Super-long infographic of the day

Actually randomly got this from a student who is not in my media and politics class, but perfect for when I’m talking about media consolidation:

media infographic

Photo of the day

Recent National Geographic photo of the day:

Picture of a pod of hippos in Tanzania

Hippos, Tanzania

Photograph by Ari Goldstein, My Shot

Ryan’s suits

The other day I mentioned to a friend that I just could not understand why a politician of Ryan’s stature was wearing suits that looked like a boy wearing hand-me-down suits from his dad or big brother.  It’s really just bizarre.  I cannot think of another nationally prominent politiican where I’ve simply noticed how poorly they are dressed.  I wondered if I was just imagining it.  No.  The friend mentioned that the Post had actually run an article on it:

But Ryan (Wis.) appeared rumpled, slightly sloppy for a vice-presidential candidate. As if he’d flown in hours before and mistakenly picked up someone else’s suitcase. His pants sagged at his ankles. His starched, white shirt bunched at his stomach. His dark jacket drooped, better suited for a man of the cloth than a man on a presidential ticket.

Ryan, a high-ranking House Republican, known as a stickler for numbers and a devotee of hard-core workouts, seemed oddly unconcerned about the clothes he wore during the most important announcement of his political career. How could a fitness buff with 6 to 8 percent body fat wear a suit that looked two sizes too big?

Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The article goes on to suggest it may be a calculated move:

“Paul Ryan looked like what he is: a rumpled, think-tank policy wonk sort of guy,” said Christine K. Jahnke, president ofPositive Communications, a Washington-based media and image-consultant company (her hundreds of clients have included The Washington Post). “I don’t think that will change as the campaign goes on. If he clicks it up too much, both he and Romney will have the distant CEO-Wall Street look.”

Perhaps his raw, slightly unkempt suit balances out Romney’s snazzier, controlled appearance. Ryan’s Midwestern sensibilities and baggy pants may appeal to swing voters who think cuff links are wasteful expenditures. The man believes in trimming budgets, not pant legs.

Honestly, I think he just has no idea how to buy a suit.  Then again, a little googling led me to this NYT critique (and I love the psycho-analysis that goes with it):

I asked my colleague Bruce Pask, the men’s fashion editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, for his thoughts on Mr. Ryan’s sizing problem. In an e-mail, he said: “Like many American suit wearers, I think he suffers from the misconception that the size a guy wears directly correlates with his masculinity. In their minds, being a 42 is more manly than a 40. And yet what actually happens when a guy wears something too big is the obvious: he looks smaller, dwarfed by shoulders that are too big, a shirt collar that is too roomy, lapels that are too wide.”

Bruce added: “A suit should properly contain the body. It’s a very empowering thing to wear a jacket that hugs the torso, a shape that you fill completely and appropriately.”

Instead of boasting about his insane workout, perhaps Mr. Ryan should get a skilled tailor, or challenge campaign aides to pay closer attention to tangible details rather than abstractions like whether or not the candidates appeal to nonrich, nonwhite voters.


Abortion, exceptions for rape, and giving feminists a bad name

All Slate edition.  First, Weigel has a nice piece about the fact that Akin’s policy view– no exceptions ever– though, quite unpopular among the public is not a fringe view, but quite accepted among Republican elites:

National Review‘s house editorial on Akingate made a cynical point, and made it rather poorly.

For the very same reason this issue offers Democrats a political opportunity, however, it is only a theoretical one: No state is going to ban abortion in the case of rape even if Roe v. Wade is overruled — and even if Akin were elected to the Senate. Everyone knows this.

Not everyone! In Louisiana, a “trigger law” signed by the state’s last Democratic governor would ban all abortions in the state if Roe v. Wade was overruled. In North Dakota, a“personhood” law gives human rights to “any organism with the genome of homo sapiens.” In Virginia this year, a new “personhood” bill sailed through the Republican House of Delegates — it got gummed up in the Senate, but that took some doing.

Several states have already passed absolute bans on abortion after 20 weeks, well before viability, without exceptions for rape and incest, and the stated intent is to keep moving that line closer and closer to fertilization. Even if voters rejected “personhood” amendments in Colorado and Mississippi, that hasn’t stopped the movement from trying again and again, down to spreading falsehoods that common forms of birth control are tantamount to abortion.

Meanwhile, Amanda Marcotte has an interesting piece about how rape exceptions just don’t work in practice:
Carmon also points out that when rape exceptions have been employed in the U.S., they don’t work. The Hyde Amendment bans federal funding for abortion, with a rape exception, but surprisingly few women that are eligible for government-subsidized abortions actually get the funding they’re entitled to.

And what if we were to enact a widespread ban on abortion, with the incest and rape exceptions? The general ban on abortion would mean that finding doctors and clinics who can and are willing to offer the service under the narrow restrictions would become nearly impossible. It’s not about the skills so much as it would be the environment of fear. If you can get thrown in jail for performing an illegal abortion, you’re going to err on the side of not allowing any abortions at all. Sure, this rape victim in front of you seems like she has a legal claim to abortion, but what if some grandstanding prosecutor down the line decides to challenge her story and therefore charge you with a crime?

These aren’t just hypothetical questions. Throughout Latin America, there are abortion bans that have exceptions built in for certain emergencies, but women who legally qualify for the exceptions find that no one is willing to put their necks out for them.

Very important points indeed, insofar as this is a genuine policy debate, but why does Marcotte have to be so bullheaded in her characterizations of those opposed to legal abortion:

Believing that rape is a “legitimate” reason to abort may make you slightly less horrible than Todd Akin, but you’re still a misogynist who thinks that having sex requires forced childbirth as punishment.

So, if you think abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape and incest you are automatically a misogynist.  Now, that’s not my personal position, but I find Marcotte’s suggestion damn offensive.  I’ve got a good friend who is an ethics professor and quite a feminist, I love to quote her formulation on abortion: “if you think it is an easy issue, you haven’t thought about it enough.”  There are plenty of people who oppose abortion for deep-seated moral beliefs, that does not make them misogynists and it gives the pro-choice crowd a bad name to suggest that this is the case.

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