Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Joe Paterno revisionism...

...continues. From National Review Online (my emphasis):

Joe Paterno gave vast amounts of his salary to Penn State. He gave almost his whole life. His last gift was a heart that was not bitter, despite the horrible betrayal he suffered at the end, at the hands of the board of trustees.
___

When the hundreds of thousands of Penn State alumni hear the name JoePa, they think of moral leadership, of the kind of person they aspire to be. Of his warmth, his fatherliness, his steadiness, and his granite character. Joe Paterno was for hundreds of thousands of alumni the very model of the moral ideal of Western humanism.

Hundreds of thousands of alumni think a huge injustice was committed against JoePa by the board of trustees, and they have emphatically expressed their sentiments to the new interim president of Penn State during his coast-to-coast series of alumni meetings to damp down the great anger he is encountering. 

Pretty soon it'll be the liberal media's fault.

Let me say it again: the man harbored a sexual predator for decades.

It's none of my business, but...

...what the heck is Rick Santorum doing on the campaign trail if his daughter is so sick? According to an article in the Washington Post (my emphasis):

Rick Santorum, who will return to the campaign trail in Missouri Monday afternoon, said that his three-year-old daughter Isabella, who suffers from a serious genetic disorder, almost died this weekend after a serious bout with pneumonia.

“A simple cold can kill her, and it almost did this weekend. She ended up with pneumonia and a cold,” Santorum told conservative commentator Glenn Beck on his radio show Monday. “But she was able to get great care and yesterday really made a great turn around and she will be out of the ICU today and so we are getting back to normal here.”

His daughter, known as Bella, suffers from Trisomy 18, a rare disease that causes severe mental and physical impairments. Santorum said she bounced back Sunday after she was hospitalized in Philadelphia Saturday.

"She had a very tough go of it, but yesterday afternoon she rallied, and she's on the mend," he said. "We are feeling very, very blessed, I just want to thank everybody for their prayers."

Santorum's supporters prayed at an event here Sunday, kicking it off with a moment of silence for Bella.

Is it really so important for Mr. Santorum to return to the campaign trail? Can't the world get by for a few more days without hearing him rail against gay marriage and contraception? And does anybody really care about Santorum's candidacy? After all, Intrade gives him less than a two percent chance of winning the Republican nomination -- less than even Ron Paul!

Go home, Mr. Santorum, and be with your family.

Jonah Goldberg asks...

..."Is Intrade really that useful?":

From what I can tell, the “prices” for shares in political candidates have been all over the place over the last year. So how predictive are they, really? It seems to me they don’t really measure the likelihood of anything so much as the prevalence of certain aspects of conventional wisdom. It’s a clever way to poll people in a given moment, not some ingenious new mechanism for gleaning the future.

When I complain about Intrade to some of my Intrade-obsessive friends, they say that the numbers change because the facts on the ground change. And in the end, the accuracy is great. Well, first of all, isn’t that true of conventional wisdom, pundits, polls, etc. too?

(Read the rest of it here.)

My answer to Mr. Goldberg is, yes, Intrade is definitely that useful. In fact, you can pretty much ignore all the other polls and pundits and just consult the Irish betting Web site. And it's faster, too -- like the difference between high-speed DSL and dial-up Internet service.

Take last week, for example. After Newt Gingrich's dramatic victory over Mitt Romney in South Carolina, the former Speaker came into Florida with a head of steam. Everyone was talking about the "Gingrich surge." And then a funny thing happened: on Wednesday morning Gingrich went from a twenty point lead over Romney on Intrade to a twenty point deficit in the space of a few hours. I, of course, searched the Internet frantically (and in vain) for news as to why. For the next few days, the polls and pundits kept touting Gingrich even as Romney's lead grew. It wasn't until about Friday or so that the talking heads caught up with Intrade.

How does Intrade work? I'm not sure, but I have a guess. (Surprised?) While my son attributes its accuracy to the wisdom of crowds, I think the reason is simpler. I once heard James Grant say that before the SEC investors used to make money in the stock market the Old Fashioned Way: by trading on good, reliable inside information. And I suspect the same is true for Intrade. After all, how many people are actually betting on the Web site? I would guess not that many. Instead, I'll bet that the main players are Those In The Know, i. e., staffers, journalists close to the campaigns, etc. They see internal polls, judge crowd sizes and enthusiasm, and talk to other insiders. And they pick up on clues long before the polls or the "experts" on TV.

