Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

It was here that Jack Kerouac began his "On the Road" journey.

The first minimum wage increase in 10 years takes effect Tuesday, to $5.85 from $5.15 an hour, with two more steps over the next two years taking base pay for millions of workers to $7.25.

But the increase in the federal minimum wage - signed into law in May after a lengthy battle between Democrats in Congress and President Bush and Senate Republicans - still sparks heated debate.


Is there a way to avoid all of the unhappy endings by finding a peaceful way to stop Iran going nuclear? The Europeans hoped they had stumbled on such a solution last year, when they at last talked Russia and China into imposing sanctions and George Bush into dangling the prospect of normal relations with Iran once enrichment stopped. But the mild sanctions imposed so far are not working, and now the technological clock in Natanz is outrunning the diplomatic clock at the United Nations. Iran may soon work out how to spin its centrifuges at full speed for long periods; and once it learns how to do that the odds of stopping it from building a bomb will rapidly lengthen. This suggests that a third sanctions resolution, with sharper teeth, needs to be enacted without delay.

Iran is obstinate, paranoid and ambitious. But it is also vulnerable. A young population with no memory of the revolution is desperate for jobs its leaders have failed to provide. Sanctions that cut off equipment for its decrepit oilfields or struck hard at the financial interests of the regime and its protectors in the Revolutionary Guards would have an immediate impact on its own assessment of the cost of its nuclear programme. That on its own is unlikely to change the regime's mind. If at the same time Iran was offered a dignified ladder to climb down—above all a credible promise of an historic reconciliation with the United States—the troubled leadership of a tired revolution might just grab it. But time is short.


Despite the more than $2 billion spent by the Department of Homeland Security on radiation detection devices, leading scientists tell ABC News the country remains wide open to terrorists who might try to smuggle nuclear material into the country.


The Pentagon is going to junk millions of dollars worth of gear for reasons only known to them. Not that the stuff is secret or in some cases old, but because they don't want to pay to store it or buy it back from surplus stores if they need it again. What is up with that? The supply situation is ridiculous. Half the military doesn't have what they need to protect themselves and do their jobs while the other half has too much of the wrong stuff. What kind of Republican administration is this? Usually they improve the military right along with padding their pockets, but it seems that they have decided to skip that step and just focused on taking care of themselves.

-- DEB

Bush administration officials said that they were trying to help Iraqis working for the American Embassy in Iraq to immigrate to the United States, but they also conceded that a gap remained between American words and actions on the issue.


In a little over half a decade, Japan’s military has carried out changes considered unthinkable a few years back. In the Indian Ocean, Japanese destroyers and refueling ships are helping American and other militaries fight in Afghanistan. In Iraq, Japanese planes are transporting cargo and American troops to Baghdad from Kuwait.

Japan is acquiring weapons that blur the lines between defensive and offensive.

News today that the USDA has paid deceased farmers $1.1 billion over the past seven years should not come as a shock. The White House and Congress are almost entirely staffed by the brain-dead. If we purged them from the payroll, the cemeteries would fill up, but the seats of government would be vacant.


The next Windows version is now supposed to ship in 2010. Given the lousy experience people I know have had with Vista -- including some very technically sophisticated people -- I predict that XP will still be in wide use then.


(John) Edwards' problem is that poverty in today's America, as in New Orleans, has not merely been the result of too low a minimum wage or other defects of bureaucratic liberalism. It is also a consequence of a lack of social and political power among certain groups of people, and the distortion effects that this historic lack of social capital or hope has on whole communities. Government programs can help reduce the negative consequences of the lack of power, and have a tremendous positive impact on how poor people are able to live.

But offered a choice between the promise of new programs and political candidates who might enhance their social standing and political power, many poor people are choosing the promise of social change. They understand intuitively that social equality and increased political power for the disenfranchised leads inexorably to greater economic equality and opportunities for all. Edwards' promise of anti-poverty government action, in this calculus, holds less appeal than the transformative potential of electing the first African-American or first woman president in the nation's history.

I'm not, like, a crazy feminist. I think women definitely need men. Like, I couldn't imagine having a girlfriend!


No, this is not about Bush and Cheney, they would be negative numbers, although I would prefer if they were the square roots of negative numbers, personally. This is about the old question I blogged on some time ago, one of these trivial, midsummer distractions: What will we call the first decade of the twenty-first century? Now that we are past the 3/4 mark of the decade, it is becoming more serious, and will really have to be answered in less than 2 1/2 years, is what to call it, once we are in another one. After all, so far people have been just referring to the century or even the millennium. But that will not cut it anymore. The decade will need an identifier.

So, this morning I saw Juan Cole do it. He called them "the zeroes" . . . I suspect that is going to be it. Back in the twentieth century, the first decade was sometimes called "the noughts," and people who graduated in 1900 were the class of "double nought." But that is too old-fashioned, fuddy-duddy, plus somebody might think you were saying "knot" or "not." The word is just not widely known and certainly is not known. I guess 2000 grads will just say "two thousand," because, well, that is a distinctive year. But my guess is that Juan Cole has called it. This decade will be "the zeroes," stupid as that sounds to me.


Sports Illustrated says that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a golf nut now. She plays golf all the time. She went golfing with Cheney. Condoleezza shot an 83. Cheney shot two attorneys and an accountant.


Photograph by Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

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