Back in California, the Democrat-controlled Legislature has turned its nose up at Governor Schwarzenegger's attempt to move California's debts to a bigger credit card (or $15bn in a new bond issue, if you prefer). They also wen't too pleased at his proposed $3.8bn budget cuts that would have cut back on education and medical spending. The Governor has vowed to go over the Legislature's heads and hold a referendum next November (remember guys, you only have to wait 90 days before you can start the recall process all. over. again.).
And finally from American shores, the Ronald Reagan Dime Act, wherein a group of Republicans with far too much time on their hands want to replace the image of the man who solved the banking crisis, began the New Deal, led America to victory in World War Two, and who founded the March of Dimes, with a man who most likely lied to congress, sold arms to both Iraq and Iran, fired striking air-traffic controllers, loosened anti-trust law to protect multinational corporations, created the situation for the S&L disaster, and landed America with a multi-trillion dollar debt by the time he left office. Well, that makes sense.
Back home, two things of note: Nobody likes Mr. Blair at the moment. The new idea for charging students for attending university (£3,000/per year maximum, payable only after graduation and after the student is earning more than £15,000/year, plus the re-introduction of the maintenance grant) are quite sensible, considering that British universities are losing a lot of money at the moment under the current system, and it's still rather cheap when compared to, say, American-style charging. But nobody wants to hear that; instead we just have lots of student groups and the Conservatives shouting at Blair, without coming up with much of an alternative.
Secondly: George Galloway is a smug, pompous man, and it does the peace movement no good to have someone like that as one of their main proponents.
UPDATE: In the interests of full disclosure (and because I felt bad about it after talking with Laura): FDR wasn't what you would call a saint, either. Trying to pack the Supreme Court, hiding the extent of his illness, using the New Deal for patronage purposes, his feud with Robert Moses which caused problems in New York, and being President during the Japanese Interment. (I'm leaving out the PETA information because it's not clear how long it has been going on for, and whether FDR had any involvement aside from setting up the fund in the first place)
I'm struggling to think about positive things about Reagan. I'm willing to entertain the notion that he, along with Gorbachev, was one of the architects of eventual peace between Russia and the USA, although it didn't happen until well into George Bush's Presidency. Feel free to add your ideas in the comment section, answering the question: what did Reagan ever do for us, anyway?
Saturday Looks Good To Me — All Your Summer Songs
Or what happened when Belle & Sebastian woke up to find themselves living in Detroit and infected by the spirits of the long-gone Motown Age. Beautiful horns, strings, vocals, and of course melodies to invade a small nation in Asia for. It's the way the tune of "Untitled" keeps on recurring throughout the album, it's the use of "what were once majestic city streets" in "Ultimate Stars", and it's the finale of "Meet Me By The Water" peters out from a wall of sound to just a single guitar that form some of the perfect moments of this record. If you like lo-fi pop, you need this album. If you don't, go here and take a listen anyway. (The fact that Fred Thomas was nice enough to send me a tour CD-R after I explained that I missed the band's appearance in Chapel Hill due to the spring break has not coloured this mini-review. Well, not much anyway)