Thursday, April 10, 2008

Worst. President. Ever.

Via a blog entry on Harper's, an informal poll among historians on how the Bush presidency stacks up, historically. (Spoiler alert: not very well.)

“No individual president can compare to the second Bush,” wrote one. “Glib, contemptuous, ignorant, incurious, a dupe of anyone who humors his deluded belief in his heroic self, he has bankrupted the country with his disastrous war and his tax breaks for the rich, trampled on the Bill of Rights, appointed foxes in every henhouse, compounded the terrorist threat, turned a blind eye to torture and corruption and a looming ecological disaster, and squandered the rest of the world’s goodwill. In short, no other president’s faults have had so deleterious an effect on not only the country but the world at large.”

“With his unprovoked and disastrous war of aggression in Iraq and his monstrous deficits, Bush has set this country on a course that will take decades to correct,” said another historian. “When future historians look back to identify the moment at which the United States began to lose its position of world leadership, they will point—rightly—to the Bush presidency. Thanks to his policies, it is now easy to see America losing out to its competitors in any number of area: China is rapidly becoming the manufacturing powerhouse of the next century, India the high tech and services leader, and Europe the region with the best quality of life.”

(According to The Onion, however, Bush may have the last laugh. Bush: 'History Cannot Judge Me If I End It Soon')

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

This American Life

Dear readers, please be advised: if you're not listening to This American Life, you're seriously missing out. I've subscribed to their podcast (I use iTunes, which makes podcasting dead simple; see This American Life's podcast page for more info).

I've never listened to this show on the radio -- in fact I don't even know when it's broadcast on my public radio station -- but this is one of my favorite podcasts.

It's an hour-long documentary show, sometimes one long story, but usually 3 or 4 shorter stories, all within some theme. Usually, the story will start, and I'll wonder what crazy, boring subject they've got this time. But invariably, it will turn out to be fascinating. No, really. Riveting. Hell, downright enriching.

This week's episode is a great example. It's political, which most of their shows aren't. Titled "The Audacity of Government", the description is: "Stories of the Bush Administration, its unique style of asserting presidential authority, and its quest to redefine the limits of presidential power." As the current episode, it's available to download as an MP3, after next week it will still be freely available, but only as streaming audio. (And if you subscribe to the podcast, iTunes just gets the new ones when they're available, and keeps them until you listen to them.)

Check it out. And if you're not absolutely thrilled, I'll give you a full refund.