Michelle Obama, in proportion to $1 Trillion

It isn't easy to represent even a minimal estimate of the amount of money which has already been committed to melting banks, even leaving aside the latest addition of $1 trillion in "quantitative easing," and the graphic below is just another try.

A dollar bill is about 6" by 2.5". A stack of 100 dollar bills is about 1" high. So $100 is about 15 cubic inches. $1 trillion is accordingly about 10 billion times 15 cubic inches, or 150,000,000,000 cubic inches. One cubic foot is 12 x 12 x 12 inches, or 1728 cubic inches. 150,000,000,000 divided by 1728 is about 86,500,000 cubic feet. This is about the same volume as an 82 storey building, 440 feet wide, and 220 feet deep. Michelle Obama is about 6 feet tall.

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The Obamas will grow vegetables on the White House lawn

Populista passed along a link to great news from the New York Times:

On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt's victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets (the president doesn't like them) but arugula will make the cut.

While the organic garden will provide food for the first family's meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at time when obesity has become a national concern.

In an interview in her office, Mrs. Obama said, "My hope is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities."

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot in a spot visible to passers-by on E Street. (It's just below the Obama girls' swing set.) Students from the school, which has had a garden since 2001, will also help plant, harvest and cook the vegetables, berries and herbs.

Almost the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, "whether they like it or not," Mrs. Obama said laughing. "Now Grandma, my mom, I don't know." Her mother, she said, would probably sit back and say: "Isn't that lovely. You missed a spot."

Urban gardens are becoming more popular, and I'm happy that the Obama will set a good example at the White House.

Thanks are due to Michael Pollan for putting this idea forward in an "Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief" in the New York Times Sunday Magazine last October. Obama read Pollan's piece and paraphrased points from it in an interview with Time magazine.

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America is Cool Again

    Not since the early sixties has America so epitomized the notion of cool in the world as we do today. What began as a fist bump on the primary trail has reached a national shout-out before both chambers of Congress. The Obamas in the White House has once again provided the world with the desire to be a part of America and part of the cool that they perceive America to be. Whether it's the pop star reception of Hillary Clinton in Asia or the talk around European capitals the buzz is unmistakable. The thing about the Kennedy administration that many have forgotten was that they had style and exuded cool to not only Americans but to the world. They made other people in the world want to be American and if they couldn't be American to immolate American style and coolness.

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Into The Arms Of Our Lovely First Ladies

Arms. Who would have guessed that in the middle of an economic collapse while we’re engaged in two wars and the ecology in jeopardy, anybody would even think to make an issue about a woman's arms. But reporting every minute detail of the President and his family has been going on since “Lady Washington” went shopping for “new fashioned” shoes as she traveled to her new home in New York, at 58 years old. Mrs. Lincoln, as well, was criticized at every turn, for everything from her expensive clothing to her “loud and unrefined” nature, by a new generation of female journalists whom she dubbed the "vampyre press".

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First Lady Advises Kids To Have Pride and Grace

A group of 180 Washington D.C. school children got a rare opportunity to learn about African American History yesterday when they were special guests of the White House as part of Black Heritage Month.   The mostly 6th and 7th grade students were joined by Malia and Sasha Obama, the grandchildren of Admiral Rochon, and children of the White House staff.

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