From the AP report on the latest poverty numbersshowing a drop in the poverty rate, mainly among the elderly:
The poverty numbers are good economic news at a time when financial markets have been rattled by a slumping housing market. However, the numbers released Tuesday represent economic conditions from a year ago. [E.A.]
Is there any reason to think the overall poverty numbers have gotten worse over the past year? Not really. We're not in a recession. ... No doubt the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities will come up with more sophisticated ways to make the mildly encouraging report seem like bad news. ... P.S.: Remember, when comparing the Bush numbers with the better numbers Clinton achieved at the end of the last decade, that the last part of the Clinton boom was based on an evanescent dot.com bubble. The current recovery is slower but presumably more solid. ... [You think the current mortgage mess/housing bubble isn't as big a deal as the dot.com bubble?--ed I think that.] 10:50 A.M.
His Pet Gloat: I wish I could say Bill O'Reilly was wrong about Paul Greengrass' Bourne Ultimatum being an anti-American film, but I saw it last weekend and O'Reilly's right. It's not just that the script plays on opposition to Bush anti-terror tactics--waterboarding, etc. Or that in a moment of calm hero Matt Damon utters maybe 15 of the 40 words he speaks in the film and explains that he's simply trying to apologize for ... well, the CIA's sins, or maybe America's. Just because you oppose waterboarding and believe the U.S. has a lot to apologize for doesn't make you anti-American. The problem is the film is unredeemed by any sense that America or the American government ever stands for or does anything that is right. It is a big hit overseas. ...
The film also made me feel guilty, because I watched Greengrass' United 93 and left convinced it was a searing indictment of Bush's behavior in the hours after 9/11. (Air controllers spend much of the film trying to locate the AWOL President so they can obtain an order to shoot down the hijacked jet.) I didn't know anything about Greengrass, and the film looked like it had been based on actual records by a meticulously dispassionate observer. But Greengrass' Bourne film undermines his credibility and retrospectively dissolves United 93'santi-Bush power. I don't trust anything the man makes. ... P.S.: Has Big Hollywood made a single non-anti-US post-9/11 film I missed? I can't remember one (aside from Team America: World Police, which was a self-mocking puppet cartoon).. ... And don't say World Trade Center. That passed up several potentially epic patriotic moments (e.g. the Dave Karnes story) in favor of a soggy tribute to the fraternity of New York transit cops. ... Next up: In the Valley of Elah, a well-made version of the Scott Beauchamp Story. ... Is it the international market that makes our studios behave this way? I sense an underserved domestic niche. ...
Update: Chris Orr disagrees on Bourne. Yes, there is a Joan Allen character who says "This isn't us," and helps foil the the CIA's scheme. But she's a cardboard plot mechanism. The film's heart and energy go into depicting the evil U.S. bigwigs. There is no sense of who or what is "us." ... 1:44 A.M. link
Monday, August 27, 2007
Hung for a Sheep! Emailer P.R. has a logical suggestion for Florida, which is being punished by Howard Dean and the DNC with loss of its convention delegates for scheduling a primary on January 29, right after the Iowa and New Hampshire contests:
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.