Let's start with this quote from Bob Herbert of the New York Times, about Hillary Clinton's attempt to warn people that when they vote for Obama, they're voting for a BLACK man:
"It’s a grotesque insult to African-Americans, who have given so much support to both Bill and Hillary over the years ... But it’s an insult to white voters as well, including white working-class voters." Oh baby, I wanted to stand up and cheer.
There's a lot in the Times about the election, but you know what article and news item stood out to me while I was in the states? The cost of gasoline. It was one of the first things I noticed as I headed back into town (on the hideously underserved Lynx bus service, which I swear, in the minds of the people who created it, was designed only for the people who work in the hospitality industry, at hotels and theme parks): gas was now at $3.50 a gallon. I saw a lengthy series of articles in USA Today (which I can't find online) about how the price of gas was affecting people's driving habits (shopping habits, working locations, etc.), and a key stat stood out: US gas consumption has gone DOWN 2%, year over year, the first time this has happened since the gas crunch of 1979. Wow. I would have never though there was finally a point at which high gas prices could really affect gas consumption, but apparently there is a threshhold and it has been crossed.
This leads to an unsurprising corollary: Americans are now using mass transit at higher rates than ever before. Sadly, because this is happening at a time when sales tax revenues are in decline, this means the various transit agencies can't actually expand to provide the desired level of service. But what's also sad is that the transit was designed for much lower levels of use; if they'd anticipated it, perhaps there would be better service. It's also troubling that the high gas rates are really slamming public transportation; many systems are now operating in big deficits because they'd planned their budgets with last year's gas prices. This will make further expansion difficult.
Anyway, food for thought, you guys. And now, food for my tummy at Bangalore Express, conveniently located near Waterloo and the Young Vic.