Afternoon interlude

Because it’s my blog and I can:

Why the French pay too much in taxes

I know political science is sometimes criticized for its “science of the obvious” findings, but the following is breathtaking in its obviousness:

LONDON — Scientists say being fat can be bad for the bedroom, especially if you’re a woman.

In a new study, European researchers found obese women had more trouble finding a sexual partner than their normal-weight counterparts…

Experts interviewed more than 12,000 French men and women aged 18 to 69 about their sexual experiences and analyzed the results based on their Body Mass Index.

Obese women were 30 percent less likely than normal-weight women to have had a sexual partner in the last year.

Not all that surprisingly, obesity seemed to have not nearly the same negative impact on men.  So, why give France a hard time?

The study was paid for by several French government agencies.

Seriously?  The government needed to pay money to find out that obese women have sex less often?

Quote of the day

Larry Summers, from EJ Dionne’s column on the need for more economic stimulus:

“Different economic circumstances require different approaches to economic policy,”

Um, you’d think that would be pretty obvious, but sadly this is a key difference between Democrats and the tax-cut ideology that has consumed the Republican party.  For the Republicans, it’s simply all tax cuts all the time.  When all you’ve got it a hammer…  Somehow, you’d think a 1st grader could figure out that context matters and different situations call for different tools, but when it comes to economic policy, the only thing Republicans have to offer is tax cuts and less government regulation (that’s worked great with offshore drilling).

As for the need to get the economy moving, Dionne points out how foolish it is to be focused on short-term deficits compared to getting real economic growth:

If you don’t think growth needs to come first, consider these numbers from Summers: We could cut the debt as a share of GDP by half a percent with $75 billion in either spending cuts or tax increases. But we would achieve exactly the same result with an extra three-quarters of a percent of GDP growth. “Spurring growth, if we can achieve it,” Summers said at Hopkins, “is by far the best way to improve our fiscal position.”

We certainly have to do more to deal with our long-term structural debt, but those getting all exercised by short-term debt generally don’t seem to get this very important point.

Etheridge (political Rorschach test)

Perhaps you’ve seen the latest political controversy.  Bob Etheridge, the Congressman in who’s district NC State sits (though, walk across Hillsborough street to get lunch, and your in Brad Miller’s) is quite the cable news cause celebre after assaulting some “college student” who was videotaping him.  Watch the video and decide for yourself just how wrong he was:

Was Etheridge totally wrong to act like this?  Ummm… of course.  Does it mean he should resign or is some horrible person?  Definitely not.  Will it affect his re-election in the Fall?  I doubt it.  For the most part, I suspect this is largely a political Rorschach test.  For Republicans, it’s “look at that horrible Democrat, he should be out of office.”  For Democrats, it’s “sure Etheridge was wrong, but that videotaper was clearly a Republican stalking him and Etheridge didn’t do anything that wrong.”

Given that Etheridge simply acted like a jerk, I suspect this will very much blow over.  Especially, because the anonymous videographer was clearly trying to “get him” and wouldn’t respond with anything beyond “I’m a college student,” as if that’s some universal pass.  I suspect for things like this to really have legs, you need to do more than act like a jerk, but say/do something with additional personal or political resonance, e.g., “macaca

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