CalPundit Kevin Drum interviews journalist Joshuah Micah Marshall, host of Talking Points Memo. Fascinating stuff: "Marshall says there's good news for bloggers everywhere: more and more mainstream journalists are paying attention to what we write: 'Those folks read blogs. And they'd also like to imitate them. There's a lot of crossover.'"
Some time yesterday, the hit counter passed 15,000, thanks in no small part to more than 250 visitors referred my way by Digby. Thanks for visiting! I'm sorry things are a bit slow right now, but there's plenty of stuff in the archives, and I strongly encourage you to visit the fine sites in the blogroll to the left. And by all means, please visit again soon!
Update: In my review, I mentioned the film's raucous theme song, which is sung--if not shouted--by the film's three lead actors over a heavy rock beat. I didn't want to destroy the site's bandwidth by posting it there, but you can listen to the song here.
I've been in training all morning with no computer access (yes, it's agony...I keep hauling out my Palm just to get a computer fix), so no opportunity to blog. I have at least two posts I'm hoping to make today, but for now I'm off to lunch. Ciao.
Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the Bush Administration's case for war with Iraq at the UN today. As I am in training for my new position, I have not had much opportunity to digest information at this time. Quick reactions, though, subject to change upon further feflection or more information:
If we know about these so-called mobile labs, why haven't we taken them out? I'm sure limited strikes against proscribed weapons facilities would be much easier to gain support for--if the Administration's goal really is disarming Iraq.
While Powell seems to have pointed to Iraq as not cooperating with inspections--specifics of which premise I understand Hans Blix disputes--as a rationale for war, it's a far cry from "Iraq could have the Bomb within months," as Bush once claimed.
The Iraq-al Qaeda link is hazy at best. As I've said before, if the Bush Adminstration really has the goods, it already has all the authorization it needs
As Colin Powell and other diplomats meet tomorrow at the UN to present the Bush Administration's case for war with Iraq, cameras will no doubt record their entrances, walking by a huge baby-blue UN banner. That banner conceals a reproduction of Pablo Picasso's painting Guernica, which depicts the horror of Spanish civilians as they're bombed bu Fascist aircraft during the Spanish Civil War.
No, it wouldn't do at all to have a reminder of the horror war brings to civilians.
There are those who contend that the inevitable civilian casualties of Bush's upcoming war are regrettable but justified, as failing to attack Saddam would result in the deaths of American citizens in an Iraqi--or Iraqi-sponsored--attack. The problem is, I simply don't see such an imminent threat, nor any evidence that inasmuch as such a threat exists, Saddam can't be contained and deterred as he has been for a decade.
Certainly the US needs to ensure that Iraq doesn't pose a threat. Certainly all right-thinking people should oppose Saddam. And I do acknowledge that there are circumstances that warrant military action--although "military action" does not necessarily mean "invasion." (Question: If the Bush Administration has intel on proscribed WMD sites, why hasn't it launched airstrikes to take them out under the "preemption" doctrine?) But in light of information that the US may strike Iraq with as many as 800 cruise missiles in 48 hours--twice the number as in the entire Gulf War I--if we're going to get all Guenrica on the civilians of Iraq, I'd prefer it be demonstrably the option of necessity, not choice, and last not first, resort.
(Context alert: Indianapolis has no subway, trolley or ferry.)
Odd as it sounds, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that more than 230 people in the Indianapolis area take a subway to work. Another 133 hop on a trolley, and 25 take a ferry.
"That kind of information isn't wrong," said Carol Rogers, who compiles census data for Indiana University's Business Research Center. "It just looks stupid."
The Census Bureau refers to these oddities as "anomalies," and they're usually products of a flawed question.
Phil Salopek, a Census Bureau demographer, said that likely explains the transportation stats.
"The question on the census questionnaire asks, what kind of transportation did you use to get to work last week?" he said. "So what you're likely seeing in this case is a reflection of people who were out of town that week before on business."
