Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's Rarely Good News

. . . means new Harper's Index. I am always fascinated by these things, although I have to observe that my renditions of some what they've said over the months has not engendered much in the way of comment or observation. (Although to be quite candid about it, I'm always delighted to get some kind of response for anything I write here. Yeah, I know I said this blog is basically self-therapy, and that is indeed true, but just think about it: why would I spend countless hours and God only knows how many words doing this if I did not want to have other people read it? I'd be a liar if I told you otherwise. I'm always delighted to know somebody is out there and paying attention.)

The Harper's Index rarely gives us good news. But the juxtaposition of the facts are always interesting at the very least. Much of the time they're a lot more than just interesting. To wit:

What's wrong with the U.S. Post Office
  • Percentage of U.S. Postal Service Expenses that go to labor costs: 89
  • Of FedEx and UPS expenses, respectively: 41,48
They are not in the Army now
  • 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
Hidden misery
  • Portion of unemployed people in the U.S. who are covered by primary unemployment insurance: 1/4 (What in the world are the other 3/4 doing?)
They're crazy down there in Florida
  • 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
What? I had no idea there even was such a thing.
  • 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
Is this surprising? Not really
  • 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 discrimiantion against the ugly cost America each year: $20 billion
  • Date on which Joe Walsh (R, IL) said Washington can't put "one more dollar of debt upon the back of my kids": 7/13/2011
  • Amount that Walsh currently owes in back child support: $98,422
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