Saturday Links for Sep.10-05

KatrinaCartoon

Income and Wealth Disparity Accelerating: Recent data indicate that the disparity between rich and poor Americans is growing at an increasing rate. For the first time in recorded history, US real median income has dropped for five consecutive years, falling 2% in 2004 alone. And the number and proportion of Americans in poverty is also rising, as the proportion of working Americans with health care benefits paid by their employers plummeted 8%. This is in contrast to double-digit increases in average incomes for CEOs and in wealth for America’s richest citizens.

Intellectual Property Laws Kill: I’ve written before about how IP laws stifle innovation, but here’s an interesting case where such laws are actually causing some people their lives. And these aren’t Africans who can’t afford the massive cost of AIDS medicine, these are North Americans whose life-saving medicines are blocked at the border because their import violates US patent law.

If New Orleans Were in Florida, Would Bush and FEMA Have Acted Differently?: Via reader Dale Asberry, a report by blogger Dale Perr contrasts the quick action of FEMA before and during the four 2004 hurricanes in that state, with the sloppy and criminally slow response before and during the New Orleans disaster.

The Ecological and Animal Welfare Disaster of Katrina: I have been unable to bear reading much about the suffering of pets and farmed animals abandoned during Katrina, or the catastrophic damage to the entire area ecosystem that the pumping of endless tons of toxic wastewater into Lake Pontchartain and the Gulf is going to cause for wildlife and marine life, possibly for decades. For now, the inept group in charge are taking a “pump first and ask questions later” approach. If you have a better stomach for this than I do, this is a good NYT article to start with, and this article in Salon goes deeper. And if you haven’t done so already, please visit the US or Canadian Red Cross sites and donate to support the humanitarian effort. Also, there’s a fascinating blog from the Astrodome with some incredible stories from and about the survivors (via reader Jim Bennett).

Cartoon by Mike Keefe in the Denver Post

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One Response to Saturday Links for Sep.10-05

  1. Re: “Intellectual Property Laws Kill: I’ve written before about how IP laws stifle innovation, but here’s an interesting case where such laws are actually causing some people their lives.”I have noted this. And noted the irony of the people who enforce copyright and patents having the gall to claim that *theirs* is the moral high ground.”And these aren’t Africans who can’t afford the massive cost of AIDS medicine, these are North Americans whose life-saving medicines are blocked at the border because their import violates US patent law.”Rethink this. You make it sound like it was OK when only Africans were impacted, but not now that North Americans are impacted. I know that’s not what you meant, but that’s how it sounds.

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