Jamelle Bouie

This Station is Non-Operational

I plan to remember this the next time someone says that African American kids are hostile to education. Republican governors are terrified of a Rick Santorum nomination. A new viewing order for the Star Wars movies. I plan to try this out sometime. This profile of Gary Oldman, and the story behind it, is epic. Movie: The Movie is probably the best Oscar-related thing that happened last night:

Up in the Air

Rick Santorum is no longer a favorite for the Michigan primary, but he’s not a goner either. Mitt Romney’s onslaught of attacks—as well as a mediocre debate performance on part of the former Pennsylvania senator—haven’t been enough to dislodge his position with the state’s Republican voters. Five polls released today show a close race; a Public Policy Polling survey released last night showed Romney with a small lead over Santorum, 39 percent to 37 percent, a Rasmussen survey has the race at 38 percent to 36 percent, and a new We Ask America poll shows a somewhat larger lead, at 37 percent to 33 percent. On the other end, a new survey from the American Research Group shows Santorum with a slight lead at 36 percent to 35 percent, while a Mitchell Research/Rosetta Stone poll shows Santorum with a larger margin, at 37 percent to 35 percent. Nate Silver still gives Romney a 64 percent chance of winning the primary, but the fact is that a boost of momentum for Santorum could close that gap...

Halftime

Also at New York Magazine is a great feature by John Hellemann on the apparent implosion of the Republican Party. At Red State, Republican consultant Soren Dayton calls for the end of caucuses in the presidential nomination process I understand why people hate jury duty, but like Matthew Yglesias , I wouldn’t try to get out of serving, if asked. Crafting a Death Star cake has officially been added to my bucket list. Game of Thrones returns in a little more than a month. Get excited:

Santorum Disqualifies Himself for the Presidency

(John F. Kennedy/Library of Congress)
At this point, most people who cover the Republican presidential campaign—or Republican politics in general—are accustomed to Rick Santorum and his right-wing social conservatism. Even still, this deserves way, way more attention than it’s currently receiving. “Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up,” Santorum told an audience at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen. In an ABC News interview Sunday, George Stephanopoulos asked Santorum why the speech would make him throw up, to which the candidate replied: “I don’t believe in an America where the separation between church and state is absolute,” he said. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and visions of our country.” The speech in question is John F. Kennedy’s famous address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, where he declared his belief “in an America where the...

Architects of Their Own Defeat

Jonathan Chait has a great feature in New York Magazine on the frantic fear among Republicans that this is their last chance to stop the leftward drift of the United States as it becomes younger, browner, and more educated. He zeroes in on the apocolyptic rhetoric of GOP lawmakers and presidential candidates, but his most important point, I think, is this: The most widely agreed-upon component of any such undertaking was a concerted effort to win back the Hispanic vote. It seemed like a pure political no-brainer, a vital outreach to an exploding electoral segment that could conceivably be weaned from its Democratic leanings, as had previous generations of Irish and Italian immigrants, without altering the party’s general right-wing thrust on other issues. […] In the wake of [John McCain’s] defeat, strategists like Karl Rove and Mike Murphy urged the GOP to abandon its stubborn opposition to reform. Instead, incredibly, the party adopted a more hawkish position, with Republicans in...

Where Does Obama Stand?

(AP Photo)
If you are a committed Democrat or partisan Republican, then it seems that, for today at least, you have two polls to choose from. Republicans can look with glee at a USA Today and Gallup poll of registered voters in swing states , where former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum holds a 50–45 lead over President Obama, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney takes first place at 48 to 46. By contrast, the new Battleground Poll from Politico and George Washington University—which focuses on the same swing states—is exceptionally favorable to Democrats and supporters of the president. In this survey, President Obama’s approval rating increased to 53 percent—up from 44 percent in November—and he leads Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum by 10 and 11 points, respectively. Indeed, against a generic Republican, this lead shrinks to a still-impressive 5 points. His greatest gain comes from voters who say they “approve strongly” of the president. In November, they represented 27 percent of...

This Station is Non-Operational

“I believe I am kindly enough in nature, and can be moved to pity and to pardon the perpetrator of almost the worst crime that the mind of man can conceive or the arm of man can execute; but any man, who, for paltry gain and stimulated only by avarice, can rob Africa of her children to sell into interminable bondage, I never will pardon .” President Taft rides a water buffalo. And yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. The first photos from the new Star Trek sequel, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, aka, Sherlock Holmes! Marvel thinks very highly of upcoming Avengers flick. Hopefully it won’t disappoint. I was telling my coworker Patrick Caldwell about this song earlier today, and thought I would share: Have a great weekend.

Death Stars Aren't All Fun and Games

(ntime60/Flickr)
At first glance, building a moon-sized battle station seems incredibly expensive. A few students at Leigh University calculated that, assuming the mass/volume ratio of an aircraft carrier, a Death Star would cost $852 quadrillion, or 13,000 times the world’s GDP. According to Mother Jones ’ Kevin Drum, however, this isn't as costly as it looks. If the Empire has 1.75 million member worlds, and each has an average GDP of Earth circa 2500 (which would be about 20,000 times larger than the economic output of current Earth), then a Death Star would cost about 65x the average world’s GDP. If only a fraction of Imperial planets contributed a portion of their revenue to the construction of a Death Star, that would come to a miniscule percentage of the Empire’s economic output. Indeed, when viewed in that light, a Death Star is remarkably cost effective, provided it fulfills its purpose —”Rule through fear of force rather than force itself.” The only problem with this cost analysis is that it...

