YOU'RE OUT OF THE MAINSTREAM: YEAH, YOU. While I�m kvetching about regional politics, I may as well tell you I�m sick of the double standard that operates with respect to Democrats or liberals when it comes to the politics of opponent-framing. With impunity, sneering Republicans and conservatives can mock �northeastern liberals,� but duck and cover if you dare point the �out of touch� finger at southern conservatives. They are the real Americans, you see, and no amount of data will suffice to disprove the back-of-the-napkin Applebee�s analyses of the �Great Davids� (Broder and Brooks, that is).
AH, ELECTION SEASON. Anyone wonder who sent out this charmer?
The state attorney general's office is investigating a letter received by some Southern California Hispanics that says it is a crime for immigrants to vote and tells them they could be jailed or deported if they go to the polls next month.[...]
The letter, written in Spanish, tells recipients: "You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time."
HITCHENS CLIFFS NOTES. At his other site, Roboffers a conveniently succinct summary version of Christopher Hitchens's Slate piece on the "moral idiocy" of the Lancet study on Iraq. I don't pretend to have any inside knowledge, but it seems notable that Hitchens is the one discussing this new Lancet study for Slate and not the eminently more credible Fred Kaplan, who wrote skeptically of the 2004 Lancet study but perhaps has changed his mind since.
EXCEPTIONS PROVING RULES. With news that Republicans are pulling resources out of Ohio (and thereby imperiling incumbent Republican Senator Mike DeWine's re-election), the national buzz is that Republicans have retreated to a three-state "firewall" in Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia in defense of their Senate majority.
VERDICT: STILL HOPELESSLY ARBITRARY. The Canadian lawblogger Pithlordattempts to answer the (to me, completely unanswerable) question of how advocates of criminalizing abortion can justify excluding women who obtain abortions entirely from criminal sanctions:
PLUTONIUM. The fuel that the North Koreans used for their bomb was plutonium. This is utterly unsurprising; the parallel uranium program that North Korea had developed in the 1990s was never capable of producing much in the way of bomb material. This reinforces the conclusion that the key diplomatic moments came in 1994, when the North Koreans agreed to substantially scale back their nuclear ambitions in return for aid, and in 2002 when they gave up on this agreement.
SCENES FROM IRAQ. Open warfare raged between Shiite militias and Sunni gunmen north of Baghdad (right near the U.S.'s Camp Anaconda), while the president of the United States kindly put in a call to the democratically elected president of a free and liberated Iraq to assure him that rumors of an imminent forced removal from power have been greatly exaggerated.
VETO POINTS. The article's a week old, alas, but I did want to recommend Cass Sunstein's review of Sanford Levinson's interesting-sounding new book Our Undemocratic Constitution. Levinson offers all sorts of objections to the the U.S. constitutional structure based on basic democratic principles (allocations of senators, the electoral college, life-time judicial appointments, etc.), but also makes a different (though related) critique:
Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy -- almost impenetrable forests of 10-foot-tall marijuana plants.
Gen. Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defense staff, said Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover. In response, the crew of at least one armored car had camouflaged their vehicle with marijuana...
In today's column (Times Select) John Tierney asks what organization has lifted more people out of poverty than Wal-Mart. He points to the large number of poor people in the developing world who have seen substantial improvements in their living standards because they were able to work in factories producing goods for export to rich countries.