Obama's Batting Average Just Went Up
August 19, 2008

It's a typical summer night in the Cohn household, which means the Red Sox are on television. McCain has been advertising pretty heavily on the New England Sports Network (NESN) for the last few weeks, usually with some version of his "celebrity" ad, presumably to reach the heavy New Hampshire audience. Obama, meanwhile, has run far fewer spots--and what I've seen has been relatively tepid. (It's an unscientific sample, yes, but I catch most of the games, so I have at least some basis for making this judgment.) Tonight, though, the NESN broadcast included an Obama contrast ad.

War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength
August 15, 2008

At least the ignorance of others is strength. The ignorance of the West, or its disinterest in other peoples' lives, is the strength of...oops, I almost typed "the Soviet Union." No, it is old imperial Russia, quite vulnerable actually, like the Czar's Russia.

A School's Place In The Community
August 03, 2008

In the August/September issue of Policy Review, Stanley Fish has a long essay explaining why teachers should not strive to "fashion moral character or produce citizens of a certain temper." Instead, the goal of educators should be to "equip those same students with the analytical skills — of argument, statistical modeling, laboratory procedure — that will enable them to move confidently within those traditions and to engage in independent research after a course is over." Fish is much more concerned by classroom advocacy than seems warranted (although admittedly he probably has his ear pretty

Dear Barack Obama
July 19, 2008

Dear Senator Obama, Welcome to Israel. When you arrive here on July 22, you will encounter a people intrigued by your candidacy and, given the current crisis of Israeli leadership, envious of your capacity to inspire. Issues that have worried some Americans about your background have scarcely been noted here. The whispering campaign labeling you a Muslim wasn't taken seriously by mainstream Israelis. Nor are we fazed by your middle name: Half of Israel's Jewish population has origins in Muslim cultures.

Battle Of The Budgetary Nerds
July 09, 2008

As the presidential campaign wears on--particularly if it continues to look like Barack Obama is headed for victory--it will be interesting to see whether the tension between centrist deficit hawks and more liberal fiscal types that bubbled up in the wake of Jason Furman's hiring becomes more pronounced.

Mccain's Fuzzy Math Health Care Plan
July 02, 2008

If there's one thing we all know about John McCain, it's that he's not the candidate who's going to raise taxes. But is that really so? A new paper out this morning, from the Center for American Progress, suggests otherwise.  I haven't had a lot of time to look at it--or to vet it with other sources or get a response from the McCain campaign. (Hope to do so in the coming hours and days.) So what follows should be taken as a very tentative reading, until I learn more.

Inside Mccain's Ipod
June 26, 2008

Now that we've peeked at Obama's iPod, how about McCain's? Here's an imagined playlist for those long and tedious Baghdad airport landing spirals: "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" -- Glenn Miller Orchestra "Over There" -- George M.

Call It The Xx Markup
June 26, 2008

As if it weren't bad enough that women still end up getting stuck with more of the housework, now it turns out they're also getting stuck with higher health insurance bills. That's the news out of California, where the state's Blue Shield insurance plan recently announced new rates for people purchasing coverage individually, rather than through an employer or other large group. Blue Shield unveiled the new rates in a recent letter that contained a chart. And if you examined the chart closely--as David Lazarus did for his Sunday Los Angeles Times column--a gender differential comes into view.

Flashback: When Bill Clinton Was A Populist
June 25, 2008

While I was hunting down video links for my item about vice presidential candidates and their great moments in campaign debates, I stumbled across the clip below, which is from the 1992 campaign. It doesn't feature the veep candidates, though. It showcases Bill Clinton going up against George H.W. Bush in what would become an iconic moment of that campaign. For those who don't remember, this was second of the three presidential debates that year. It was a town hall-style event, with audience members asking questions.

About That Education Crisis
May 20, 2008

This email just in from a reader education analyst Sara Mead*: I just saw your Plank post on the new AAUW study; since you had questions about its objectivity (which is fair, given the documented problems with their 1992 "how schools shortchange girls" report), I wanted to direct you to a report I wrote for Education Sector, a nonpartisan education policy think tank, two years ago.