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I think Kevin and I are pretty much in agreement that this Moldovan band is the greatest thing since cheese. And if you don’t dig the beats, you surely can’t argue with pretty girls running through fields of sunflowers.

Peter Abraham, a must-read for anyone sincerely interested in the New York Yankees (as I vehemently am), has some concerns regarding the NEW Yankee Stadium. Abraham writes:

Here is my biggest concern: The crowd. Maybe it was Opening Day, which always draws a different sort of fan. Maybe it was the way the game played. But the place was funeral home quiet for long stretches. That’s not Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees noticed the difference and so did the Indians. It was a popular topic of conversation after the game.

New parks are designed to have open concourses. As a result, the seats go back in a gentle slope, not steeply up like they at the old park. The fans are further away from the field and today it felt like they were in Washington Heights. I’ve stood in center field in the old ballpark and it felt like those upper tier seats were right on top of you.

You have to wonder if the Yankees priced the real fans out of the place and are left with a wine-and-cheese crowd. Time will tell because, as I mentioned, Opening Day is a different sort of crowd. Lots of pretenders and poseurs. Hopefully the crowd will again be part of the game.

Let’s go way back to that crazy world before 9/11…to February 2001, when the country was considering a most massive redistribution of wealth: George W. Bush’s 10-year, $1.6 trillion tax cut. Here is what the DLC had to say at the time:

GOP Claim: Future budget surpluses are so large that we can afford the President’s tax cut while paying down the national debt, keeping Social Security and Medicare solvent, and dealing with other national priorities.

New Democrat Response: The Bush tax plan relies on shaky surplus estimates that do not include the President’s own spending promises and do not reflect the enormous costs associated with the retirement of the baby boom generation. If the estimates are wrong, the Bush plan would sacrifice fiscal discipline, debt payment, Social Security and Medicare solvency, and bipartisan domestic initiatives for tax cuts.

 …pretty much wipes out the surplus.

the Bush tax scheme assumes there will be no increase in federal education funding to ensure that “no child is left behind;” no effort to reduce illiteracy; no prescription drug benefit under Medicare; no progress on extending health coverage to the 43 million uninsured Americans; no new funds to address military readiness or adopt new defense technologies; no deployment of a missile defense system; no housing or environmental or energy initiatives. 

If the Administration really believes in its own numbers, it should readily accept the idea — proposed by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan in his recent testimony to the Senate Budget Committee, and since proposed by a bipartisan group of Senators led by DLC Chairman Evan Bayh — that any tax cut scheme should include a “trigger” making it contingent on continued economic growth and continued progress in paying down the national debt.

Obviously, a number of “triggers” went off during Bush’s eight years – the tax-cuts are such a small part of the GOP disaster pie that by now they’re not brought up too often.

President Obama has to face one battle at a time – and whether or not the stimulus as it is signed into law tomorrow provides all or some of the necessary boost to the economy, there can be little debate about the need to get moneys flowing into state and local coffers, not to mention relief to middle- and working-class taxpayers – so he may not be in a mood to fight for a repeal of tax legislation already set to expire in two years. 

But those Bush tax cuts for the wealthy still stand, and as a liberal tax watchdog group – whose claims were later bolstered by non-partisan media outlets – found:

42.6 percent of Bush’s $1.6 trillion tax package would end up in the pockets of the top 1 percent of earners. The lowest 60 percent would net 12.6 percent. 

 

We will have to confront the deficit at some point – this administration inherited a $1.2 trillion shortfall from the outset, and the number will continue to skyrocket.

Based on the numbers above, doing away with two years of Bush’s upper-one-percent tax cuts will pay for approximately (and I didn’t pull out a calculator here) one-fifth of the total cost of the recovery bill, before 2011. While certainly that is no immediate offset, here we have a chance to repeal a tax code that was destructive and unjust in the first place, while at least working towards bringing the costs of recovery down.

Does anybody remember when Republicans threatened to “go nuclear” to stop Democrats’ “obstruction” of…a few disputed judicial nominees?

Considering that right now the minority party is wantonly refusing to take the economic crisis seriously, and at least try to figure out what’s best for their constituents, when is the Democratic leadership gonna show a little spine of its own? They’ve extended the hand of bipartisanship more than enough, and been met with a clenched fist. Republicans simply are not interested in seeking serious solutions. They’re interested in political survival, therefore, the failure of the stimulus. When do we simply move on without them?

Kevin, as you see it, would a version of the “nuclear” option be available to Democrats here? Assuming the party is finally interested in growing a pair, how best might they push their weight around?

A couple interesting items caught my eye at the Times’ Web site today – that is, beyond the news of the day.

First, if you have any curiosity about you, you’ll click over any time you see an op-ed written by Muammar Qaddafi.

Secondly, I enjoyed this conversation with the Times’ interactive team. The Grey Lady has been pushing the boundaries of traditional journalism in recent years – contrary to her stodgy reputation -knocking at the barriers between authoritative and interactive. Of particular interest to me, as a member of The Industry, is the following question:

Advice for the Aspiring Journalist/Programmer

Q. I’m a student journalist trying to break into the journalist-programmer field. I’m curious — what skills do you need to have to be successful in this regard? And what’s the best way to learn them?

— Andrew Dunn, Charlotte, N.C.

 

A. This is a tough question to answer with any specificity because the whole idea of the journalist/programmer is still relatively new, and this community has yet to coalesce into anything like a defined “field.” But for precisely that reason, this is the ideal time to cultivate your inner nerd. As we all know, the future of journalism is online. So those who have a background in journalism and solid technical skills will be in ever greater demand.

Exactly what those technical skills are is more about your interests and aptitude than anything else. There are many paths, and many destinations. The Times’s intimidatingly talented graphics, computer-assisted reporting and multimedia departments, for example, include journalists who are experts in Flash, Geographical Information Systems, video and audio production, databases, data analysis, statistics and even 3D animation. My own extraordinarily talented team is a bit more specialized around Web programming — CSS/javascript on the front end, and Ruby/Ruby on Rails with a sprinkle of Django/Python on the back end.

That’s a technobabbley way of saying there are many different ways in which journalism and technology converge in today’s newsroom.

If you are a football fan at all, you must read this and raise a “hear, hear.”

My Cousin I Bid You Farewell are a five piece band from Glasglow, with an Arcade Fire tinged grandiose chamber pop style.

For a band yet to record their first LP, I really like their sound. One to watch.

http://www.myspace.com/mcibyf (Check out “Neverland”, their first single)

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