Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday's trackings

IRAN UPDATE: well, so these anti-Ahmadinejad, pro-democracy protests in Iran are becoming very interesting.
What's important about them? Well, they're large; they seem to indicate real popular support for Ahmadinjad's opponents (indeed, for real opposition to the government as a whole). They've had staying power. Remember too that back in 1979 it was significant, continuous popular protests, combined with strikes in key industries, that brought down the Shah's government. Could it happen again?
Unfortunately, though, despite President Obama making a few noises of concern, his main policy line right now seems to be summed up in his quote: "The U.S. doesn't want to be seen as meddling." I agree--that won't get it done. Even just a few quiet statements from us could encourage the democrats in Iran. It's silly to miss an opportunity to encourage democratic growth.

BASEBALL DIARY: all my favorite teams had yesterday off. And they no doubt needed it...!

FAVORITE TEAM UPDATE: next year's University of Notre Dame men's basketball season is saved--center Luke Harangody, sure to be All Big East next year and a pre-season All-American, has opted to remove his name from the NBA draft and stay at ND for another season.
With him, the Irish will at least be competitive in the rough-and-tumble Big East and have a shot at an NCAA bid; without him, they'd have been in serious rebuilding mode.

Er, well, maybe there won't be as much change as Mr. Obama claimed in the campaign:
"The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of
visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration
argument that a president doesn't have to reveal who comes calling to
influence policy decisions. Despite President Barack Obama's pledge to introduce a new era of
transparency to Washington, and despite two rulings by a federal judge
that the records are public, the Secret Service has denied msnbc.com's
request for the names of all White House visitors from Jan. 20 to the
present. It also denied a narrower request by the nonpartisan watchdog
group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which
sought logs of visits by executives of coal companies."

Republican Senator Tom Coburn publishes a list of money-wasting projects that will be funded by the stimulus, including a turtle-crossing; see how some try to defend this ridiculous project:
"Coburn also criticized a $3.4 million Florida Department of Transportation project for an "eco-passage" — an underground wildlife road crossing for turtles and other wildlife in Lake Jackson, Fla., along U.S. 27. "Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the other side of a stimulus project," the Coburn report says. Josh Boan, the Florida Transportation Department's natural resources manager, said a large number of turtles and other wildlife are killed in the area. In addition to protecting wildlife, he said the project is needed for safety: turtles hit by vehicles can become flying projectiles."
Who knows if any of that is true. What we DO know, however, is this: the "stimulus" bill was defended by its backers as something that was going to create oodles of JOBS, right away; that was to be the most important, really the sole reason, for passing the bill. It was all about jobs, jobs, jobs. So why build the turtle-crossing? Funny--its backers don't cite jobs as a reason. Rather, they cite environmental and safety reasons. Fine--if you want to pass bills that you claim will aid the environment, then have EPA write up a bill to improve the enironment and have congress debate it. But don't put this mish-mash of programs all in one bill and, quite frankly, dishonestly tell us that this "stimulus" bill is full of projects that are meant to create jobs--when that just isn't true.