So while I'll admit that it's fun to look at polls, listen to the pundits on TV and read the various opinions on the Internet, at the end of the day it's most helpful to just consult Intrade.

The statistic of the day...

...is from Jane Brody's column in the Times, "Communities Learn the Good Life Can Be a Killer":

In 1974, 66 percent of all children walked or biked to school. By 2000, that number had dropped to 13 percent.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I can't believe I'm taking the side...

...of the Catholic Church over the Obama administration -- again. But from a front page article in the Times this morning, "Ruling on Contraception Draws Battle Lines at Catholic Colleges,":

Many Catholic colleges decline to prescribe or cover birth control, citing religious reasons. Now they are under pressure to change. This month the Obama administration, citing the medical case for birth control, made a politically charged decision that the new health care law requires insurance plans at Catholic institutions to cover birth control without co-payments for employees, and that may be extended to students. But Catholic organizations are resisting the rule, saying it would force them to violate their beliefs and finance behavior that betrays Catholic teachings.
___

The administration’s rule has now run headlong into a dispute over values as Republican presidential contenders compete for the most conservative voters. In an election season that features Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who have stressed their Catholic faith, scientific thinking on the medical benefits of birth control has clashed with deeply held religious and cultural beliefs.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, why risk alienating 68 million American Catholics? And I know, as the piece goes on to say:

Despite Catholic teachings, surveys have found that 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women, as in the general population, have used contraceptives.

I still think the ruling is needlessly provocative. The article continues:

At Catholic universities, some students support the right of the schools to uphold religious doctrine. But others, particularly professional and graduate students, have found the restrictions on birth control coverage onerous. Undergraduates are often covered by their parents’ insurance, but graduate students are usually on their own and are more likely to be married or in relationships and in regular need of birth control.

At some schools, students say the rules are so stringent they have a hard time getting coverage even if they need birth control pills for strictly medical reasons.

One recent Georgetown law graduate, who asked not to be identified for reasons of medical privacy, said she had polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition for which her doctor prescribed birth control pills. She is gay and had no other reason to take the pills. Georgetown does not cover birth control for students, so she made sure her doctor noted the diagnosis on her prescription. Even so, coverage was denied several times. She finally gave up and paid out of pocket, more than $100 a month. After a few months she could no longer afford the pills. Within months she developed a large ovarian cyst that had to be removed surgically — along with her ovary.

Come on; she couldn't find a hundred bucks a month to prevent a serious illness? I find that hard to believe. Where else was she spending her money?

Finally, I have to agree with the following:

Senior Catholic officials said that students at Catholic universities should know what to expect, and that those who disagree with the policies can choose to go elsewhere.

Sorry, fellow agnostics and Obama supporters; this is one time I'm afraid we'll have to part company.

The New Yorker cartoon of the day:



"I need to see another ten or eleven debates before I make up my mind."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I saw two good movies...


...this weekend, Contagion and Warrior.


Warrior was a little long and not entirely believable, but good nonetheless. Contagion was probably the better movie, but it had its flaws. For one thing, Minnesotans would never riot -- even in a crisis. And second, at one point one of the characters said that "blogging isn't writing; it's graffiti with punctuation." Not funny.

Dick Tufeld, who supplied the voice...

...for the robot in the 1960s television series "Lost in Space," died at age 85. The show, which ran from 1965 to 1968, was a futuristic reimagination of “Swiss Family Robinson” (my emphasis):

In "Lost in Space" a clean-cut, space-traveling clan (the Robinsons), along with a pilot and a talking robot (physically, a hulking ancestor of R2D2 from “Star Wars,” played by Bob May but voiced by Mr. Tufeld), is sent careening around the galaxy by the machinations of a conniving villain, who is somehow marooned on the spacecraft himself. Alighting on various planets, they have campy, semi-threatening adventures.

The cast included Mark Goddard as the pilot, Maj. Don West; Jonathan Harris as the villain, Dr. Zachary Smith; and Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Marta Kristen, Angela Cartwright and Billy Mumy as the Robinsons. Billy was the family’s youngest child, Will, the focus of one of the robot’s most frequent and most famous declarations: “Danger, Will Robinson!”

The show took place in the far-off year of 1997.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I went to the dentist...

...this afternoon. Why does it always remind me of this scene from Seinfeld?

