Archive

  • PRE-K BLUES. While...

    PRE-K BLUES. While universal pre-k enthusiasts mourn yesterday's defeat of Rob Reiner 's awesome California initiative, Gene Sperling reminds us that, at the federal level, the Bush administration and congressional Republicans have "allow[ed] Head Start to have lower enrollment in 2005 than it did in 2002, and give[n] Head Start its first outright funding cut in 19 years." Gotta pay for the estate tax repeal somehow. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • CORRUPTION, BLEH. Markos...

    CORRUPTION, BLEH. Markos makes an important point about the Bilbray-Busby race outcome and what it all means : The "culture of corruption" is a nice secondary theme to weave into our broader narrative, but it can't be the message on which we pin our 2006 hopes. "We're better managers" won't inspire our troops to head to battle. I'd have to agree. People don't really care all that much about corruption. Congressional corruption, like corporate corruption, is the ultimate "people somewhere else doing something complicated to other people somewhere else" issue. It is intangible and not something voters can see and feel in their daily lives, like immigration or gas prices. Tangible issues will always beat intangible ones. That most voters already think that congresspeople, of both parties, are kind of crooked means that the corruption and lobbying scandals also lack the essential ingredient of newness. My '06 prediction: Corruption will be an issue that moves voters most in those races...
  • THE HARD TO...

    THE HARD TO SPLIT DIFFERENCE. Jacob Sullum notes an abortion prohibitionist going off-message in Louisiana . "I had a strong belief that we could finally protect the innocent life of an unborn child," said state Senator Ben Nevers . "This is about the U.S. Constitution granting every person the right to life." It's politically inconvenient for all concerned, but the implication here that the pro-life goal should be a nationwide, judicially enforced blanket abortion ban seems correct to me. I'm not a fan of judicial review as an institution. But, obviously, it's an institution we have in the United States. Under the circumstances, if a fetus is legally a person, then I think permitting abortion is pretty clearly unconstitutional and not something that can be "left up to the states." We wouldn't let California pass a law saying murder is illegal unless the victim is Mexican. Mexicans are people (someone should tell Lou Dobbs ) so they're due the equal protection of the laws. If fetuses...
  • SCORE ONE FOR...

    SCORE ONE FOR THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM. A couple months ago, Rasmussen Reports deployed some polls that found a xenophobic, enforcement-oriented third-party candidate would net 30-some percent of the vote, a mere single percent below the Democrats' haul. At the time, I dismissed the results as an irrelevant artifact. Now, Mike Crowley notes that precisely such a candidate ran in the CA-50 election. His haul? A pathetic 3.7 percent. So much for that. --Ezra Klein
  • THE NATURE OF...

    THE NATURE OF SPERM. Linda Hirshman 's discussion of the history of religious thinking about sperm reminded me that there have been some fascinating studies coming out lately about the biology of human reproduction. And since the only people who know less about their bodies than women are men, the male readers of this site may be interested to learn that whether they know it or not, they, too, have biological clocks that tick. Male fertility decreases markedly with age. While women have been subjected to an endless stream of anxiety-provoking magazine articles and books about their diminishing reproductive capacity over time, men are much less commonly warned that if they want to have healthy children when they marry, they, too, ought to marry and have children at younger ages. Unlike women, men never completely lose their fertility. But once they hit age 40, it becomes much, much harder for them to impregnate a woman. Says one of the new studies : New research indicates that the...
  • THE TARNISHED GOLDEN...

    THE TARNISHED GOLDEN STATE. You've already heard that Brian Bilbray defeated Francine Busby to keep Duke Cunningham 's seat in the Republican column. I'm with Byron York in finding fewer portents here than others have, but Mike Crowley makes a strong case for a deep, impenetrable gloom. Silver lining? This may lower expectations for Democrats in November. Elsewhere in the Golden State, Phil Angelides beat former eBay executive Steve Westly for the Democratic Party's gubernatorial nomination. I've written on the virtues of Angelides before , but few to none of them were on display during this primary, which was so vicious and low that Markos blamed it for depressing Democratic turnout in the Busby race. I don't know if I buy that, but I don't know a Democrat in California whose enthusiasm and optimism for the upcoming fight against Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't dampened beneath all the vigorously slung mud. As proof, Angelides is that rare non-incumbent who's entering the general with...
  • CAITLIN REVISITED. A...

    CAITLIN REVISITED. A helpful comment by Mark Schmitt on my post below suggests that the verb �to Caitlin ,� meaning �to provide a hot nightly dinner to the male head of the household,� should actually be �to Paloma ,� since it is Caitlin�s Hispanic employee who actually does the work around the house, while Caitlin scribbles about how women should quit their jobs to do the work around the house. I offer instead a friendly amendment to the definition, to include �to provide, or hire Hispanic employees to provide , a hot nightly dinner. I wouldn�t want to coin a phrase that discriminates against the wealthy elite, or what our Republican friends call �class warfare.� Okay, Mark? --Linda Hirshman
  • CAN'T WE ALL...

    CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? For a dreamy-eyed globalist, Tom Friedman often seems seduced by a weirdly dark and apocalyptic view of the international scene. After witnessing the great diversity on display at his daughter's high school graduation, he chooses to celebrate this bit of cosmopolitanism with the observation that "Our greatest asset is our ability to still cream off not only the first-round intellectual draft choices from around the world but the low-skilled-high-aspiring ones as well, and that is the main reason that I am not yet ready to cede the 21st century to China. Our Chinese will still beat their Chinese." Beat their Chinese at what ? Economic competition, I suppose. But the international economy isn't like a sports tournament. If Brazil wins the World Cup, Italy looses. If the Czech Republic plays better than the United States, we won't make it out of the first round. If the Rockets draft Yao Ming , he can't play for the Shanghai Sharks anymore. Economics isn't...
  • WHAT ARE SPERM...

    WHAT ARE SPERM FOR? One of the chapters of my book is called �Everything I know, I learned from the Gay Movement,� specifically the turn to a moral argument for gay marriage, a development I applaud and emulate in my own work for women. So I have watched the developments around the Federal Marriage Amendment, up for a vote in the U.S. Senate today, with my usual reaction to the current direction of American politics: fear and loathing. But I have had the strangest feeling all week that Bush �s Federal Marriage Amendment is going to, pardon the expression, backfire, not just because it�s so transparently strategic and insincere , but because it�s so hilariously stupid. Bob Cesca had a wonderful post on Huffington Post yesterday reminding us that a lot of the prohibition against nonreproductive sex, and therefore homosexual sex, stems from truly imaginative understandings of each sperm as having a little man in it waiting to be born. (Women were just the garden, naturally.) My personal...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: STUPIDITY08.COM. Matt Yglesias observes how Washington pundits are gushing over a very silly idea for a third party presidential ticket. --The Editors

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