Thursday, April 24, 2008

NY Times

I like the NY Times website because they always have those weird stories on the front page. Not, like, weird, just unusual. About the little people rather than big events.
This morning, the top one was about how the smoking bans affects bingo places, who now make less money than before: "After the smoke cleared, where did all the bingo players go?"

A very interesting on American politics in The Economist.

"The war between “ordinary people” and “condescending elites” is one of the great themes of American politics. “Ordinary people” are real Americans: they worship God, revere America and love their families. “Condescending elites” are crypto-Europeans—the sort of people who eat arugula, do sissified jobs in offices and universities, and scheme to ban guns and legalise gay marriage (...)
But this pandering to “ordinary Americans” is annoying in all sorts of ways. Isn't America supposed to be a meritocracy? (...) Almost 90% of Americans say that they admire people who have got rich through hard work. Yet whenever elections come around politicians treat the people at the bottom of the heap as the embodiment of American values. And aren't Americans supposed to believe in self-reliance? America's farms are some of the country's biggest subsidy hogs. Many small towns (...) are kept alive only by federal pork. As for family values, America's small towns and rural havens suffer from higher rates of marital breakdown and illegitimate births than the degenerate big cities.
But pander the politicians feel they must. This week Mrs Clinton downed a shot of Crown Royal whisky in Bronko's Restaurant and Lounge in Crown Point, Indiana. She also entertained America with stories about how her father taught her to shoot. But does anybody believe that Mrs Clinton spends her days shooting and her evenings throwing back the whisky? Mrs Clinton is a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School. The Clintons' joint income since 2000 was $109m. Mrs Clinton joined the million-mom march against gun violence.
The same is true, perhaps even truer, on the conservative side of the aisle. John McCain—son and grandson of four-star admirals, husband of a woman who is worth $100m and owner of several houses—follows in a long tradition. George Bush senior mocked Michael Dukakis for his Harvard Yard liberalism. But “Poppy” went to Yale (where his father was on the board of directors) and was once nonplussed by a supermarket scanner. Bob Dole, who liked to boast that his father wore overalls for 42 years, made millions and married a fellow all-star politician. And as for George Bush junior...
The hypocrisy extends to the commentariat who have been busting their cheeks blowing their populist trumpets. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly make millions out of championing “the folks” against “the elites”. Bill Kristol and John Podhoretz are the Ivy-educated sons of famous parents who are based, respectively, in Washington, DC, and New York City. "