Video of the day

This is awesome.  In addition to the excellent feminist commentary/satire, this is a great example of how delivery is everything in comedy.

What the public doesn’t know

The latest WP poll about public attitudes towards the budget showdown is a great example of the limits of polling and the limits of the American public.   For starters:

Overall, the public is split almost evenly over whether the debt ceiling should be raised, with 46 percent saying yes and 43 percent saying no. But the two parties are mirror images of one another, with 62 percent of Democrats saying it should be raised and 61 percent of Republican saying it should not. Independents are divided, with 48 percent supporting and 46 percent opposing.

Sorry, unless you are complete Tea Party rube to suggest at all the debt ceiling should not be raised is to demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the American economy (and yes, that means you 38% of Democrats, too).  There is simply no question at all that the debt ceiling should be raised.   In no sane world should this be a 50-50 split.  It’s like suggesting there should be some reasonable split on “should you blow off your left foot with a shotgun.”  Unless your goal is to truly and seriously damage the American economy– and thus the lives of millions of Americans– the answer simply has to be “yes.”   But this part really kills me:

Those partisan divisions exist despite a consensus across party lines that failure to raise the limit would cause severe harm to the economy. On that question, 78 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents and 66 percent of Republicans agree that not raising the limit poses a serious threat to the economy.

All these people admit a “serious threat to the economy” but many of them think we should do it anyway?!  The lack of consistency speaks to the problematic nature of polling people on matters like this.

Those who advocate raising the limit are far more likely to say failing to do so would hurt the economy. But even among those who say they oppose an increase in the limit, almost six in 10 say the economy would be damaged if the government defaulted on its bills.

It’s easy to answer a poll question that you are just fine damaging the economy.  Probably a lot harder if the poll question spun out specific economic outcomes which would likely affect you directly.

Okay, and last bit:

Roughly eight in 10 Republicans trust their leadership while about seven in 10 Democrats trust the president. Independents split their trust 37 for percent Obama, 41 percent for congressional Republicans.

The same partisan lines exist on the question of who is less willing to strike a deal. More than eight in 10 Republicans say Obama is doing too little to compromise, while more than seven in 10 Democrats say the Republicans are too inflexible.

Really?!  Really?!  These 8 in 10 Republicans are as completely divorced from reality as their leadership.  They are suggesting that Obama and the Democrats are inflexible because they are unwilling to simply give up on the signature legislative accomplishment of his presidency and take away health insurance for millions because the Republicans control the House?!  Riiiiiight.

Art, music, special ed, and permanent classrooms in schools– who need ’em

Nice piece in the National Journal summarizing some of the key issues regarding education policy in NC.  Among the more disturbing recent developments, the Republican Party of Wake County (i.e., Raleigh and environs), has come out against the school bond issue.  Why?

The Wake County Republican Party recently came out against the bond issue, much to the dismay of local officials. Desormeaux says that some critics doubt the school is using every available foot of space it can for students, and they wonder if art, music, and special-education rooms, which have fewer desks, can be converted into regular classroom space.

Unreal.  That is seriously their official position– don’t raise the money in the most cost effective way possible to build schools for a growing population, rather cut back on art, music, and special ed.  And put kids in temporary classrooms.  Well, if that doesn’t just sum up the Tea Party approach to education.  Ugh.

There’s also a battle from the Republican-controlled county board and the Democratic-controlled school board over how money should be spent.  Apparently, some Republicans believe that Democrats can somehow not be trusted in spending the money on more schools.  Let me guess, if Democrats build the schools it will be all art and special ed and they won’t expect kids to go to school in trailers.  The good news is that plenty of “reasonable” (yes, there’s some of them left) understand the importance of investing in education and of having a good school system as an important draw to the area and a basis for solid economic growth.  Alas, the Tea Party types have won out for the “official” Republican Party.  Sure hope the voters will be smart enough in a very low-turnout, very low information election to come next month.  If not, I have little doubt, there will be lasting damage to the area.

Photo of the day

Apparently, I get emails from the Audubon Society with links to cool slideshows.

Once a young Bald Eagle is around eight weeks old, both male and female parents must hunt almost constantly to feed it.
Credit: Hung Tran
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