Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Crushed Flowers
It's been nearly a year since John Kerry outraged Republicans by suggesting that Iraq notwithstanding, the United States needs regime change, too. It's far from being an alien and un-American idea. Sociology professor Charles Derber of Boston College notes that "regime change" happens in the United States approximately every generation, and that we have alternated historically between corporatist regimes and those with more human faces. Derber says that "Kerry's own corporate ties and cautious instincts make him an unlikely regime changer." But that may not result in a missed opportunity--however much we recovering Deaniacs fear it might. As we've already seen, Kerry is beginning to embrace some of the populist themes people like Dean and Edwards brought to the campaign early on. Some of these resonate not just with Democrats but with independents and disillusioned Republicans, too. All in all, it's a hopeful note with which to begin the day.

But hope is a delicate flower easily crushed. Have you noticed that Walmart has become an underwriter of National Public Radio? It's an interesting choice for institutional advertising, on a network whose demographics are not likely to be especially friendly to the company--upscale, urban, liberal. Walmart's brief sponsor announcements tout the company's many advancement opportunities for associates, and, as much as is possible in 15 seconds, try to leave listeners with a benign impression. But Walmart is anything but benign, as the Progress Report noted yesterday--killing the retail base in communities, forcing the government to subsidize health care for its workers, and, despite its relentless hawking of "made in America," importing much of its merchandise from China. All of which gives a different kind of look to the company's annoying fat little smiley face logo.

Blog news: The Memory Hole has relaunched its Memory Blog. Russ Kick promises more frequent updates of the blog, which, like the Memory Hole site itself, deals in stories that have been underreported by major media outlets.

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