FLORIDA REPUBLICAN: I'M NOT GAY, I'M RACIST! In what's rapidly turning into the grand unified Republican scandal of 2007, GOP State Rep. Bob Allen today explained his recent arrest for paying $20 to preform oral sex on an undercover cop by explaining that the guy was big, and black and he thought he "was about to be a statistic." Really. "This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park," said Allen. This has been reported in a lot of places, but I haven't seen anyone make the point that this is pretty revealing about Republican principles.
TOYS THAT REALLY DO MAKE OUR CHILDREN VIOLENT.The New York Timesreports today that lead paint continues to be a problem in children's toys in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, most come from China. The consequences can be deadly:
Jewelry is perhaps the most dangerous place for lead because children can swallow an entire ring or pendant, causing acute poisoning, which can cause respiratory failure, seizures and even death, whereas neurological damage and learning deficiencies are often associated with exposure to lead paint. Many children also tend to suck on jewelry or put it in their mouths, allowing lead to be absorbed into their bloodstream.
FROZEN BANANA REPUBLIC.The Economist has a piece today tying the recent string of corruption scandals in Alaska to the ready availability of money from oil extraction and the federal government. This is a problem that's well documented in the development literature (including in a new book which I reviewed for the website on Tuesday). Basically, the availability of a lot of easy money means that it's easy for leaders to justify avoiding spending money well. Why bother, comes the answer, when we've go so much? Also, since the money doesn't come from taxpayers, there's much less scrutiny of how it's spent.
META-BLOGGING.Via Matt Yglesias, the New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg is blogging from the YearlyKos convention. In addition to some excellentposts on the actual convention, he reveals that one of his daily reads is... TAPPED!
CLINTON: OBAMA IS IRRESPONSIBLE TO RULE OUT USING NUKES IN PAKISTAN. The Barack Obama-Hilary Clinton slug fest keeps going and going. To which I say "pass the popcorn," this has been by far the most fun week of the campaign and quite possibly the most illuminating one as well. Most recently in an interview today, Obama ruled out using nuclear weapons in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Clinton was quick to condemn this as careless: