He's Just Not That Into Blue

For years, liberals have entertained the possibility that Mitt Romney is secretly a moderate whom they could actually agree with. After all, he was for abortion before he was against it, and Romneycare is no conservative achievement.

Ron Paul, Crazy Person

Last night, Ron Paul was on The Daily Show, and under the gentlest of questioning from Jon Stewart, he said some truly insane things. After alleging that people who don't support him "don't understand what freedom is all about," Paul made his usual case that government is bad because it makes decisions for everyone, whereas "when you make a bad decision, it only hurts you."

Actual Socialists Substantially More Socialist Than Allegedly Socialist President

Via Kevin Drum, this poll from Winthrop University shows, among other things, that a full 74.7 percent of South Carolina Republicans think the term "socialist" describes Barack Obama well or very well (in addition, almost 30 percent believe he's a Muslim, and 36 percent think he was probably or definitely born in another country). So just out of curiosity, I shuffled over to the website of the Socialist Party USA to see how Obama-esque they are these days. The answer? Not much.

Unconventional Thinking

Over at Transom, a site showcasing interesting things going on in public radio, Ira Glass explains what makes Radiolab such a terrific program, which is kind of like having Ted Williams explain to you what makes Joe DiMaggio a great hitter. Here he is talking about a one-minute introduction to a segment on the program, particularly the way the co-hosts, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, talk to each other:

Friday Nerd Blogging: Is Batman Crazy?

Over at Alyssa Rosenberg’s blog, a post about the class differences between heroes and villains has become a thread over Batman and his methods. In particular, the commenters are working through one particular question: Is Batman crazy?

As the argument goes, it’s not that Batman is insane, per say, but that he has a monomaniacal focus on justice that manifests itself as a sort of pathology, in which his life derives it’s only meaning from the pursuit of criminals.

Department of Ed Lets Schools Off the Hook -- for Now

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Department of Education officially released standards for states to exempt themselves from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind law. Many states are desperate to avoid the consequences of failing to meet the requirements of the 2001 law, which mandates that all students be 100 percent proficient in reading and math by 2014 or lose federal funding.

Chart of the Day, Racial Wealth Gap

As has been shown time and time again, African American families have been the biggest losers in the current economy. Black unemployment, for example, has been in the 16 percent range for more than two years, with dim prospects for improvement. The poor economic position of African Americans is most evidence with regards to overall wealth – as this new chart from the Economic Policy Institute shows, black wealth has seen a precipitous decline since 2007, to a 20-year low.

The Countermobilization Myth

I strongly recommend Garrett Epps's new article in the Prospect. But like Amanda Marcotte, I don't think this is right:

Mitt Romney Knows that Conservatism Is a Feeling

Jonathan Chait may have just unlocked Mitt Romney's strategy:

Yes, conservatives have developed a series of policy stances — say, that subsidizing and regulating private health insurance is the greatest threat to freedom in American history. Rather than treat this as a principled view, Romney simply treats it as an atavistic expression of hostility toward Obama. He defends his Massachusetts plan by pointing out that it involves private insurance. That makes it exactly the same as Obama's plan, but Romney probably figures most conservative voters don't know that, and he's probably right...

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things, Affordable Care Act Edition

Last night's Republican debate was interesting for many reasons, but the thing that made me angriest was this, from Herman Cain:

WALLACE: ...and we all share in the happiness about your situation. But, you say if Obamacare had been in effect when you were first being treated, you would dead now. Why?

Will Obama Have Trouble With Latinos in 2012?

Yesterday, at a meeting with journalists and bloggers at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz spoke about the organization’s efforts as it prepared for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Florida Republicans Think Social Security Is a Ponzi Scheme Too

According to a new survey from Quinnipiac University, in Florida Rick Perry’s Social Security message -- “it’s a Ponzi scheme” -- resonates with a whole lot of GOP voters. Among Republicans, the only voters allowed to participate in the state’s Republican primary, 52 percent say that a “Ponzi scheme” is a fair way to describe the retirement program.