Tuesday, November 23, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Secretary of Defense Ron Artest.

Congress in "Good Decision" Shocker Congress has eliminated funding for two nuclear weapons research programs, including the one designed to produce so-called "bunker busters" that President Bush says are essential to the nation's security. This is a surprising blow to Bush's overall nuclear strategy, and a spokesman for the think tank that came up with that strategy said bitterly, ""We just don't seem to be able to turn the corner even on researching what's doable with new kinds of weapons." I know! Damn the public's pig-headed aversion to the total extinction of life on the planet!

The Liberal Media Strikes Again Last week, we brought you the exciting news that a UC Berkeley study into e-voting irregularities in Florida shaved between 130,000 and 260,000 votes off Bush's total in that state - not enough to reverse the course of the election, but a significant warning that e-voting is a dangerous threat to democracy. I say "we" brought it to you because, along with Keith Olbermann and the Oakland Tribune, the MLWL is seemingly one of the only media sources in the world interested in talking about this major story. This Media Matters analysis tells the sorry tale: Even after an MIT professor duplicated the results of the UC Berkeley study at the behest of the Associated Press, the mainstream press has yet to touch the story with a ten foot pole. Olbermann is literally the only TV outlet to talk about the story at all.

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina Yesterday, I mentioned Argentina in my daily round-up of Bush administration tragedies. While I was thinking of that country's slide, under Peron, from being one of the 10 wealthiest countries in the world to being one of the poorest in the hemisphere, Paul Krugman - Princeton econcomist and NY Times columnist - has another reason for the comparison. Krugman, currently on sabbatical from the newspaper while he writes an economics textbook, says that our economy today looks very much like Argentina's in the late 1990s. Argentina, you'll recall, kept itself afloat for years by expanding its public debt - and the privatization of its Social Security system was the key element in the expansion of that debt. You'll recall, also, that in 2001, Argentina was forced to default on that debt, which led to massive inflation, rioting in the streets, and three presidents in a single year. "So if you ask the question do we look like Argentina, the answer is a whole lot more than anyone is quite willing to admit at this point. We've become a banana republic," Krugman says. But before we jump all over President Bush, it's important to remember some key successes: for example, gay people can't visit each other in the hospital.

Monkeys! Monkeys! Monkeys! The battle between evolution and creation isn't as clear-cut as many of us would like to believe: It's not simply a matter of inbred Biblical literalism vs. pure science. For starters, evolution is not the most well-supported scientific theory, in terms of evidence; there are huge gaps in the theory that no one can explain. Additionally, creationists' opposition to evolution has a lot more to do with an entire view of society predicated on the notion of Original Sin than on their revulsion at descending from monkeys. That said, I present you with a story from a genre that I'm calling "Red State Horror Tales": Most Americans believe in creation, and an astonishing 37 percent think it should be taught INSTEAD of evolution, while 65 percent of Americans think it should be taught in addition to evolution. Only 13 percent of Americans believe that God played no role in evolution or creation at all. I think there's something to that "It's the culture, stupid" analysis...

We Love You, Perfect Leader!

-Consider Arms