It's Monday, the traditional laundry day, so a number of news items need to be hung out to dry.
In the department of hopeful trends, there are these: the average age of conservative talk radio listeners is 67 and rising. Other stats show overwhelming evidence of liberal leanings and especially support for President Obama among the young. Add to this, the decline in the number of Americans who identify themselves as Christian. Apart from whatever this says, positive or negative, about religious inquiry, it signals that the apparent decline in influence of the Christian fundamentalist Rabid Right is upheld by this broader trend.
I think we're going to be looking at President Obama's ongoing trip in Europe for a long time, because it says and portends so much. It began at the G20 conference with this premise, according to one oped contributor to the NY Times: "This conference was about saving the world, but more important for the participants, it was about saving their political lives. Mr. Obama is the only popular politician left in the world. He would win an election in any one of the G-20 countries, and his fellow world leaders will do anything to take home a touch of that reflected popularity."
Back at home, a new New York Times poll finds Americans are more optimistic about the economy since Obama's Inauguration. Other polls also show that Americans still expect this downturn to last awhile.
In less upbeat news, there were revelations that the accident at Three Mile Island in 1979 was much worse than previously known, at least by the public, and that the much, much higher levels of radiation released has caused a number of deaths and health problems.
There's no point to linking to stories about the earthquake in Italy, since they are only beginning to count the casualities and assess the damage. The epicenter was not very far from the village where my maternal grandparents lived--where my mother was born--and where I still have relatives. The history of earthquakes in this region goes back almost two thousand years, probably more, but like where we live, there is lots of lived time between the worst of them. Even though I've never been to Manoppello and have never met or been in touch with my relatives there, I'll be watching the news anxiously, hoping for the best.
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