Category Archives: News

Financial advice, bankrupt of content

I recently came across this article on Yahoo Finance.  Was somewhat upset to see this make the front page of lifehacker.  Reading through this article, does it actually say anything?

For example:

Scottrade recently polled 226 registered investment advisers on the topic and found that 71% don’t believe $1 million is enough for the average American family. Most said families need to save double, or more than triple, the amount.

Why would a person need $3,000,000 to retire?  Does that take into account inflation? Does it assume very low interest rates in the long-term future, even though it might make such a figure even more difficult to accumulate?

It seems like a firm just polled investment advisors, who said that we ought to consume a large quantity of their financial products.  I’m sure they would say that all Americans should all have $1.5MM in disability insurance too (the product that Ameriprise got in trouble for pushing).

They belittle the retirement calculators, but without actually running the numbers, how would a person plan? The approach suggested by this– use a one-size, ballpark figure–seems to be the opposite of the smart approach.


The Bagel is Back!

We’ve been on hiatus for about six weeks in order to get work done IRL.  But with the election in full swing, and with the financial world entering the apocalypse, it’s time to get to re-enter the world of hyperlinks, trackbacks, and snarky comments.

To commemorate our re-launch, we’ll be running three substantive posts this week: the first about a pair of notable advertising campaigns, the second about the EFF’s suit to end the warrantless wiretapping program, and the third on the media coverage of the Wall Street bailout proposal, which failed today.

But first, an acknowledgment: the Bagel was wrong.  Sen. Dodd was not selected as Barack Obama’s running matel; that job went to Sen. Joe Biden.  Likewise, our un-published prediction that Sen. McCain would choose Lindsay Graham or Olympia Snowe went unfulfilled, although there’s a slim chance that Graham may get the job after all.

Long shot: It’s Dodd

Quick post with a prediction for the Democratic vice presidential nominee: Sen. Chris Dodd.  He’s smart, well-spoken even if he doesn’t excite people, and cares deeply about constitutional rights.


Sen. Chris Dodd

Sen. Chris Dodd

Joe Biden would work, too, but we’re feeling contrarian today.

IOC Embarrassed?

An excerpt from an IOC-BOGOC press conference held today was posted on  In it, reporter Alex Thompson asks an IOC spokeswoman five times whether the IOC is “embarrassed” about Beijing’s performance with regard to human rights promises.

A grilling at the Olympics

In the interest of fairness, we’d like to excerpt the response of Beijing Olympic Committee secretary Wang Wei: Continue reading

China protest zones unused

The three parks that China designated protest zones are going unused, although its not for lack of trying.

Below is a quick link to a New York Times article on the three so-called “Protest Zones” established in Beijing during the Olympics.  (It should be pointed out that World Park is quite a distance from central Beijing.)

In an authoritarian country that bans almost all forms of public protest, the newfound openness seemed too good to be true. And it was.  


Five days after the Olympics began, not a single demonstration had taken place in the official protest zones. The authorities have declined to say whether any applications have been approved, and they did not acknowledge the detention of would-be demonstrators.

  Continue reading

American travels to Tibet, stirs up trouble

A quick link to the story of a Chinese-American young woman who, in a sort of quarter-life crisis, takes up pro-Tibet activism and makes a pilgrimage there.  (This seems to be based on the Huffpo blogger’s interview of the woman alone.)

A plain-clothed Chinese man was holding up his cell phone unusually high in her direction. Wen didn’t think anything of it, but as she was walking down, the police officer who had come to her room and threatened her the night before, stopped her and told her to follow him to the police station. “I thought, this is it. I can’t believe I took those pictures.”

What’s striking to me is that her American nationality was of no help when Ms. Novick was detained by Chinese authorities, because she was traveling under her Taiwanese passport, and so was treated as a Chinese citizen, without consular protection.

State to citizen: try applying for naturalization

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot from colleagues about the process of obtaining a visa to work or study in the United States.  The comic below, for example, was held up as an excellent depiction of what an international student goes through.

The F-1 Student Visa Process Explained

The F-1 Student Visa Process Explained

I’m posting with a message to those international students, or other prospective immigrants: don’t feel bad about this process, about the need to produce your undergraduate transcript, or your advisor’s C.V.  We’re making American citizens go through it, too.   Continue reading