Joe Paterno holds the record...

...for most victories in Division I football history. He may also be in the process of setting the record for the quickest image rehabilitation. From an article in the Times today (my emphasis):

Penn State concluded its weeklong goodbye to the former football coach Joe Paterno with a memorial Thursday at a packed arena that featured remembrances from a player from each of the six decades in which he coached, videos of him with the team and an emotional closing eulogy from his son Jay.

The service mirrored the reverential tenor of the other ceremonies that have honored the contribution that Paterno, who died from lung cancer on Sunday at 85, made in transforming Penn State and its football program. The speakers mostly avoided the child sexual-abuse scandal that led to Paterno’s firing Nov. 9.

The exception was the speech given by Phil Knight, the chairman of Nike, who was a close friend of Paterno’s. In the memorial’s most riveting moment, Knight lambasted Penn State’s board of trustees for firing Paterno, the coach from 1966 until 2011, because he did not report to the police what he knew about a suspected 2002 sexual assault by the former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Paterno, who wore black Nikes on the sideline, reported the allegations to two university officials, but apparently did not follow up.

“It turns out he gave full disclosure to his superiors, information that went up the chain to the head of the campus police and the president of the school,” Knight said. “The matter was in the hands of a world-class university and a president with an outstanding national reputation. Whatever the details of the investigation are, this much is clear to me: if there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation, not in Joe Paterno.”

Do I have to remind everyone? The man harbored a child molester.

My problem with Mitt Romney...

...isn't that he's rich. He worked hard and earned his fortune. God bless him!

No, my problem with Romney is that he (and the other Republican candidates*) would rather balance the budget with Draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid than return to the tax rates of the 1990s (which were low by historical standards).

*Actually, all four of the Republican presidential candidates would like to cut taxes further.

If the United States can survive...

...a nuclear-armed Soviet Union and a nuclear-armed China, we can surely survive a nuclear-armed Iran.

I agree with George Will: Of course Iran wants a nuclear weapon -- everyone in their neighborhood has one. And of course they're going to build one; it's just a matter of time. So what should the U. S. response be? Containment.

I bring this up after hearing some of the alarming talk about a war with Iran from the Republican candidates for president.

And then I read this on the front page of the Times this morning (my emphasis):

Israeli intelligence estimates, backed by academic studies, have cast doubt on the widespread assumption that a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would set off a catastrophic set of events like a regional conflagration, widespread acts of terrorism and sky-high oil prices.

The estimates, which have been largely adopted by the country’s most senior officials, conclude that the threat of Iranian retaliation is partly bluff. They are playing an important role in Israel's calculation of whether ultimately to strike Iran, or to try to persuade the United States to do so, even as Tehran faces tough new economic sanctions from the West.

“A war is no picnic,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio in November. But if Israel feels itself forced into action, the retaliation would be bearable, he said. “There will not be 100,000 dead or 10,000 dead or 1,000 dead. The state of Israel will not be destroyed.”

Just what we don't need -- another war in the Middle East.

It's over.

Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee in 2012; he crushed Newt Gingrich in last night's debate in Jacksonville. According to Intrade, the odds of Romney winning the Florida primary are 90 percent.

Now about that general election...

How's Japan doing these days?

Just fine, thank you, according to a recent piece in the New York Times, "The Myth of Japan's Failure." Eamonn Fingleton, who predicted the Japanese financial crash of the 1990s, writes (all emphasis mine):

Despite some small signs of optimism about the United States economy, unemployment is still high, and the country seems stalled.

Time and again, Americans are told to look to Japan as a warning of what the country might become if the right path is not followed, although there is intense disagreement about what that path might be. Here, for instance, is how the CNN analyst David Gergen has described Japan: “It’s now a very demoralized country and it has really been set back.”

But that presentation of Japan is a myth. By many measures, the Japanese economy has done very well during the so-called lost decades, which started with a stock market crash in January 1990. By some of the most important measures, it has done a lot better than the United States.

Japan has succeeded in delivering an increasingly affluent lifestyle to its people despite the financial crash. In the fullness of time, it is likely that this era will be viewed as an outstanding success story.

Not so, says Paul Krugman. Or, at least, the story is a little more nuanced. In "Japan, Reconsidered" and "More on Japan (Wonkish)," Krugman says:

The real Japan issue is that a lot of its slow growth has to do with demography. According to OECD numbers, in 1990 there were 86 million Japanese between the ages of 15 and 64; by 2007, that was down to 83 million. Meanwhile, the US working-age population rose from 164 million to 202 million.
___

What you see is that 1990-2000 really was a lost decade: Japanese output per potential worker fell a lot relative to the United States, when in the past it had been steadily rising. However, Japan made up most though not all of the lost ground after 2000.

This morning, in Bloomberg, William Pesek chimes in:

On Jan. 9, youngsters celebrated Coming of Age Day, donning kimonos, visiting temples and partying the night away. This year, only 1.2 million Japanese turn 20, half as many as in 1970. A shrinking population complicates efforts to repay a $12 trillion debt, more than double the size of the economy.

It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize to know that paying off debt gets harder when you’re running out of people.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The race for the Republican nomination...

...for president could conceivably be over after tonight's debate in Jacksonville, Florida.

Mitt Romney is currently leading Newt Gingrich in Florida, 80 percent to 20 percent, on Intrade. If Gingrich can't use tonight's debate -- the last one before next week's primary -- to turn around his poll numbers, then he will almost surely lose on Tuesday. After that, Gingrich's money will dry up and the party should coalesce around Romney.

Now, if Newt can muster another big debate performance like he did in South Carolina last week, well, then he just might surge to victory again. But I think his candidacy is getting a little long in the tooth.

Romney could deliver the knockout blow tonight.

I wrote a post a while back...

...which compared the modern-day Republican Party to amorous porcupines:

The coalition formed by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s -- big business, evangelicals, libertarians, southerners, blue collar "Reagan Democrats" and Cold Warriors -- may be on its last legs.

Absent a charismatic individual like FDR or St. Ronald to hold it together, the GOP has fractured into board room/country club types (Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman), libertarians (Ron Paul), culture warriors (Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry) and foreign policy hawks (Santorum, Gingrich, Perry and Romney -- sort of -- but not Huntsman necessarily, and definitely not Paul). Whew! This is confusing.


So what happens to the GOP when Romney -- finally -- gets the nomination? Will Paul mount a third-party bid? If not, will his supporters back Romney, vote Libertarian or just stay home? And what about Newt's and the two Ricks' supporters? Will they be motivated to go out and campaign for the rich Mormon guy from Massachusetts?

Barring some unforeseen downturn in the economy, I expect President Obama will cruise to reelection in November. And whither the GOP? Unless another Ronald Reagan magically appears on the scene, it will be navel-gazing time -- for a long while.


(Read the rest of it here.)

The Economist had a piece this week, "Incoherent Party, Incoherent Candidates," which had a similar theme (my emphasis):

Republicans' disenchantment with their current presidential candidates is not an incidental characteristic of this crop of candidates. It's a structural feature of a contemporary Republican Party whose pieces don't hang together. Pro-Iraq-war neoconservative Republicans cannot actually live with Ron Paul Republicans. Wall Street-hating anti-bail-out Republicans cannot actually live with Wall Street-working bail-out-receiving Republicans. Evangelical-conservative Republicans cannot actually live with libertarian, socially liberal Republicans. Deficit-slashing Republicans cannot live with tax-slashing Republicans. Medicare-cutting Republicans cannot live with Medicare-defending Republicans. These factions have been glued together over the past three years by the intensity of their partisan hatred for Barack Obama, and all of the underlying resentments that antipathy masks. Republicans have buried their differences by assaulting everything Mr Obama supports, and because Mr Obama is a pretty middle-of-the-road politician, that includes a whole lot of things that many Republicans used to support. They are disenchanted with their candidates because their candidates are incoherent, but their candidates are incoherent because the base is incoherent. If the GOP wins this election, the party's leaders are going to be confronted with that incoherence pretty quickly. Unfortunately, so will the rest of us.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The New Yorker cartoon of the day:

Why did Mitt Romney...


...suddenly pull ahead of Newt Gingrich in Florida on Intrade?

Did I miss something?

When Saul Alinsky...

...met -- George Romney? Another headache for Mitt.

(From BuzzFeed.)

The chart of the day...

...is from Ezra Klein's blog.

Jacob Weisberg wrote about Mormons...

...in Slate back in 2006. (How did I miss that?)

