The group blog of The New Republic

February 19, 2007

It is amazing to me that we demand more tolerance from our NBA stars than from our presidential candidates.

--Sacha Zimmerman

This is a lovely little article from Beliefnet.com, taking a look at George Washington's religious beliefs. With all the squabbling over whether America's founding fathers were Christians as the far-right defines Christianity today, Steven Waldman takes the noble middle ground, exploring the historical evidence of Washington's religious practices, and eventually coming to this conclusion: "He was neither evangelical nor a secularist--just a great man."

Happy Presidents Day.

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Washington D.C. is distributing 250,000 "city-branded" condoms as part of an HIV/AIDS prevention program. And, while I support the effort, the aesthetics bother me: "City health chief Dr. Gregg Pane said he hopes the purple and mustard yellow packages will be placed prominently and accessibly in government buildings"--we have to make sure the congressmen are using protection with the pages after all. But purple and mustard yellow packages? Is this a safe-sex program or or a football-team logo?

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A while back, when I wrote about Denmark's ability to make a large welfare state co-exist with economic growth, my colleague Brad Plumer suggested I check out the work of Peter Lindert. Lindert, an economist at the University of California-Davis, wrote a highly acclaimed book called Growing Public: Social Spending and Economic Growth since the 18th Century.

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Yesterday, John McCain told a group of South Carolina voters, "I do not support Roe versus Wade.

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I'm no business authority, but it struck me as an insane move on the part of General Motors to position itself to buy out Chrysler--making the Big Three in Detroit a mere Big Two. GM slashed 36,000 jobs last year and lost a staggering $10.6 billion in 2005; so taking on more trouble in the form of an ailing Chrysler (which itself lost $1.5 billion last year and comes with a health care bill of $18 billion) seems ludicrus.

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I'm tired of all the talk (just check out your average day of doleful chat on Romenesko) about how newspapers have outlived their day.

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I heard this on Saturday but until now couldn't find corroboration: During the Senate's weekend Iraq debate, GOP Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire took a weird shot at the House's anti-surge resolution as "San Francisco sophistry." Here is the text of the House resolution:

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Down in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton says "this presidential election is about breaking barriers." But what she means is gender barriers, not racial ones, because she goes on to say that "I am the candidate with the experience to break the barriers." (And you're apparently not, Obama.)

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According to The New York Times, Iraqi officials have submitted a draft of a new petroleum law to the Cabinet for its approval. The New York Times focuses entirely on the provisions that would divide the oil among the different provinces, but equally important to Iraqis and to American oil companies are the provisions granting foreign companies an entree into Iraqi oil.

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