On the Massachusettes Senate Race

Quote of the day from Josh Marshall in reference to morons like Evan Bayh backing off health care reform:

People don't like politicians who are weak and don't know what they
believe. If the bill was worth passing yesterday, it's just as worth
passing tomorrow. All the meta-politics about being for something
before you were against it, knowing what you believe or not knowing,
being able to get something done. It all comes down to stuff like this.

 Jon Chait on the Democratic panic. 

Jacob Hacker, the godfather of the public option, on the (very smart) logic of why reform should most definitely still be passed. 

Any of of the conservative Democrats who are dumb enough to think that health care reform failing is somehow actually going to be good for them (how'd that work out in 1994?) are not smart enough to deserve to be in office.

My greatest concern: millions of people who would have the huge benefit of actually having health insurance will now go without.  That sucks.  People who would deny them that health insurance in nonsensical fears of "government takeover" and "socialism" suck. 

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Circumsize me!

Okay, not really, the doctor already took care of that almost 38 years ago (I know, TMI).  Anyway, apparently a number of medical professionals are pushing to recommend circumcision for its proven ability to reduce sexually transmitted diseases.  I actually found the biology behind this interesting (reader discretion, you may want to replace "interesting" with "gross.")

Circumcision appears to reduce the risk for infections because the
foreskin contains cells that are more easily penetrated by viruses and
has a moister environment more conducive to the growth of viruses and
other microbes. The foreskin is also prone to developing tiny tears
during sex that increase the risk for infections, Gray said. 

"Men who are uncircumcised are more likely to have a variety of
infections under the foreskin, and the inflammation from those
infections could increase the risk of ulcerations, which could also
increase the risk of infection," Gray said.

Other experts agreed.

"If we had a vaccine that was as effective as this at reducing the
risk, we'd be jumping up and down with joy," said Arleen A. Leibowitz,
a professor of public policy the University of California at Los
Angeles.

Naturally, the article goes on to cite those who disagree and consider it an unethical medical procedure.  No complaints from me nor the Greene boys, though. Anyway, I do think it is an interesting area of public health discussion that people are generally hesitant to discuss for the obvious reasons.

It’s the economy, stupid

There's been plenty written about Obama's declining popularity (which will be especially notable should Brown win in MA today), but most journalists and pundits are too obsessed with mico-level political battles to notice the obvious– it's the economy, stupid (and by stupid, I mean all those fools who somehow think it is "liberal over-reach," etc., at cause for Obama's problems– you wouldn't be hearing about all of Obama's flaws and failings were unemployment at 6%).  Anyway, Jon Chait (in his great new blog) has a nice piece about this problem:

Political scientists understand that economic conditions play a
massive role in shaping people's opinions about their political
leaders. Economic conditions are not the only factor — other things,
like wars or scandals can play a huge role, especially over a short
period of time. But any understanding of a president's popularity must
begin with the state of the economy.

John Judis made this case persuasively last fall…

I have noticed a recurring theme in Republican commentary has been to
ignore the economy in assessing the public's sour mood toward the party
in power, and to assert that disapproval of the Democrats is entirely a
function of public revulsion at the liberal agenda. One could make a
case that the Democrats have politically overreached. I disagree. But
to characterize the backlash as driven entirely by concerns about
policy, without mentioning the pull of an economic crisis that began
before Obama took office, is not an argument that any political
scientist, or even a candid pollster or political adviser, would take
seriously. It's pure propaganda.

How could I not love a blog that puts such credence in "political scientists."  In this case, both "political scientists" and Chait are abosultely right and most of Obama's detractors are either a) clueleses, or b) lying (that means you, Charles Krauthammer).

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