THEY LOVE US NOT. A recent poll for the BBC World Service covering opinions in 27 countries has the United States taking the bronze medal as the third most negatively viewed country among the same 27 countries. Only Iran and Israel are viewed more negatively, on average. These findings partly follow the expected fault lines between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. Still, the only places where the good ol' U.S. of A. gets a majority of positive ratings are in Africa (Nigeria and Kenya) and in the Philippines. And naturally at home, although even here the percentage believing that the U.S.
ME, A POLITICAL EXTREMIST? No way! I alone inhabit the sane middle.
A more serious inquiry into what constitutes political extremism can be found at the Swampland where Joe Klein gives us two lists of characteristics for such extremism, one for the right and one for the left. But they both end with this:
--regularly uses harsh, vulgar, intolerant language to attack [the opposition]
THE ENEMY WITHIN. For George WIll it includes labor unions. His recent column is an elegant plea on behalf of corporations and against the proposed Employee Free Choice Act which would allow unionization of a firm without the secret ballots currently required. Will believes that unions are pure evil, and by pretending that I knew nothing about the topic I was almost convinced by his prose until I came to this bit:
TEH FUNNY. That "teh" is intentional, to show how well I know Internet slang. And what is "teh funny" for the day? My candidate is the Conservapedia, a new rival for Wikipedia. Now, Wikipedia has problems with accuracy and non-bias, so perhaps it's not so surprising that alternatives would crop up, and this is the alternative from the rabid fringe of the Christian right.
THE POOR ARE GETTING POORER. So suggests a new McClatchy Newspapers analysis of the 2005 Census:
The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That's 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. McClatchy's review also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn't confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas.