Boy Scouts vs. Girl Scouts

Loved this Atlantic post on how it came to be that the Boy Scouts are essentially a very conservative organization and the Girl Scouts essentially a very progressive one.  Hooray for Girl Scouts.  Plus, there’s no beating Samoas.

Photo of the day

Rocket Man (from Time’s Photos of the week):

Evan Vucci—AP

March 6, 2012. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala


Re-thinking solitary

Over-use of solitary confinement is stupid, stupid, stupid.  We actually tried this with the original penitentiary systems.  The name is derived from penitent– you were supposed to silently and without any human companionship mediate on your failures and thus improve.  Of course, in reality, this is a recipe for mental illness.  That’s why we got rid of this system.  Alas, the tough on crime types have basically brought it back.  Now, even the good people of Mississippi are figuring out how counter-productive this can me and improving their ways.  Hooray!  Read more in this really nice Times piece.

Obama’s “handling” of gas prices

It’s questions like this that drive me crazy about both the American public and pollsters:

Seriously?!  You know who got this question right?  The 9% with no opinion.  The idea that the President of the US has anything to do with “handling” gas prices is not just laughable to any economists, but simply anybody who know anything at all about how gas prices work (which, apparently, is no more than 9% of the public).  Though, theoretically, I might say I approve in the sense that he isn’t going around pretending he has some control of the matter,  which I approve of.  Anyway, just goes to show what absurdly unrealistic expectations Americans have for our president.

NC’s anti civil-union amendment

Haven’t heard it called that?  If opponents of the amendment were smart, that’s what you’d be hearing all the time.  North Carolinians do not necessarily support gay marriage, but they do support allowing at least some legal recognition by a wide margin.  Yet, the proposed amendment quite clearly bans any legal recognition: “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.”  The chart below is from a recent Elon poll that shows shrinking support for the no legal recognition position:

Thus, only about a third support the actual position of the amendment, but it very well may pass because people clearly see it as “the gay marriage amendment.”  The opponents clearly need to make that change.  The Elon poll actually found that a majority of NC residents opposed the amendment, but that is very likely a very different population than NC voters on the May primary day.  John Robinson brings up the same argument I’ve long been making– we should expect to see younger voters (the group with the strongest support for gay rights) to be under-represented in the election.  I’ve always felt that if you could tell me the percentage of the electorate that is young vs. older voters you could pretty much know the outcome of this issue.  So, the two part challenge for opponents of the amendment is 1) framing this as the anti civil union amendment that it actually is; and 2) getting younger voters to the polls.

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