a freight train really move a ton of freight 436 miles on a gallon of fuel?