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Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Jun 29, 2009

Lions and tigers and cheetahs — oh my — they’re on the kitchen table. Plus, it’ judgment day for Bernie Madoff. He’s asking for 12 years in prison because somehow his lawyers have figured out that Madoff only has 13 years to live. Those stories and more in today’s edition of Morning Reading, which starts right now:

At CNN Money, George Mannes scoffs at Madoff’s sentencing arguments:

Hmmm. Is twelve years really a near-death sentence for the scammer? I don’t think so. First, let’s look at the Social Security life expectancy tables that Sorkin alludes to. Yes, according to the SSA, a 71-year-old male, on average, will live another 12.66 years. But that’s on average; one-half of Madoff’s cohort will live longer than that. And if, 12 years from now, an 83-year-old Madoff shuffled out of jail, he’d have a one-in-three chance of celebrating his 87th birthday. He’d have a one-in-five chance of making it to 90. Just short of an effective life sentence, my foot.

In the New Republic, Senior Editor John Judis argues it’s time to start thinking about a second stimulus package (!!??)…

Increasing employment through government spending is the most important way that the White House and Congress can get us out of this slump. That’s worth remembering as Republicans and renegade Democrats call for budget cuts. This is not a time for cuts–it’s time to begin thinking about whether a second stimulus program will be necessary.

Let’s just say that Judis’s argument isn’t going over so well with commenters. This about sums up the response:

jesus, you people are dangerous. a second stimulus, though the first one hasn’t even begun to be spent, with the effects of what little has been spent so very underwhelming?

In the Financial Times, Clive Crook has a pretty damning column about the energy and health care bills:

On both climate change and healthcare, in other words, the US wills the end but not the means. This is where a president trusted by the electorate and unafraid to explain hard choices would be so valuable. Barack Obama, where are you?

The president has cast himself not as a leader of reform, but as a cheerleader for “reform” – meaning anything, really, that can plausibly be called reform, however flawed. He has defined success down so far that many kinds of failure now qualify.

This doesn’t have much to do with the economy, but it’s just a “wow” story. A South African woman is sharing her home with four orphaned cheetahs, five lions and two tigers:

Riana bought her first cheetah, Fiela in 2006, after realising the big cats were in trouble and heading for extinction with only 1000 left in Africa.

She left her full time job working for the department of justice – a position she had held for 22 years – and found temporary employment on a game ranch where she could raise her beloved big cat.

Here, kitty, kitty.

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