Seen in newspaper vending machine: Pittsburgh has already seen over $900million in gambling, over the time period of one year. Mild digging suggests that Pittsburgh's school budget is around $527million, $200million of which comes from taxes (where does the rest come from? According to the budget, the city and the school district are different, and there's probably a lot of complexity between the two of them, temporarily ignoring whatever the county does -- their website has PDFs suggesting their actual budget for 2007 was $531million). Anyhow, it really pisses me off that society is expending so many resources ($900million plus all the construction and employment costs) on gambling when there are so many better things that the same money could be spent on. At least, like with other societal problems, it looks like society is going to take steps (and allocate funds) to deal with the social problems gambling cause - we still have at least the practice of, if not deep consensus on, caring for people. I hope at some point a majority of the people come to the conclusion that allowing casinos was a terrible idea and decide to pull the plug.
I'm amused that the whole dispute in Myanmar that's created so much international press is actually about the end of gas/oil subsidies (not that their government is particularly enlightened). It's unfortunate that Musharraf is facing so much international criticism now as well, especially that Bhutto (who's a much better politician than he is, and also rather corrupt) seems to be instrumental in organising a lot of it. Pakistan needs a strong, principled leader with an eye to modernising society and a lack of interest in personal gain - Musharraf seems to be such a leader, and he has dramatically improved Pakistan over his time in power. If what democracy would bring would be a weak leader like Karzai (Afghenistan) or a shrewd, deceitful and corrupt leader like Bhutto, then may Musharraf reign as dictator until he either becomes corrupt or is no longer interested/able to serve. Serving the public good is more important than listening to public voices.
On the upside, at least the birthplace of the Solidarity movement is dying.
Cats continue to have increasingly bad fights - need to figure out what to do about that.
Sometimes my laptop's video card gets confused to the extent that rebooting won't fix it and even GRUB is illegible - the system needs to spend at least 15 minutes off to recover. I wonder what's going on when that happens - I don't think it relates to overheating (it only happens once every few months and generally hasn't happened when I've done things that should cause the system to overheat)...