"Feed the Children" TV commercials really bother me.

Now I don't like to see children suffering any more than anyone else. I feel very bad for the terrible situation that many people face. But the TV commercials really bother me.

Consider this story from the BBC. Dominic Nkhata makes $40 a month, and supports his wife, his daughter and four orphans. His rent for a 2 bedroom place in a shanty town is $38 a month. Also from the article, 2 kilos of maize meal costs 2400 kwacha - by my calculations about $0.18, or $0.09 a kilo.

A kilo of maize meal could potentially meet 1/3 of a childs dietary needs for 10 days (from the tables on this page) So theoretically, you could meet the entire dietary needs of a child for $0.81 a month. We'll say $2 just to leave room for error and other foods like beans/etc.

So if it costs a total of $2 a month to feed a child and a factory worker only makes $40 a month - why the hell are they having children? The problem here is twofold. Sure, the economy is bad. Sure, they don't make much money. But at the same time, there are a lot of irresponsible parents out there that are busy creating the next generation of ultrapoor.

I don't think the solution is to feed the children. It may aleviate suffering now, but in 10 years, there will be even more ultrapoor children to feed because their parents didn't starve to death.

Instead, we need to attack the source of the problem. Bring birth control to the masses. Educate the young on the expenses of having children. Reduce the birth rate so the economy has a chance to catch up. Instead of meeting the most basic human needs, we can concentrate on education and infrastructure.

UCLA has serious admissions problems.

In a story in the LA Times, it was reported that of the incoming freshman class of 4,852 people this fall, only 96 are black - the lowest number since 1973. Furthermore, 20 of those students were accepted based on athletic achievement. Per the article, many of the students that were rejected by UCLA were accepted by other top tier schools such as UC Berkeley and USC.

UCLA claims that it "receives over 42,000 freshman applications and admits approximately one of every four applicants for its freshman class." This means that they accept ~10,500 students, of which 4,700 chose to enroll. Given these ratios, UCLA theoretically accepted approximately 213 black students of 853 that applied. Considering that the United States population is 11% black, if the applicant pool were representive of the population - there should have been 5,000 applications instead of 853.

So what the hell is going on here? UCLA blames that Prop 209 which made affirmative action illegal. If that's the case, why is UCLA the only school with such incredible difficulties? Shouldn't all schools be experiencing the same problem?

On UCLA's website, there is a section talking about admission policies. UCLA makes three seperate evaluations of each candidate; "an academic review, an assessment of personal achievements, and an assessment of life challenges." In the "academic review" section, "Primary emphasis is placed on the GPA in college preparatory courses."

When it comes to public high school in California, minority students are getting the shaft.

"California’s overall graduation rate is approximately 71 percent––16 percentage points lower than the official rate of 87 percent. The graduation rates for African-American and Latino students are even lower, 60 percent for Latino students and 56.6 percent for African-Americans."

The condition of schools in minority areas is deplorable. Wealthy neighborhoods have the political clout to form their own school districts - for example Beverly Hills Unified and San Marino Unified. Everyone else gets shoved into the giant and terrible Los Angeles Unified. Instead of a fair distribution of education dollars, wealthy students get fancy computer labs, the best teachers, and latest textbooks while poor students get run down facilities and outdated material. It's easy to offer a wide variety of college prep classes when your graduation rate is 98% and you have a huge budget. It's another thing altogether when you are struggling to pay your staff and only 55% of your students graduate.

I believe that UCLA's insistance on emphasizing college prep classes is the cause of this great injustice. They are specifically eliminating many students who didn't have the opportunity to get a terrific highschool education - but may still be very qualified individuals.

Let there be light, indeed.

Operation "Forget about Iraq" in full force.

Have you ever wondered why politicians choose seemingly random times to start big fights over issues that won't be easily resolved.

No matter how you feel about the issues, the thought has to have crossed your mind that maybe, just maybe, someone is trying to distract the public from other issues. Like say, certain countries in the Middle East that are being occupied by the US military.

From a financial perpective, these wars have been terrible disasters. We've dumped a tremendous amount of money into Iraq and Afghanistan at a time when the government isn't even collecting enough money to pay it's own bills. Eventually, this is going to come back and bite us in the ass. If we're lucky, we'll see a long period of higher taxes and lower government services while we try to pay back the debt. If we're unlucky, we'll see the US government default on it's debt and the economies of the world suffer for decades to come.

But hey! Forget about all that. Let's talk about gay marriage and illegal immigration!

Surprise! Donald Trump is not a financial genius.

If you've ever watched his show, the thought may have crossed your mind that maybe the Donald isn't really such a brilliant guy. The media perception is that he superchamps at business. He even has his own business school!

Have you ever wondered how the Donald became so rich? I sure never did. I guess it was his repulsive behavior/lifestyle/combover. Anyhow, a few weeks ago, after seeing his sweet new signature ties at Ross, I ran across his wikipedia entry.

So it turns out that his father was the genius. Daddy got the Donald started by giving him the connections and cosigning his loans. Daddy helped bail out the Donald during his enormous bankruptcy which hurt so many investors. Daddy died with at least $250MM dollars, not counting whatever he passed on to the Donald before that.

So really, what is the difference between the Donald and Paris Hilton? Both are attention whores. Both are full of themselves. Neither are particularily smart.