Chart of the Day

It’s always useful to have the proper context when evaluating the popularity of a presidential candidate. Otherwise, it’s hard to know if you’re looking at a deviation, or the usual pattern. Mitt Romney’s high unfavorables are unusual, for example, but the real question is how unusual? To that end, Talking Points Memo has a chart comparing the favorability of presidential candidates over the last decade: As it turns out, Mitt Romney isn’t just kind of unpopular for a presidential candidate in the February before the election, he’s extremely unpopular, to a degree that’s unprecedented in recent memory. The key question for his campaign—and the Republican Party writ large, if he wins the nomination—is whether he can recover by the fall. After all, even with a united party, it’s hard to see how anyone could turn these numbers around.

Halftime

The latest episode of Vox and Friends, The American Prospect podcast, is up and ready for listening . Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and give us a review! When you mix vintage video game systems with Daft Punk, amazing things happen. Former Prospect editor Mark Schmitt has a great review of Geoffrey Kabaservice’s book on the decline of moderate Republicans at The New Republic . I feel no shame in saying that I would buy this hat . I’m pretty much a sucker for anything with ridiculous action sequences and over-the-top villains. Which is to say, I plan to see this as soon as it comes out:

Kansas GOP: Poor Are Too Rich

(Flickr/jimmywayne)
Kansas Republicans, under the leadership of “compassionate conservative” Sam Brownback, are working hard to stick it to the poor: A Kansas House tax committee passed a bill in which anyone making less than $25,000 a year — roughly half a million of the state’s 2.9 million residents — will pay an average of $72 more in taxes, while those making more than $250,000 — about 21,000 people — will see a $1,500 cut, according to Kansas Department of Revenue estimates cited by the Kansas City Star. The hike would come from the elimination of tax credits typically benefiting the poor. I can’t help but see this as a continuation of the conservative meme that its the poor who don’t pay their “fair share.” Last fall, as the Occupy movement gained steam, it became common for conservatives to complain about the 47 percent of Americans who “don’t pay taxes.” Presidential candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry complained about it in speeches and debate performances, while conservative...

A Disaster Waiting to Happen

(IslesPunkFan/Flickr)
Under President Obama, judicial vacancies—and “judicial emergencies”—have become a common feature of the federal bench. Vacant seats have gone unfilled for years, and as a result, district courts around the country have been unable to operate at full capacity. Liberals are quick to blame Republicans, and for good reason; from the moment Obama entered office, GOP senators were committed to an unprecedented campaign of obstruction. Legislation and nominees were held up for the most trivial of complaints, and sometimes, no reason at all. But the president bears responsibility as well; neither judicial nor executive branch nominations were ever a priority for his administration, and at this point— reports the Chicago Tribune —Obama is on track to have an incredibly ineffectual presidency when it comes to filling the federal bench: Barack Obama is close to becoming the first president in at least half a century to finish a full term without making an appointment to a U.S. appeals court,...

Republican Women Still Like Rick Santorum

(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Yet another poll shows Rick Santorum with a lead among Republican women; according the latest survey from ABC News and The Washington Post , 57 percent of Republican women have a favorable view of the former Pennsylvania senator, compared to the 61 percent who have a favorable view of Mitt Romney. What’s more, as The Post notes, Romney has higher negative ratings among GOP women than Santorum does—28 percent to 18 percent. There is at least one reason to be suspicious of this result; the sample of Republican women in this poll—137 people, or 13 percent of all respondents—isn’t large, and the margin of error on the survey is ±9.5 percentage points. But even if we take the lower bound as the actual result, it still comes as a surprise to learn that, among Republicans at least, there isn’t much of a gender gap between the two candidates. Indeed, the same is also true as far as their unpopularity is concerned. Santorum is viewed unfavorably by 40 percent of Democratic women and 36 percent...

This Station is Non-Operational

Feministing’s Chloe Angyal makes her Prospect debut . Alyssa Rosenberg on the “ woman politician trend ” on television. Every single iPhone ad ever aired , in one place. Tumblr has announced new content policies which bans sites that promote self-harm. Good for them. Like everyone other person, it seems, I am excited for The Hunger Games movie. This happens to be one of my favorite scenes from the book:

What Drove the Santorum Surge?

Rick Santorum’s three wins in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri played a large part in raising his profile, but the whole of his surge is hard to explain with those wins alone. At YouGov, Michael Tesler finds that the Santorum surge is both a product of winning and a result of the intense national conversation over contraception: To put this to words, respondents with the highest levels of “moral conservatism” began to respond to Santorum around the same time that the administration handed down the birth control mandate for religiously-affiliated institutions. Here is Tesler with more: [M]orally conservative voters seem to have flocked to Santorum as they acquired more information about his similarly strong opposition to gay rights and abortion—an activation process that was probably accelerated by the influx of recent attention to these and other “culture war” issues in the news media. Unfortunately for Santorum, this just increases the likelihood that he becomes pigeonholed as a “...

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