The Plank

Why So Long?

In the latest issue of Social Research (wait! come back!...), Marc Mauer has a very smart essay pointing out that the U.S. prison population grew so rapidly during the 1990s not because people were being thrown in prison at a greater rate, but because the length of time served in prison was increasing so dramatically.

Vintage Barbour

I meant to blog this earlier, but yesterday's Times had an interesting piece on Haley Barbour's opponent in the Mississippi gubernatorial election--a trial lawyer named John Arthur Eaves. The notable thing about Eaves is that he's been hitting Barbour from the right on a lot of social issues, like school-prayer. Barbour, for his part, has been losing patience with this line of attack. As the Times reports:

For Washington-area Readers

I'll be appearing at Politics and Prose this Sunday, October 14, at 5:00 to read from and discuss my book.

Update: It's 5:00, not 5:30 as I originally wrote.

--Jonathan Chait

"ours Is More Like Federal Express"

An article calling out Ann Coulter's latest outrage -- on

War Supporters Anonymous

Much of the blogosphere is speculating about why Barack Obama's "I didn't vote for the war, therefore I have better judgment" tack hasn't gotten the traction he thought it would, despite his new Internet ad.

More On That Obama Op-ed

A rival campaign points me to a speech Obama made in November 2006, where he used language that's substantively similar to the amendment he criticized in today's op-ed (which I wrote about earlier). Here's the key graf from the Obama speech:

The Dearborn Debate

(Update: This post is also available as a web-only article here.)

This afternoon's Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan went pretty much the way the entire campaign has gone lately: A lot of hype about Fred Thompson, but ultimately a contest between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

Romney's Gaffe

Mike made a brief mention of it below, but wasn't Romney's answer to the question about whether he would take military action without consulting Congress to prevent Iran from acquiring nukes the sort of gaffe that can sink a campaign? In case you missed it, here's the exchange Romney had with Chris Matthews:

The Dorian Gray Primary

Watching Fred Thompson side by side with his GOP opponents last night I was again struck by how old he looks. This is a man who's just two years older than Rudy Giuliani and five years older than Mitt Romney but often seems, in both appearance and manner, as though he could be from another generation altogether.