- Richmond Times-Dispatch: 1,100 felons regain rights in McDonnell’s first year
Color me surprised. I would happily have put down $50 saying that McDonnell wouldn't restore the civil rights to but maybe 10% as many felons as Gov. Tim Kaine Kaine did. He's on pace to match Kaine. This is still a terrible system—we're one of just two states in the nation that still give only the governor the power to restore rights.
- PolitiFact Virginia: Virginia lottery claims all profits since 1999 have gone to education
Turns out that this is basically true. I'd wondered.
- Washington Post: In Utah, Sen. Hatch courts tea partyers one by one in quest for survival
I'm not what you'd call a fan of Sen. Orrin Hatch, but it's depressing to see how low he's stopping to kowtow to the most extreme elements of his party. He's taking to swearing in his speeches because it makes the tea partiers happy. He's been consulting a muscle car builder on his votes several times each day, apparently because he wants to make the guy feel special. He's having to apologize for his decades-long friendship with Sen. Ted Kennedy, because this bunch sees cooperation or even friendship with Democrats as failure. This article neatly summarizes everything that's wrong with politics. While claiming—weakly—to have (silently) opposed President Bush's policies, they're reproducing President Bush's scorched-earth politics.
- Pinboard: Anatomy of a Crushing
I have come to the conclusion that my future projects must include a revenue stream. It's swell to create a service for a community good, but without a revenue stream, that's committing to doing something forever because it once seemed like a good idea. That'd just dumb. The low-priced social bookmark service Pinboard (which I'm using to post this right now) has a great model that illustrates how a revenue stream can make a service significantly better without significantly reducing the accessibility of it. Also, I just love every detail here about how Pinboard is designed and how it was created, because it's precisely how I develop, for better or for worse. I thought I was the only one!
Spain’s Christmas lottery is fascinating. It began in 1812, and billions are given away each year. Unlike in the U.S., nobody walks away with the bulk of it. The number is only five digits long, so this year 1,850 people will receive a $430,000 share of the $3.1B pot. I find government lotteries both shameful (it’s a tax on those who cannot do math, who tend strongly to be poor) and great (it’s a voluntary tax — which is the best kind — and it’s how we funded the Revolutionary War), but the worst part is that nine times out of ten, the winners are broke and miserable just a few years later (i.e.: 1, 2, 3, 4) because the sort of person who plays the lottery tends strongly to be the sort person who manages their money badly. But $430k isn’t life-ruining money, and spread across 1,850 people, it has the potential to have some genuine trickle-down economic impact.