The Page That Counts :: Summer 2005

Number of stories that ran in major newspapers in the last six months of 2004 in which

“Social Security” appeared within five words of “crisis” or “looming”:  159

Number of times the same phrase occurred in the same period a year before: 18 (1)

Year that the trustees of Social Security expect their program's trust fund to run out: 2041

Percent of benefits that would still be paid through the program's other sources of income in 2041: 74

Year that the trustees of Medicare expect their program's trust fund to run out: 2020 (2)

Percent of answers about billing provided by Medicare customer service representatives

that were wrong: 96

Percent of wrong answers that a toad, through random leaps, provided to the same questions: 50 (3)

Estimated deaths from the December 2004 tsunami: near 220,000 (4)

Estimated deaths from malaria every year: 1.3 million (5)

Cost of lifesaving malaria treatment for one person: 25 cents to $2.40 (6)

U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis in 2004: $350 million

Amount the contribution decreased from the year before: $200 million (7)

Number of prisoners held by the U.S. military in Iraq in October 2004: 4,300 (8)

Number held in March 2005: 10,200 (9)

Number of people threatened with loss of all public library access in Salinas, California: 150,000 (10)

Cumulative loss of funding for libraries across America in the past year and a half: $111.5 million (11)

Percent of Americans who agreed with the statement that libraries and librarians play an essential role in our democracy and are “needed now more than ever”: 83 (12)

Number of libraries that were asked by law enforcement officials, under the USA PATRIOT Act, for records of their patrons' reading habits in 2002: 444

Number of libraries that refused the requests for the records: 225

Percent of librarians who say they would challenge a court order asking them to provide information secretly about a patron: 21.7 (13)

Number of times Congress has voted to raise the federal minimum wage since 1997: 0 (14)

Number of times Congress has voted to raise its own salary since 1997: 7 (15)

Number of moose that have broken into retail stores in Norway over the past year: at least 2 (16)

Number of additional centimeters children in sunlit schools grow over a two-year period compared to children in artificially lit schools: 2.1

Amount less tooth decay in children attending sunlit, rather than artificially lit, schools: 9 times (17)

Percent of Americans who believe that buying a highly fuel-efficient car is patriotic: 66

Percent of NASCAR fans who believe this: 67 (18)

1. Geoffrey Nunberg, “Privatization and the English Language,” The American Prospect, February 2004. 2. Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees, “A Summary of the 2004 Annual Reports,” 3. Lawrence R. Huntoon, M.D., Ph.D., “Medicare: Incompetence-Based Bureaucracy,” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Winter 2004. 4. Michael Thieren, “Asian Tsunami: Death-Toll Addiction and its Downside,” World Health Organization  Bulletin, February 2005, 5. Scott P. Layne, M.D. UCLA Department of Epidemiology, 6. Medecins Sans Frontieres, “What is the Cost and Who Will Pay?” 7. Kaiser Network, “Global Fund to Begin New Funding Round in 2005; U.S. Cuts 2005 Contribution to Fund,” November 19, 2004, 8. The Associated Press, “Prisoner Count in Iraq Doubles in 5 Months,” March 30, 2005, 9. Human Rights First, “Behind the Wire,” March 30, 2005, media/2005_alerts/usls_0330_det.htm 10. The American Library Association, “The Campaign to Save America's Libraries,” 2004, piopromotions/campaignsave.htm. 11. The American Library Association, “Public Library Use: Fact Sheet 6,” 2004, 12. The American Library Association, “Fact Sheet and Timeline,” 2004, 13. Leigh S. Estabrook, Library Research Center at the University of Illinois, “Public Libraries and Civil Liberties,” 2002, 14. The Department of Labor, “History of Federal Minimum Wage Rates Under the Fair Labor Act, 1938-1996,” 15. “CRS Report for Congress: Salaries of Members of Congress: A List of Payable Rates and Effective Dates, 1789-2004. 16. Aftenposten, Norway, Norwegian News in English, “Angry Moose Attacks Dogsled, After Another Runs Wild in Clothing Store,” January 11, 2005, 17. Mike Nicklas and Gary Bailey, “Analysis of the Performance of Students in Daylit Schools,” 1996, 18. Opinion Research Corporation, “American Views on Fuel-Efficient Automobiles and a Federal 40 MPG Standard: Summary of Survey Findings,” March 17, 2005.


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