[snip] “I did not hear Mr. Gonzales repudiate two and a half years of official U.S. policy, which has defined torture so narrowly that only [practices leading to] organ failure and death would qualify,” said Senator Barack Obama on the Senate floor February 3, explaining why he voted against confirming the nominee for attorney general. “If the entire world accepted the definition contained in the Department of Justice memos, we can only imagine what atrocities might befall our American POWs. . . . How, if we are willing to rationalize torture through legalisms and semantics, can we claim . . . that America is different, and represents a higher moral standard?”

[snip] The hidden cost of hydrogen. “A recent issue of the technical journal Nature estimated that replacing current U.S. automobile petroleum with hydrogen would require construction of 200 new Three Mile Island-scale nuclear power plants to generate the electricity that makes the hydrogen,” writes Gregg Easterbrook in the New Republic online. “Whenever you hear an automaker or our president or the governor of California rhapsodize about hydrogen, bear in mind that this is strictly to divert attention from inaction on raising fuel economy using existing technology.”

[snip] The current ownership society. Median net worth of individual African-Americans in 2002, according to the Pew Hispanic Center: $5,998. Of Latinos: $7,932. Of whites: $88,651.

[snip] Follow the money. According to the newsletter of the national activist group FairTest, the average 2004 SAT score of college-bound seniors from families with incomes under $10,000 per year is 872. From families with incomes over $100,000 per year, 1115. Cautionary note: 42 percent of the test takers didn’t answer the income question.

[snip] By the numbers. Of the 205 men returning to Chicago from prison interviewed for a recent Urban Institute study, 48 percent said they had no close friends. Of those who did have close friends, almost half had one or more who’d been in prison and almost a quarter had a friend who was selling drugs.