But what I want to know is, does this book of golden plates still exist somewhere? From Weisberg's piece (my emphasis):

There are millions of religious Americans who would never vote for an atheist for president, because they believe that faith is necessary to lead the country. Others, myself included, would not, under most imaginable circumstances, vote for a fanatic or fundamentalist—a Hassidic Jew who regards Rabbi Menachem Schneerson as the Messiah, a Christian literalist who thinks that the Earth is less than 7,000 years old, or a Scientologist who thinks it is haunted by the souls of space aliens sent by the evil lord Xenu. Such views are disqualifying because they're dogmatic, irrational, and absurd. By holding them, someone indicates a basic failure to think for himself or see the world as it is.

By the same token, I wouldn't vote for someone who truly believed in the founding whoppers of Mormonism. The LDS church holds that Joseph Smith, directed by the angel Moroni, unearthed a book of golden plates buried in a hillside in Western New York in 1827. The plates were inscribed in "reformed" Egyptian hieroglyphics—a nonexistent version of the ancient language that had yet to be decoded. If you don't know the story, it's worth spending some time with Fawn Brodie's wonderful biography "No Man Knows My History." Smith was able to dictate his "translation" of the Book of Mormon first by looking through diamond-encrusted decoder glasses and then by burying his face in a hat with a brown rock at the bottom of it. He was an obvious con man. Romney has every right to believe in con men, but I want to know if he does, and if so, I don't want him running the country.

One may object that all religious beliefs are irrational—what's the difference between Smith's "seer stone" and the virgin birth or the parting of the Red Sea? But Mormonism is different because it is based on such a transparent and recent fraud. It's Scientology plus 125 years. Perhaps Christianity and Judaism are merely more venerable and poetic versions of the same. But a few eons makes a big difference. The world's greater religions have had time to splinter, moderate, and turn their myths into metaphor. The Church of Latter-day Saints is expanding rapidly and liberalizing in various ways, but it remains fundamentally an orthodox creed with no visible reform wing.

I had suspected that Mitt Romney...

...wouldn't release his tax returns out of concern that evangelicals would see how much he was giving to the LDS Church. When I mentioned this to someone recently, he said that maybe the real reason was that Romney didn't want Mormons to see how little he was giving to the LDS Church. (I hadn't thought of that.)

According to an article in the Times today, Romney earned $21.6 million in 2010 of which he contributed about $1.6 million to the LDS Church. That's about seven and a half percent, less than the 10 percent Mormons are expected to tithe.

When Joe Paterno was the quarterback...

...of Brooklyn Prep in 1944, according to a piece in the Times today, he (my emphasis):

...played a game against St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, N.J., whose team was coached by the not-yet-legendary Vince Lombardi.

I recorded President Obama's...

...State of the Union address last night and started watching it at around 9:00. I gave up about two-thirds of the way through, though, and went to bed. It was boring.

I woke up this morning and read Andrew Sullivan's take. And I couldn't agree more (my emphasis):

I was hoping for a vision. I was hoping for real, strategic reform. What we got was one big blizzard of tax deductions, wrapped in a populist cloak. It was treading water. I suspect this will buoy liberal spirits, but anger the right and befuddle the independents. It definitely gives the Republican case against Obama as a big government meddler more credibility. I may be wrong - but the sheer cramped, tedious, mediocre micro-policies he listed were uninspiring to say the least.
We voted for Obama; now we find we got another Clinton. The base will like this. I'm not sure independents will. As performance, he did as well as he could with the thin material he had in his hands. As a speech, I thought it was the worst of his SOTUs, when he really needed his best.

The president had a chance to offer an alternative vision to the craziness coming out of the Republican debates. And he blew it. He'll have other chances between now and November, but he has to do better than this.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

President Obama will deliver...

...his third State of the Union address tonight and Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana will give the Republican response. Daniels, you may recall, was the director of the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush when the federal budget surplus was magically transformed into a deficit through tax cuts for the rich.

And, on the very same day, Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax return showing that he paid about 13.9 percent on an adjusted gross income of $21.6 million.

(Also, Newt Gingrich has taken a commanding lead over Romney in Florida, but I couldn't find a picture with all three of them.)

Is President Obama the luckiest guy on earth, or what?

