links for 2010-06-02

  • I am not on Facebook. I have never bought anything on eBay. My Amazon account is retired and my LinkedIn activity lapsed long ago.
    I regularly tweet on Twitter. So at best, my online social activity is at the low end of the scale.
    But I am fascinated by the marketing opportunities the online world presents. Every business under the sun, including newspapers such as this one, is trying to figure out how to make money through the Internet.
    It looks as if one Washington enterprise might have cracked the code.
  • Who is poor in America? This is not an easy question to answer, and the Obama administration would make it harder. It's hard because there's no conclusive definition of poverty. Low income matters, though how low is unclear. Poverty is also a mind-set that fosters self-defeating behavior — bad work habits, family breakdown, out-of-wedlock births and addictions. Finally, poverty results from lousy luck: accidents, job losses, disability.
    Despite poverty's messiness, we've tended to measure progress against it by a single statistic, the federal poverty line. It was originally designed in the early 1960s by Mollie Orshansky, an analyst at the Social Security Administration, and became part of Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. She took the Agriculture Department's estimated cost for a bare-bones — but adequate — diet and multiplied it by three. That figure is adjusted annually for inflation. In 2008, the poverty threshold was $21,834 for a four-member family with two children under 18.

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