Home for the Holidays

The UK Telegraph reports that record numbers of Britons are staying in the UK for their summer vacations. Debenhams are sending urgent supplies of flip-flops to seaside towns that were deserted in past years.

It isn’t only Britons who are staying close to home for the summer. The north-east coastal towns of Italy have seen a fall-off of the tourist trade with more than 30 percent declines from the numbers of last summer. And last year was no fun for the hotels of Rimini and other northern seaside towns with 20 percent or more declines then.

Where I am working from currently in Lazio, the numbers are clearly down as well. Largo di Bolsena is without the Dutch and Swedes this year, with just a few around and those normally are the ones who own property in the area. And this weekend the lake was crowded with local families who can’t afford to travel south or visit overseas. The Tuscan beaches are virtually empty on weekdays.

Horse Race Coverage of Health Care Reform

Politico’s coverage today of the health care debate is typical of the nature and poor quality of what is being offered by the US media — traditional press and online — when it comes to reporting on what is likely to be the biggest reform of Obama’s first term. You could read the whole piece and have no idea of what is being proposed and counter-proposed, of how ordinary Americans will be impacted. There are seldom any details in the reports coming from the press and this is where online could do much better — everything is always about who has what votes, what the legislative process is and what the obstacles are and who may have to pay more tax. Details of proposals and how they might play out in the real world would be useful. But then the horse race has always taken first place for journalists who forget who their audience is — and that is, of course, why the audience is deserting them.