Delaware

According to my new, less tolerant understanding of American democracy gained by reading, in this magazine’s words, Walter Kirn’s “definitive Ohio hit piece,” the future of our country depends on the whims of a Midwestern electorate worthy of coastal scorn because they find national politicking a bit off-putting and rent their golf clubs. Why was this ad hominem attack directed at Ohio voters? One view, espoused by readers, is that it was a poorly executed satire on the absurdity of the Electoral College that fell flat.

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Obama's strength in southeastern Pennsylvania is just a little too much for Republicans to overcome.

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Up in the Air

LATE ON THE MORNING of July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart climbed into the cockpit of her Lockheed Electra airplane on a small grass runway in Lae, New Guinea. She was 22,000 flight miles into her daring attempt to fly around the world, a journey that had captivated Americans since she lifted off from Miami a month earlier. Now Earhart was facing the most dangerous leg of the trip: a 19-hour, 2,556-mile flight to a tiny speck in the Pacific Ocean known as Howland Island. Earhart’s celebrity had grown formidable in the decade since her transatlantic flight, the first ever by a female pilot.

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Occupy Congress

On the evening of Wednesday, February 22, protesters pitched tents in front of the district office of Democratic Representative Allyson Schwartz in the small hamlet of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.

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Bloomberg has an absolutely terrific piece of reporting out today about how the big banks have mobilized to water down the Volcker Rule—the reform measure designed to prevent federally-backed banks from placing bets for their own bottom line. Here’s the gist: To make their case in Washington, banks and trade associations have been pressing a coordinated campaign to get regulators from five federal agencies to scale back the draft of the proprietary-trading rule issued in October, according to public and internal documents and interviews.

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The economic crisis in Europe reached its latest crescendo last night, as Greece managed, through furious last-minute negotiations, to convince its creditors to give it some more breathing room. But if the Greeks have managed to stave off ruin for a few more minutes, nothing has essentially changed in their situation: Their economy is still in shambles.  The burning question on most observers’ minds, and rightfully so, is whether the Greeks will ever manage to pay back their debts. But at this stage, it’s also worth considering how we ended up on the precipice of such catastrophe at all.

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After just barely pulling out a win in Ohio, Mitt Romney has “won Super Tuesday” by most media accounts. But even with his successes (wins in Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Idaho, and a decent shot in Alaska), you’ll likely hear some people echo a recent claim by Newt Gingrich: that Romney can’t be confident of the nomination if he can’t win anywhere in the South. This concern didn’t suddenly present itself: Mitt’s first real stumble in the race, of course, was in South Carolina, where he got righteously stomped by Newt.

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Well, I have to admit that I called this one. Back on February 2, I wrote a post titled “Top Veep Prospect Gets Ready For His Ultrasound,” noting that Virginia was on the verge of passing legislation that would require women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound allowing them to see and hear the fetus.

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The Village Voice gives out theater awards called the Obies (for Off-Broadway), and during the 1980s the Voice’s theater department voted to bestow one of those prizes on the distinguished absurdist Václav Havel, who dwelled in the faraway absurdistan known as the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. In their New York productions, Havel’s plays ran at the Public Theater, and everyone who kept up with the downtown scene knew them well. The plays were splendidly mordant.

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On January 1st, Hawaii and Delaware began to offer same-sex civil unions. That brings the number of states recognizing same-sex civil unions to five. Meanwhile, six states and Washington, D.C. now allow same-sex marriage. What impact has marriage equality had on same-sex couples? A 2009 study examining same-sex couples in Massachusetts (where gay marriage has existed since 2004) gives some perspective.

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