And while I’m on maps, this is essential viewing.
The Modern Language Association has launched an extraordinary interactive map that displays language use in the US. You can generate maps by language for either counties or zip codes for the entire US or state by state. Above is the map for Spanish speakers in Illinois by zip code. A wonderful plaything, and a great educational resource. (Via Language Log)
Who did they get to link up for the debate? In the blue corner congressman Jim McDermott. In the red corner the totally discredited Laurie Mylroie.
Anchor Gavin Esler expressed incredulity at Mylroie’s continued insistence (à la Dick Cheney) that there was firm evidence linking Saddam to 9/11. When he pressed her, she seemed to be flustered. When he then turned to McDermott there was some noise in the background before Esler informed viewers that there seemed to be technical problems with the connection to Mylroie. I strongly suspect she walked out of the studio rather than be subjected to further questioning from Esler.
At some levels, this was amusing. But surely the Newsnight producers should have put up a credible conservative voice (assuming there still are some).