Category Archives: Politics

Keeping up with politics, revisited

It’s elec­tion sea­son here in the Unit­ed States, and there are a num­ber of big issues fac­ing our coun­try, espe­cial­ly as we look back on the last 4÷8÷12÷16 years and where they’ve brought us.

So a few weeks ago I asked about keep­ing up with pol­i­tics. I’m inter­est­ed in bal­anced opin­ions that clear­ly address issues while inform­ing read­ers about con­text (so some­one like me, who’s new to some of the specifics, can keep up with­out get­ting over­whelmed). A few results:

I’ve also attempt­ed to keep up with Penn­syl­va­nia state and local pol­i­tics (though no one has helped me here, for shame). This one’s a bit hard­er, as there is obvi­ous­ly less atten­tion, but so far I’ve found that Key­stone Pol­i­tics has enough news to keep me informed enough.

Of course, this is a very dynam­ic sub­ject — and a very dynam­ic time — so I’d appre­ci­ate any com­ments about things I’ve missed!


I’m gath­er­ing, from my read­ing here and there, that most peo­ple don’t know that Her­bert Hoover famous­ly declared that the “fun­da­men­tal busi­ness of the coun­try” was sound. (Can it be “famous­ly” if most peo­ple don’t know it? Nev­er mind.)

That part­ly explains why Repub­li­cans seem eeri­ly com­pelled to echo Hoover; they don’t know what it makes them sound like.

Fun­da­men­tals — Paul Krug­man — Op-Ed Colum­nist — New York Times Blog

From the linked arti­cle:

For Hoover as for McCain, the insis­tence on “sound fun­da­men­tals” means that if nec­es­sary, the gov­ern­ment will throw a life pre­serv­er to busi­ness lead­ers; the rest of us are on our own.

I’m no econ­o­mist (and I’d appre­ci­ate any insight from oth­ers) but McCain’s com­ments real­ly do scare me. (They would­n’t if about half of Amer­i­ca did­n’t think he should be our next Pres­i­dent.)

Keeping up with politics?

So I’m actu­al­ly try­ing to keep up with pol­i­tics; call it the spir­it of the times. I’m hav­ing a hard time find­ing what to read with­out it com­plete­ly con­sum­ing my time. Won­der­ing what every­one else reads.

Here, I’ll start: Ken shared Don­kle­phant with me about a year ago, a (gen­er­al­ly) bal­anced source of polit­i­cal news. Not too many sto­ries a day, not too much pun­dit­ry.

If you keep up, how do you do it?
(Read my update for some of my answers.)

In which I actually address a political rumor

A few days late, but I spent the first days of this week read­ing about some dis­crep­an­cies in Sarah Pal­in’s recent preg­nan­cy. Sum­ma­ry: some peo­ple think the child is actu­al­ly her daugh­ter’s (and that her daugh­ter’s cur­rent preg­nan­cy is a cov­er-up).

iRe­port had an arti­cle, but Kar­i­on’s arti­cle was more inter­est­ing (i.e. more sources), and it’s his I want to address here. After ask­ing my labor-and-deliv­ery-nurse mom about some of the details, she had a few cor­rec­tions:


Three days [after birth], [she] announces (at work) that the baby has Down’s syn­drome, that she has known that since ear­ly in the preg­nan­cy. Why would a staunch­ly pro-life woman, who oppos­es legal abor­tions for rape and incest vic­tims, screen for birth defects when there is ABSOLUTELY no chance that she would have an abor­tion?

Because it’s not about “find­ing out if the baby is retard­ed so we can abort”. My mom:

“From a med­ical stand­point ANY woman 35 and old­er has the option to be test­ed for any chro­mo­so­mal abnor­mal­i­ties because of the increased risk for prob­lems.  A woman can be pro-life and still test, just because she wants to know!”

I know that care for the moth­er and fetus can change sig­nif­i­cant­ly if there are any prob­lems, so it’s more of a mat­ter of ensur­ing the well-being of both.


Before giv­ing a speech in Texas on April 17, 2008, while she was eight months’ preg­nant, she starts hav­ing con­trac­tions and leak­ing amni­ot­ic flu­id.

[The next morn­ing], some­one alleged­ly induces labor. If the leak­ing amni­ot­ic flu­id wasn’t a con­cern enough to address for 18+ hours, let alone pre­clude approval for flight trav­el (the air pres­sure aggra­vates the dan­gers of infec­tion and fur­ther irri­ta­tion of the leak), and she wasn’t actu­al­ly in labor when she arrived, why induce a pre­ma­ture birth of a baby with Down’s?

Because it has noth­ing to do with the air pres­sure. My mom:

The oth­er clin­i­cal igno­rance he has is that at “8mos.” that could mean 36 wks or 32 wks depend­ing on how a lay per­son is look­ing at the cal­en­dar.  Gen­er­al­ly, in the ob world if a preg­nan­cy has rup­tured mem­branes at 34 wks + for over 12 hrs with­out labor, you induce so that infec­tion does not set in.  The baby has pret­ty good chance of sur­vival at that point, the risk of infec­tion would be greater.  They also often give an injec­tion to the mom which can help mature the baby’s lungs.

So the mere fact that she was leak­ing for over 12 hours would make them like­ly to induce. The whole time­line makes me think that the amni­ot­ic flu­id would have been a con­cern, except that she (for some rea­son) ran away from care for that long.

I respect that this is just a big rumor, but it does have some inter­est­ing details, and I’m curi­ous to see how every­thing will play out.

Obama Mobilizing His Followers via Twitter

On the Web, Oba­ma’s Twit­ter site now has more than 60,000 fol­low­ers, who receive updates from Oba­ma’s town hall meet­ings and links to his Web site.

The arti­cle also men­tions that “Repub­li­can John McCain’s cam­paign, mean­while, has not high­light­ed text mes­sages,” Instead McCain is going old-school with viral YouTube videos, [sic] “McCain’s recent ‘Celeb’ ad, which com­pared Oba­ma to Brit­ney Spears and Paris Hilton, has received about 2 mil­lion hits on YouTube.”

via Twit­ter Blog: Mobi­liz­ing His Fol­low­ers

My favorite part: the AP call­ing YouTube “old-school”.