Several days ago I mentioned the pseudo-lesbian Russian pop duo Tatu. In recent developments, the BBC has refused to air the video of the pair's hit song "All The Things She Said," as it contains a brief shot of the two kissing. (Apparently the fact that the video also features non-stop footage of the girls in soaking wet white shirts didn't bother the censors...) Concert footage will appear in the video's place.
A BBC1 spokeswoman confirmed yesterday: “We think it’s too raunchy for our viewers.”
Sun columnist Dominic Mohan decries the move, saying that although the video is "distasteful and tacky," banning it only generates more attention for the duo, and correctly pointing out that pop stars from Elvis onward have pushed the boundaries of sexual convention. Mohan has more of a problem with the depiction of the young girls--age 17 and 18--as sexual objects, but notes that such exploitation is hardly unprecedented in pop music.
Undoubtedly, their clinches and suggestive school uniforms got them noticed initially but they got to No1 because they’ve made a bloody good pop record, a catchy slice of Europop.
This is nothing more than a rather tacky gimmick used to get a record talked about as Britney Spears, or should I say Britney Spears’ record label, did in 1999. And it didn’t do her much harm.
Again, she had a corking record in Baby One More Time but it was the school uniform that got her noticed — and she was only 17 at the time too.
...And don’t forget Madonna was flirting with lesbianism around the time these teenagers were born. It’s all been done before. In Tatu, all that we are seeing is an example of the latest cynical twist on pop marketing.
Since blogging is slow, I didn't take note of the release yesterday of Bush's big-spending, record defecit budget. Really, I thought that the notion of massive boosts of credit-card spending by Bush hardly come as a surprise.
But this Washington Post analysis packed a premise that may come as a surprise to anyone who beleived Bush's Campaign 2000 rhetoric: "Embracing Big Tax Cuts and Deficits, Bush Moves Away From Compassionate Conservatism"
In the face of burgeoning budget deficits, the president has proposed new tax cuts that would cost the Treasury nearly $1.5 trillion over 10 years, on top of the $1.35 trillion tax cut passed in 2001. The tax cuts' potential impact on government enterprises has caught many supporters and detractors by surprise.
New controls would be placed on poverty programs, such as the earned income tax credit, school lunch subsidies and Medicaid, to ensure that billions of dollars in subsidies do not go to people not entitled to them. Two huge entitlement programs -- Medicare and Medicaid -- would be in for changes that would push millions of senior citizens into private-sector managed health plans while giving states far more control over their own health care spending.
"I am absolutely delighted he is doing so much more than people had any right to expect," said Dan Mitchell, a tax analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "I'm almost to the point where I might smile." [Ed: I think "fear" might be a better word...]
If Bush wins his entire agenda, the White House expects a $304 billion deficit in 2003, rising to $307 billion in 2004. After shrinking to $178 billion in 2007, the deficit would begin to climb again in 2008, the last year of deficits the White House tried to project. Only after 2008 do the costs of the president's Medicare proposal and many of his tax cuts begin to appear. [emphasis added]
Of course, one would characterize a transaction in which thr true costs were hidded as "dishonest." One might even characterize it as "fraud."
I wonder what the centrist voters who fell for Bush's "compassionate conservative" schtick are thinking this morning? The point is, I strongly doubt most Americans who voted for Bush in 2000 thought they were voting for this.
I'm much appreciative of the nod from Hullaballoo. Welcome, visitors; please feel free to look around and leave a comment if you care. I realize things are a little light so far this week, but there's lots of stuff further down and loads of goodies in the archives.
"It's very politically astute, but it's also fiendishly fun." Thanks, Digby, I like that. You have my gratitude.
One quick exception, resulting from checking my email after posting that announcement: I'm pleased to note that Destroy All Monsters editor-in-chief Musashi has launched his own Web log, Destroy all Blogs. So far it's been largely focused on comix and leftish political opinion, which is, of course, definitely my cup of sake.
I know, I said last week that blogging would be light, and it wasn't, but as I wrap up the final two days in my current position blogging will be sparse indeed. Visit the fine sites on the blogroll to the left.