[snip] Does junk food in schools make teens fat? Yes and no, report economists Patricia Anderson of Dartmouth and Kristin Butcher of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in a working paper posted on the bank’s Web site. “We find that a 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of schools in a county that allow students access to junk food leads to about a one percent increase in students’ BMI [body mass index], on average. However, this average effect is entirely driven by adolescents who have an overweight parent, for whom the effect of such food policies is much larger (2.2%).” They estimate that junk food in schools accounts for only about one-fifth of the increase in teen obesity over the last 20 years.

[snip] By the numbers. From the Economic Policy Institute’s jobwatch.org: percentage of the working-age population employed at the start of the last recession in March 2001: 64.3. Percentage employed in February 2005: 62.3. The institute also notes that there are 477,000 fewer private-sector jobs now than there were in March 2001–the worst performance since 1939, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started collecting such data.

[snip] More outsourced torture. “Maher Arar, a Canadian/Syrian national . . . was transferred from U.S. custody to Syria via Jordan in October 2002,” reports Amnesty International. “He was allegedly subjected to severe torture in Syria and held for months in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions. Yemeni national Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed was reportedly handed over to U.S. custody . . . [and later] taken to Jordan. His current whereabouts are unknown, and Amnesty International has never received a response to its requests . . . for information on the case.”

[snip] Probably not what Osama had in mind, but the martyrs are finally meeting their virgins. From the New York Times, March 15: “Speaking of the Syrians, Samer Khoury, 32, a manager in the Virgin Megastore overlooking Martyrs’ Square [in Beirut], where the demonstrators gathered, said, ‘They are trying to prove they are still strong to their nation while they are retreating.'” –Ben Schwartz