The nature of humanity, the curse of the branded building, the 60 Minutes stem cell fraud story, falling through thin ice, and when the bungee cord breaks.
The topic du jour in the Republican presidential race is food stamps.
Several of the candidates, the Associated Press reports, want the food stamp program ended and the money given to states instead:
Both Gingrich and Santorum faced criticism this week when they spoke of overhauling food stamps and other welfare programs by seeming to equate food stamp recipients and blacks. Gingrich said he would encourage blacks to demand paychecks, not food stamps, and Santorum said that he did not want to "make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money."
It's a strategy that might play well in New Hampshire, a state that -- like Minnesota -- has a comparatively small number of people on food stamps. But this map, produced by the Wall St. Journal in 2011, shows the risk of the issue. Particularly in the south and many battleground states, about 18 percent of the people are on food stamps.
Could the states run the food stamp operation better with block grants? Last year, the Lawrence (Mass.) Eagle Tribune found that retailers are ripping off the program, largely because the states are terrible at monitoring it.
In New Hampshire, of the 883 stores that take food stamp cards, only 18 were disqualified from the program since 2006. The story was similar in Massachusetts, where just 228 of the 4,320 stores authorized to accept food stamps were disqualified. By 2009, 90 of those Massachusetts retailers were back on the list of authorized food stamp merchants and had collectively racked up more than $7 million in food stamp redemptions in that one year alone, records obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the $50 billion program, show.
"The biggest problem we have here in Massachusetts is that we can't prosecute because there is no state statute," said one Bay State investigator who has assisted federal agents in retailer investigations. "We couldn't even bring a case against them."(9 Comments)
One of the great aspects of a long primary season, is the opportunity to hear what people -- not politicians -- have to say.
CNN has a great idea as the coverage moves to New Hampshire: Stick a microphone on the street, and allow people to speak to the candidates, although, admittedly, the candidates probably aren't going to hear it.
The New England accent is a bonus.
Ron Paul today walked off an interview with CNN when a reporter asked him why he wasn't spending more time meeting New Hampshire residents?
Ms. Bash, who was interviewing Mr. Paul a few feet away from a group of reporters, had posed a timely question: a few hours earlier, a middle-aged woman had become angry with Mr. Paul for not spending enough time talking to voters at a diner in Manchester.
The woman, an Obama voter last time who said she was open to voting for Mr. Paul, even approached Mr. Paul's S.U.V. as he prepared to drive off and began shouting at him through the closed car door to return to the diner and meet her and her mother.
People in New Hampshire are different than Iowa. They can be dangerous to a carefully scripted day.
We haven't asked this question in awhile and today seems like an appropriate day to do so: Are you confident that your economic life is getting better and heading in the right direction?
A lot of people clearly are.
The Associated Press reports today that Americans increased their borrowing in November by the largest amount in 10 years. The Federal Reserve says total consumer borrowing rose $20.4 billion in November, the largest increase since a $28 billion gain in November 2001. A category that measures credit card debt rose by $5.6 billion, the most since March 2008.
Auto loans also took a big jump.
The total increase works out to about $65 per person in the U.S.
For all accounts that accrued interest, the new debt has an average annual interest rate of 13.67 percent.
Have your good times returned? Or are you just replacing the things that have worn out from a decade of trying to make do.