It's not every day you get an email from a former director of the U.S. Mint (unless you're married to one, probably) — but it's also not every day that you write about the very real possibility that the U.S. Treasury might mint a platinum coin worth one trillion dollars. Either way, it was an excellent surprise to hear from Philip Diehl, the former Mint director and Treasury chief of staff who drafted Sec. 5112 of title 31, United States Code with Rep. Mike Castle — in other words, the guy who wrote the "trillion-dollar coin" law. His take? Not only does the law clearly allow for the coin to be minted, it also would have "no negative macroeconomic effects."
Today, New York Times columnist and Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote that President Obama should be "absolutely" prepared to mint a one trillion dollar platinum coin and use it to pay the government's bills. It wasn't a typo: a lot of people are discussing the trillion-dollar coin as a way to avoid a fight over the debt ceiling. But what is it? And why? And whose face will be on it? Here's our guide.
We've been trying something different, as Congress has been pretending to nearly shut down the government or arbitrarily destroy the global economic system for the fourth time this year: Not biting! They'll always reach an agreement, after acting out a months-long scripted fight that we've seen before. But now we're at the stage when children lawmakers begin channeling action movies for inspiration, so we'll take that as our cue.
Police Chief Michael Scott of Smithfield, N.C., has seen his 2012 gas budget cut by $10,000. He's about to ask the town council if he can reallocate some of his $30,000 office supply budget to pay for gas. If they don't allow it, do you know what he is going to do? That's right! He is going to let crime fester in the streets of Smithfield, like Gotham City before the Batman.
If you're the kind of person who likes to casually drop Debbie Downer statistics into your holiday party conversations, here's some new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will certainly be of interest to you: 8 million adults reported considering suicide at some point between 2008 and 2009, and 2 million actually made plans to do it.
No! There. That was easy. But the San Jose Mercury News reports on a growing movement among San Francisco restaurant workers to make the addition of a 25 percent gratuity to high-end dining bills mandatory. (What's with San Francisco's obsession with tips legislation? First the circumcision ban, now this.)
If you grew up on the East Coast of the U.S., you've likely dined at a Friendly's restaurant in your lifetime, and very possibly more than once. It was the depressing, suburban chain restaurant that was a little less depressing than the others, mainly because the promise of an ice cream sundae — the "Happy Ending," as their menu dubbed it, sweetly oblivious to any vulgar connotations such a term might imply — awaited you after every overcooked hamburger and soggy tuna melt.
Looking for just the right sentiment to hand a recently sacked executive assistant this Used-To-Be-My-Secretary's Day? Perhaps Hallmark's new line of unemployment sympathy cards will fit the bill. As Derek McCracken, creative director with the Hallmark Greeting Card Company, told NPR, "A job, like any loss, is a grieving process. We offer more ['you'll get through this' cards], versus dwelling on the loss of the job itself."
Meet "Carla," who earned her law degree a decade ago and actually used it, unlike some people we know. In 2009 she was laid off and couldn't find another law job, because they've all been outsourced or backsourced or stolen by the Olds. So she found what her law school's Office of Career Services might call "an alternative career."
One-percent presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is playing a sneaky game in his desperate quest to remain a viable presidential candidate throughout the fall. He's trying to preserve his media image as a "moderate" alternative by letting it be known that he believes in evolution and climate change. Since we have such low standards for "moderation" now, this makes him appear serious. But then he sneaks off and delivers the Republican base a radically conservative plan for the economy, a.k.a. the thing that matters. Do not fall for this seemingly nice man!