I'm using Scrivener for a large writing project. An excellent tool, but not for everyone. It isn't overloaded with features, allows for non-linear writing techniques, and how can you not like something with edit button is an image of a Moleskine notebook and pencil.
There is a 30 day trial period. Inexpensive and better than any other tool I've used for non-technical book-like projects. Technical work is a completely different issue.
Most of the people who have studied the reported costs claim there is dramatic under-reporting of the real costs and figures over one trillion are common. When you add interest, direct impacts to the economy and paying for injuries the figures go way up....
A piece on The Three Trillion Dollar War, by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes. The Bush crew will claim Stiglitz is a hack because he won the Nobel Prize in Economics making him one of those untrustworthy academics, but the rest of us may want to pay some attention.
By way of context, Stiglitz and Bilmes list what even one of these trillions could have paid for: 8 million housing units, or 15 million public school teachers, or healthcare for 530 million children for a year, or scholarships to university for 43 million students. Three trillion could have fixed America's social security problem for half a century. America, says Stiglitz, is currently spending $5bn a year in Africa, and worrying about being outflanked by China there: "Five billion is roughly 10 days' fighting, so you get a new metric of thinking about everything."
I ask what discoveries Stiglitz found the most disturbing. He laughs, somewhat mirthlessly. "There were actually so many things - some of it we suspected, but there were a few things I couldn't believe." The fact that a contractor working as a security guard gets about $400,000 a year, for example, as opposed to a soldier, who might get about $40,000. That there is a discrepancy we might have guessed - but not its sheer scale, or the fact that, because it is so hard to get insurance for working in Iraq, the government pays the premiums; or the fact that, if these contractors are injured or killed, the government pays both death and injury benefits on top. Understandably, this has forced a rise in sign-up bonuses (as has the fact that the army is so desperate for recruits that it is signing up convicted felons). "So we create a competition for ourselves. Nobody in their right mind would have done that. The Bush administration did that ... that I couldn't believe. And that's not included in the cost the government talks about."
It is the second most expensive US war (in terms of money) and the second longest - McCain thinks things are currently going well and may make it the most expensive and longest war.
We will be paying for the Bush/Cheney/Republican disaster for a very long time ... as will our children. Lots of lost opportunity, but at least the right Republican contractors and oil companies are doing well.
There are times when I think ann Coulter is really a closeted performance artists duping the far right ... but I'm inclined to think she is really just one of them who happens to be more gifted than most when it comes to screaming in babble. She lacks the range and cleverness of Able.
Many fascinating little bits. The atheist/agnostic percentage (I would argue that these are in a different dimension than religion, but the piece of the population where the concept of a god is just not an issue) runs about four percent ... roughly the percentage of people who buy stick shift cars in the US -- or the percentage of Europeans who buy automatics...