New York Times:

The 62 senators on the top represent about one-fourth of the people in the United States.

So do the 6 on the bottom.

Overrepresentation in the Senate is among the reasons why the smallest states (and their local governments) received more federal aid per capita in 2010.


Philip Greenspun:

The Catholic Church decided in the Middle Ages that too many people were getting convicted of crimes that they hadn’t committed. They instituted a rule that said nobody could be convicted without either two eyewitnesses or a confession. Convictions became difficult to obtain. Since it was not possible to obtain extra witnesses, the Church decided to torture defendants until they confessed.

Today we have a legal system with many safeguards for defendants’ rights. However, in our heart of hearts, we don’t believe that we could convict enough defendants if we actually gave all of them all of their rights. Consequently, we set nominal penalties for crimes at absurdly high levels, e.g., “life plus 100 years.” The actual penalty received by 95% of the people who commit such crimes is in fact 12-15 years. This is what they get if they agree to a plea bargain. However, if they choose to exercise their right to trial, they face the nominal penalty of life plus 100.

Having these really high penalties is more subtle than physical torture, but the basic idea is the same and probably a fair number of sensible people are pleading guilty to crimes they didn’t commit.


New York Post:

EPA chief Lisa Jackson suddenly resigned last week because she was convinced that President Obama is planning to green-light the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, The Post has learned.

If this is what we get for winning an election, I’d hate to see what losing looks like.

  • John Boehner: Go fuck yourself.
  • Harry Reid: What are you talking about?
  • John Boehner: Go fuck yourself.

“At his worst, Mr. Romney sounded like a beauty pageant contestant groping for an answer to the final question. ‘We want a peaceful planet,’ he said. ‘We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future and not be at war.’ […]
Mr. Romney’s closing statement summed it all up. He said almost nothing about foreign policy. He moved back to his comfort zone: cheerfully delivered disinformation about domestic policy.”


“Our country might have been better off if it was still just men voting. There is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women. They are diabolical in how than can skewer a person. I don’t see that in men.”


Janis Lane, president of the Central Mississippi Tea Party



Poor Michele Bachmann. She just wanted to do some outreach for Yom Kippur. And what better place to do it than a Conservative synagogue? That means a synagogue for Jewish Tea Party Republicans, right? That’s correct, isn’t it?

And so Michele swung by the Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago.

Rabbi Michael Siegel observed protocol by offering a customary greeting to Bachmann during the services.

Things got more awkward from there, as the service included a segment honoring Israel’s  openness to the LGBT community. Bachmann has previously called homosexuality “part of Satan” and a “dysfunction” and “bondage” (apparently not the fun kind of bondage, though?). 

Congregants stormed out of the synagogue and donated to Bachmann’s opponent in the Minnesota 6th, Jim Graves.

The Graves campaign told the Chicago Tribune that it experienced a 400 percent growth in donations from the Chicago area last week



Mitt Romney’s campaign may be struggling, but his transition operation is moving full steam ahead.

The GOP presidential candidate’s Washington team is intensifying its efforts, moving into official office space and holding meetings on Capitol Hill.


The transition effort — while necessary and appropriate for a GOP nominee so close to the election — is a jarring contrast to a campaign that appears on the ropes to many Republican strategists. Receiving no bump from the Tampa convention, Romney is plowing ahead with a methodical approach to staffing his would-be administration, despite the fact that his campaign is said by some to need a radical makeover.



According to a new Zogby Poll the wheels are close to coming off the Romney campaign. President Obama leads Mitt Romney among NASCAR fans, 48%-41%.

  • 60 Minutes: Now you made, on your investments, personally, about $20 million last year. And you paid 14 percent in federal taxes. That’s the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?
  • Romney: It is a low rate. And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent. It's the right way to encourage economic growth - to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.

The Onion:

My fellow Americans, can I have a moment of your time?

It would appear that, following yesterday’s leaking of a video that shows me effectively writing off half the nation’s voters, we can pretty safely say my presidential campaign has come to an end. Oh, technically it may still exist, sure, but let’s be honest with each other: It’s all over. And I have fully accepted that reality.

So, with that in mind, I would like to use my few remaining weeks in the public spotlight to tell the nation all about a truly great religious organization called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

You see, folks, I speak to you now not as the Republican Party’s failed nominee for the presidency, but as an ordinary American whose life has been changed by the vision of a very special man named Joseph Smith.



Do we make both a conceptual and analytical mistake when we refer to student loans as a form of “financial aid”? Should that term be something to be resisted? Demos’ Tamara Draut brought up this point in a conversation recently, and I think it needs to be explored further, because it frames how we speak about student loans.

Nice piece on mislabeling student loans “financial aid.” In politics (and pretty much everything else) language is everything.


What kind of poll questions are these?



Fred Clark is an evangelical blogger with some heavy-duty religious credentials, and that adds a particular gravitas to his August 29 blog detailing 533 lies told by Mitt Romney in 30 weeks. That’s right, 533 verifiable, checkable lies told by a candidate running for the top job in the country.


Here is the list provided in Clark’s article: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII,XXIX, XXX.


You might wonder what lies Romney has told since week 30, so I went looking for them. An additional 83 lies brings the grand total as of September 7 to 616 and still counting. XXXI, XXXII, XXXIII.

Mitt Romney has told 616 verifiable lies in 33 weeks.