Quick hits

1) How come some political women are covered as women who happen to have children (e.g., Hillary, Pelosi) while others are clearly covered as "moms" (e.g, Sarah Palin)?  I'm not sure, but I actually think I'd like to further investigate this issue in my research. 

2) Great primer on "bundling" and how it can really cut health care expenses.  We need to do this.

3) Via James Fallows, what it would like of the TSA ran New York City.  Okay, this is quick hits, but worth a great quote:

The point of terrorism is not to "destroy." It is to terrify. And
for eight and a half years now, the dominant federal government
response to terrorist threats and attacks has been to magnify their harm
by increasing a mood of fear and intimidation. That is the real case
against the ludicrous "orange threat level" announcements we hear every
three minutes at the airport. It's not just that they're pointless,
uninformative, and insulting to our collective intelligence; it's that
their larger effect is to make people feel frightened rather than brave.

4)  "Porn Star saves man from incompetent prosecutor."  The headline says it all.  Sort of

5) Interesting thoughts on cultural differences regarding marriage, divorce, etc., on red and blue states, from the always thoughtful Jonathan Rauch.  A worthy quote:

The result of this red quandary, Cahn and
Carbone argue, is a self-defeating backlash. Moral traditionalism fails
to prevent premarital sex and early childbirth. Births precipitate more
early marriages and unwed parenthood. That, in turn, increases family
breakdown while reducing education and earnings.

"The consequential sense of failure increases the demands to
constrain the popular culture — and blue family practices such as
contraception and abortion — that undermines parental efforts to
instill the right moral values in children," Cahn and Carbone say. "More
sex prompts more sermons and more emphasis on abstinence." The cycle
repeats. Culturally, economically, and politically, blue and red
families drift further apart as their fortunes diverge.

 

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Anglican priests

Really interesting article in a recent New Yorker about the controversy of the Anglican Church potentially naming women as Bishops.  They've had women priests for years, but apparently the idea of female bishops is causing another level of controversy, as many opponents think that any priest invested by a female bishop would not be a real priest.  First, just let me say, "give me a break."  I used to be quite against female priests.  When I was 16 and ignorant.  There's just no good theological rationale here.  I also long-ago learned, in one of the most personally influential books I've ever read, that the Catholic Church has systematically downplayed the role of women in the early church to further justify modern discrimination.

Anyway, part of the story was that the Catholic church was hoping to poach disaffected Anglican priests, should that church decide to have female bishops.  Having also learned about the significant differences between Anglican and Catholic belief back in my undergrad days, this quite frankly pissed me off.  An Anglican service might appear quite similar to a Catholic mass, but in many ways, an Anglican priest is closer to a Methodist minister than a Catholic priest.  There are substantial differences in theology and belief between Anglicanism and Catholicism that cannot and should not be lightly papered over (nice summary here).  The idea that the existence of female bishops, which is at best a minor doctrinal issue, should be more important to these priests than fundamental issues of belief about the very nature of the Church and its sacraments (e.g., the meaning of communion, the role of the Pope, the sources of doctrinal authority, etc.) is just outrageous to me.  That the Catholic Church is so desperate for priests at any costs that it would welcome these individuals with open arms, is likewise outrageous to me.  Do the doctrines of the Catholic church actually mean anything to it?  Can they be politely cast aside when it means you get an influx of new, conservative clergy (even if they are married)?  Do these Anglican priests believe in all the other doctrines (role of women, aside) that they profess to?  I find the whole thing shameful.

Chart of the day (magical thinking version)

Great post from Jon Chait on modern conservatives and government spending.  Chait really seems to understand the pathologies at work more than anybody.  Here's the key chart and a bit of Chait's exposition:

Here's what actually happened:

See that period in the 1990s, when the light blue spending line goes
down and the dark blue revenue line goes up? That's the effect of the
deficit reduction deals that conservatives continue to regard as
unthinkable. Now, you might say it's a reflection of the 1990s business
cycle, and that's partly true. But contrast it with the 1980s business
cycle, when the deficit got big and stayed big. Or the 2000s business
cycle, when revenues collapsed and only partly recovered even at the
peak of the business cycle. The one period of time when federal
spending actually declined on a continuous basis was when policymakers
had implemented tax hikes
. That's the period when George H.W. Bush
and Bill Clinton were clawing back the Reagan tax cuts. The periods when
outlays were rising were when tax cutters Ronald Reagan and George W.
Bush were in the saddle.

The ultimate take-home is that not only is conservatives faith-based adherence to tax cuts stupid, it is completely self-defeating.   Back to Chait:

I really do think that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney would like to reduce
spending. It's just that they wanted to cut taxes even more, and those
two goals are in tension. They could have made a deal with moderate
Democrats to trim spending and lose the tax cuts, but they refused to do
that because such a deal is anathema to conservatives. The conservative
movement is committed to a policy of maximal upper-level tax cuts, and
the deficits that go with it are a price they're willing to pay. It
won't stop until conservatives understand that this policy is insane and
self-defeating.

Okay, just read the whole thing, you'll be glad you did.

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