Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Taking Good News at Face Value

New parents get freaked easily. We're certainly no exception. Last night, Maya slept like a drunk in an especially comfy refrigerator box, giving us ample opportunity to catch up on our own slumber. But we couldn't entirely accept our good fortune without wondering, "is something wrong?" Of course we're being silly - Maya does a great job of filling-to-capacity her diapers and breastfeeds like a set of triplets. Still, when everything is new, everything is baffling. At least for a while.

We took Maya out for her inaugural stroller ride around the 'hood yesterday (the above pic shows her stylish blue hat and adorable accoutrements). Even though we're rather fond of the Inner Sunset, she seemed unimpressed. Cute as a clowncar full of cheerleaders, though.

Salon posted a piece this morning that asks and tries to answer a question that seems to have been ignored - why does the press have seemingly no access to the wounded returning from Iraq? The numbers of wounded are stunning (even though there are widely varied tallies out there depending on whom you ask). Over 10,000 easily, and when you look to include the less seriously injured, the numbers are astronomical. But why don't we see them coming home? Salon's presents a logical, observed reason - because the military flies them home to the U.S. at night. Much has been made of the fact that the Dover base where the dead are initially returned to is off limits to news cameras, but this is the first time that I've heard or read of a presumed policy to shield the public from the injured. I hope this won't be the last reporting on this sneaky practice.

In not at all surprising news, the Senate nixed yet another attempt at raising the minimum wage. Sen. Kennedy tried and failed to successfully attach a rider to the bankruptcy bill being pushed by the credit card companies to no longer exempt defaulted credit from future bankruptcy filings. As it stands currently, the Federal $5.15 an hour Minimum wage is the second lowest in the history of such policy, indexed in real dollars. Teddy BigHeady wanted to raise it a sizable leap to $7.25. That translates to an annual salary of $15,080 for a full-time, 40-hour a week employee, as compared to $10,712 for a $5.15 an hour similar employee. This debate is going nowhere, but I'm still amazed to hear so-called pro-business politicians twist the logic around upon itself as to why keeping that minimum wage low will somehow help people (higher wages mean fewer jobs is their standard refrain). I'm just glad that here in the Socialist Republic of San Francisco, the minimum wage has been ramped up to $8.50. The reduction of spit in the collective burgers of the City is worth it, to say the very least.

Dubya's nomination of John "there is no UN" Bolton as our new UN Ambassador is yesterday's news. But it's still pretty unsettling. Just look at the issues in Bolton's wheelhouse - Iran, Taiwan's right to independence from China, North Korea - and the way he's stuck his foot in his oddly-mustachioed mouth quite often in years past. When John Danforth quit, we really lost a strong diplomat and well-respected internationalist (his work to highlight African issues was unparallelled in its proactiveness for a Bushie). What we'll get with Bolton is extremely uncertain, and the World's not ignoring the message sent by this nomination. If only that were the case in the U.S.

But not all the World's news is bad. Take for instance the case of Green Day waking a British schoolboy from a coma. Or that Brad and Jen may be on the mend. Or that Shannon Elizabeth is back on the market. On second thought, most of the World's news is bad. The rest is just silly. Rock on.


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