When the Republican Party base Tea Party discovered in 2009 that the Clinton budget surpluses had been squandered and that the nation was facing record deficits, they inexplicably blamed President Obama and "runaway federal spending." Except that spending wasn't the problem; revenue was. It turns out that the single biggest cause of the federal budget deficits was the Bush tax cuts. And tonight we'll be hearing from the architect of those cuts after we got a look at the tax returns from a high-profile beneficiary of those policies. (Why aren't those two in hiding?)

Warren Buffett's secretary is expected to be in attendance at the SOTU address tonight. You remember her; she pays federal taxes at a higher rate than her boss. I'm sure the president will point to her tonight when he talks about inequality in America.

But I say: never mind her, just remind everyone of Daniels and Romney.

The consensus on last night's debate...

...in Tampa seems to be: boring. The effect it will have on the race in Florida: nil. (Newt Gingrich is still leading Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State by about 60% to 40% on Intrade.)

I thought of my favorite chart...

...when I read this piece in the Times this morning (my emphasis):

In tapping Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana to deliver Tuesday's Republican response to the State of the Union address, Congressional leaders wanted a sober figure, noted for his seriousness on fiscal matters and unencumbered by the presidential nomination fight roiling the party.

But the sight of Mr. Daniels on national television is sure to raise wistful “if onlys” in a Republican establishment that had put the governor at the top of its wish list for a White House run.

Aides to Speaker John A. Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, say their choice was not meant to elicit another round of hand-wringing over the contentious Republican presidential field.

“Mitch Daniels is a successful two-term governor with an extraordinary record of fiscal responsibility and job creation,” Mr. Boehner said. “He provides a great contrast to President Obama’s policies.”

Now before Republicans start the drumbeat again for a Draft Daniels movement, I would just like to remind them that the Indiana governor was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush. According to Wikipedia (my emphasis):

During Daniels' 29-month tenure in the position, the projected federal budget surplus of $236 billion declined to a $400 billion deficit.

Is that what Mr. Boehner meant by "an extraordinary record of fiscal responsibility?"

Wouldn't it be ironic...

...if the Citizens United decision cost the Republicans the 2012 election?

From a front page story in the Times this morning, " 'Super PAC' for Gingrich To Get $5 Million Infusion" (my emphasis):

A wealthy backer of Newt Gingrich will inject $5 million into a "super PAC" supporting his presidential bid, two people with knowledge of the contribution said on Monday, providing a major boost to Mr. Gingrich as he seeks to fend off aggressive attacks from Mitt Romney, his main Republican rival.

The supporter, Dr. Miriam Adelson, is the wife of Sheldon Adelson, a longtime Gingrich friend and a patron who this month contributed $5 million to the super PAC, Winning Our Future. Dr. Adelson's check will bring the couple's total contributions to Winning Our Future to $10 million, a figure that could substantially neutralize the millions of dollars already being spent in Florida by Mr. Romney and Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting him.
___

The Adelsons’ contributions on Mr. Gingrich’s behalf illustrate how rapidly a new era of unlimited political money is reshaping the rules of presidential politics and empowering individual donors to a degree unseen since before the Watergate scandals.

The wealth of a single couple has now leveled the playing field in two critical primary states for Mr. Gingrich, a candidate who ended September more than $1 million in debt, finished out of the running in Iowa and New Hampshire and, unlike Mr. Romney, has yet to attract the broad network of hard-money donors and bundlers that traditionally propel presidential campaigns.

Your Andy Borowitz...

...tweet of the day:

I thought Gingrich was finished in the 90s. I guess this means the return of Chumbawamba.

Rick Santorum says that traditional marriage...


...is an institution that "reflects God's will for us." Really. And how do you suppose he knows this? Has he talked to God lately? Has God answered him?

What if I was to say to Mr. Santorum that marriage includes not only the traditional definition -- as that of a man and a woman -- but also of a man and a man, or a woman and a woman? And what if I assured him that this reflects "God's will for us?" How would he argue the point? How could he argue the point?

Monday, January 23, 2012

The New Yorker cartoon of the day:

Rick Santorum is in...

...the catbird seat. If the former senator from Pennsylvania stays in the Republican race it could help Mitt Romney by dividing the conservative vote. If he drops out sooner rather than later, it would clear the field for Newt Gingrich as the only alternative to Romney.

You don't suppose Santorum is negotiating right now for a high-level cabinet post in a future Gingrich or Romney administration, do you? How about the VP slot?

Saul Alinsky is a great name...

...for a Republican villain. Sounds so ... New York-ish.