Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere
Over the past month, the press and a good deal of the blogosphere has thundered over the racial motivations of the town of
, Jena , after a series of incidents supposedly showed the bigotry of its people and its government. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton called Louisiana the new Jena of the civil-rights movement. Activists pressured presidential candidates into making appearances in Selma and statements regarding the allegedly harsher punishments given to black students for assault and battery. The nation assumed that the South still couldn't give justice equally regardless of race. Jena
Craig Franklin of the Christian Science Monitor says that assumption comes from a national media too lazy to do any reporting on its own. He should know; he lives in
and his wife teaches at the high school at the center of the controversy. The media failed to learn anything from the Duke non-rape case and swallowed myths whole rather than investigate and report facts. Jena
-- ED MORRISSEY
It looks like Fred Thompson can kiss off the Christian conservative vote. He has insulted them, big time.
During a news conference . . . the Republican presidential candidate basically stated that when a family member is struggling to decide whether to pull the plug on a mortally ill loved one, everybody else should just butt out because it's none of their business. Indeed, it's an issue near and dear to him: “I had to face a situation like that in my own personal life, with my own daughter.”
Thompson's stance is definitely not in tune with the Christian conservative agenda. Their attitude - as evidenced by the Terri Schiavo case, the 24/7 cable TV melodrama of 2005 - is that the federal government should intervene in the private lives of families, and ensure, in accordance with their views of morality, that the doomed patient remains attached to the feeding tube.
-- DICK POLMAN
The one thing [Mitt] Romney cannot do to put the Mormon issue aside is to say that religion shouldn't matter in politics, since so many of those whose votes he seeks believe otherwise. Romney thus speaks often about faith, but in very general terms. "The values of my faith are much like, or are identical to, the values of other faiths that have a Judeo-Christian philosophical background," he said this month in
. "They're American values, if you will." New Hampshire
This also means that Romney cannot do what so many have suggested he must: give the equivalent of John F. Kennedy's 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in which JFK tried to push aside concerns over his Roman Catholicism.
-- E.J. DIONNE
A pullout of statements made during Sunday night's Republican debate misattributed a comment on health care to Ron Paul. It was Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who said: "When all the old hippies find out they can get free drugs, just wait to see how much that is going to cost us."
Overcoming years of opposition by farm industry lobbyists, the House of Representatives has passed legislation that would require background checks and registration for buyers and sellers of ammonium nitrate, a popular fertilizer that terrorists have used as a powerful explosive.
. . . The legislation had been introduced, without success, every year since the
bombing in 1995 where 168 people died from a massive ammonium nitrate bomb. Oklahoma City
A very popular, inexpensive and legal fertilizer, ammonium nitrate was used in terrorist bombings in
; Bali, Indonesia ; and the 1993 Istanbul, Turkey bombing. World Trade Center
-- ASA ESLOCKER
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler's courtroom yesterday experienced the kind of harmonic convergence generally reserved for those occasions when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars.
In a legal pleading that may have set a new standard for inventiveness, the lawyer for the alleged D.C. Madam argued that his client is a victim of -- you guessed it -- the scandal over the firing of U.S. attorneys. The federal charges that Deborah Jeane Palfrey ran a prostitution racket, her lawyer said, were cooked up to fit the "political purposes" of former attorney general Alberto Gonzales and his now-former aides Monica Goodling, Kyle Sampson and the like.
-- DANA MILBANKYour dreams miss you.
Or so says a television commercial for Rozerem, the sleeping pill. In the commercial, the dreams involve Abraham Lincoln, a beaver and a deep-sea diver.
Not the stuff most dreams are made of. But if the unusual pitch makes you want to try Rozerem, consider that it costs about $3.50 a pill; gets you to sleep 7 to 16 minutes faster than a placebo, or fake pill; and increases total sleep time 11 to 19 minutes, according to an analysis last year.
If those numbers send you out to buy another brand, consider this, as well: Sleeping pills in general do not greatly improve sleep for the average person.
American consumers spend $4.5 billion a year for sleep medications. Their popularity may lie in a mystery that confounds researchers. Many people who take them think they work far better than laboratory measurements show they do.
This may not shock anybody, but a new paper from Health Affairs finds that consumer-driven care -- also known as the Republican Party's answer to universal health care -- "would probably widen socioeconomic disparities in care and redistribute wealth in 'reverse Robin Hood' fashion, from the working poor and middle classes to the well-off. Racial and ethnic disparities in care would also probably worsen."
The reasons for this are largely issues we've talked through in the past. Health Savings Accounts and their ilk are attractive to the healthy, unattractive to the sick, and thus worsen "risk segmentation" in the market. Without healthy individuals subsidizing sick folks, more sick folks will be priced out of care. It's possible that attracting health individuals would actually lead to a net increase in those with something called "coverage." But the losses would be concentrated among those who most need health insurance.
-- EZRA KLEIN