Thompson's Troubles [David Weigel, Reason]: "Is it fair that Thompson should suffer for taking a reasonable, federalist position—one that he clearly believes in? Well, yes: He's running for the GOP nomination as the dream candidate of the social conservatives." Hillary's Ohio Problem [Justin Paulette, Political Machine]: "Massachusetts' electoral votes have already been handed over the the Democrat (whomever they may be).
Via Cato at Liberty, the Boston Business Journal has an interesting piece noting that not all of the uninsured in Massachusetts have complied with the state's mandate to purchase health insurance. Cato's Michael Tanner takes it as an occasion for gloating: "How could anyone know that an individual mandate for health insurance would be unenforceable? Oh yeah, we told them." This seems misguided on a few levels.
The conservative campaign to convince Americans that the economy is better than they think it is continues with today's Wall Street Journal editorial trumpeting a new Treasury Department study which purports to find a high level of income mobility in the United States. Perhaps by coincidence, the Pew Charitable Trusts' Economic Mobility Project also released a less sunny study today on the same subject (key findings here). It's interesting--sometimes even a bit funny--to note the ways in which very similar data can be spun differently.
Dems Head to Vegas [Big Tent Democrat, TalkLeft]: "Obama has shrewdly allowed John Edwards to take the path of self immolating personal attacks on Clinton (now he won't say he will support Hillary if she is the nominee, he is self destructing), while reaping the political benefits of those attacks. But Obama has a chance to do more now.
The Los Angeles Times had an interesting article yesterday noting that new housing developments in fire-prone areas in the hills that surround southern California's metropolitan areas are moving ahead at full speed, including in areas that were actually burned by last month's fires. The question the article raises is, why is so much of the new housing in the region being built in such high-risk areas? Part of the answer, of course, is that land is scarce and that's where the open space is. But that's not the whole story.
Jason Elam's accomplished just about everything there is for a kicker to do in the NFL--he's won two Super Bowls with the Broncos and (still, barely) shares the all-time league record for longest field goal (63 yards). So, as the Rocky Mountain News reports, he's turning to a new line of work: writing action novels. His first book is entitled Monday Night Jihad, and its main character is Riley Covington, a special-forces soldier turned football player who finds himself pressed back into fighting terrorism.
Joltin' Joe [Kate Phillips, The New York Times]: "In remarks yesterday, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman criticized the Democratic presidential candidates for their adherence to the views of the 'politically paranoid, hyper-partisan' liberal base of the Democratic party, saying that allegiance could harm the eventual nominee’s chances of gaining entry to the White House." They Like Mike [Stephanie Simon, Los Angeles Times]: "After months of dismissing Huckabee as a nice guy with no chance to win, Iowa's influential social conservatives are giving him a second look.
It's two days old now, but William Voegeli's piece in the Wall Street Journal on conservatism and federal spending is well worth a read. It addresses what is now perhaps the bedrock dilemma for the American center-right: given that there's simply no political constituency for meaningfully shrinking the size of government, is it better for conservatives to make their peace with the welfare state and seek to limit its reach, or recommit to a gratifying (if ultimately likely futile) crusade against its legitimacy in the first place?
Mark Hemingway at National Review Online has a very bizarre column up today: [W]hen Sarkozy declared in the House chamber that a nuclear Iran was unacceptable--a significant number (though by no means a majority) of Democrats did not rise with the rest of the audience for the standing ovation that ensued. That’s right, a couple dozen members of Congress are more dovish than the president of France on a pressing matter of international security. Can it really be possible that not every single one of the 535 members of Congress is more hawkish than a center-right president of France?
One of the most insanely awesome strategies for combating global warming is oceanic iron seeding. The basic idea is you take a whole bunch of whatever element is limiting plankton growth on the high seas (in most places iron; sometimes nitrogen or phosphorus) and dump it in the ocean. The result is a plankton bloom, which removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and in theory could lead to lower temperatures.