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Light over darkness 

The Financial Times’s Philip Stephens gets the idea (subscribers only):

  A few days before election day the polls show that Americans are still divided, pulled by fear towards Mr Bush’s conviction and by generosity of spirit towards Mr Kerry’s values. But amid the avalanche of polling data from every district and state in the Union, two messages stand out. The first is that a majority of Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction; the second that only a minority believe Mr Bush actually deserves a second term.
  My guess is that, when they come to look in the mirror next Tuesday, most Americans will prefer light over darkness — tough-minded realism abroad and tolerance at home over faith-based fundamentalism. I think Mr Kerry will win — comfortably. But, yes, hope mingles with expectation.

Why baseball? 

It may not count for much on the scale of anti-Americanism, but there was an interesting discussion on Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning about baseball.

Yesterday morning, the sports report on Today made brief mention of the Red Sox winning the World Series. Apparently this provoked a torrent of angry emails wondering why Radio 4 had bothered with something no one in Britain would be interested in.

I can’t imagine what provoked so many listeners, unless it was some deep-seated, boiling resentment that anything American would interrupt their morning ritual. Of course, it may just have been the legendary obsessiveness of some Radio 4 listeners.

To infuriate these listeners more, the programme indulged in an intelligent discourse about why baseball matters. To put it in perspective, sports announcer Gary Richardson noted that yesterday’s report had taken 52 seconds. Over a year Today does 55 hours of sports reports. You do the maths.

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