“A federal panel responsible for conducting election research played down the findings of experts who concluded last year that there was little voter fraud around the nation,” the New York Times reports. “Instead, the panel, the Election Assistance Commission, issued a report that said the pervasiveness of fraud was open to debate. The revised version echoes complaints made by Republican politicians, who have long suggested that voter fraud is widespread and justifies the voter identification laws that have been passed in at least two dozen states.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition highlights the baseless Washington Post editorial in a new 30 second attack ad against Pelosi’s trip to Syria. It contains no mention of the five Republicans who traveled there as well last week. The tag line: “Tough? No. Dangerous and very wrong.” Watch it:
After thousands of demonstrators gathered in Najaf, Iraq, yesterday to protest the U.S. occupation, the Bush administration was quick to downplay the size of the gathering. State Department official David Satterfield said, “I think the small size of those demonstrations is an indication of the limited appeal of Muqtada al-Sadr’s rhetoric at this moment.”
The right-wing has quickly echoed these talking points, circulating a U.S. Army aerial photo of the protest to support the military’s low-ball estimate that only 5,000-7,000 attended the rally. Gateway Pundit claims “proof” that “Al Sadr and the mainstream media missed the mark on this one” by claiming that the “aerial shot from Najaf, Iraq yesterday shows a protest of 5,000-7,000 Al-Sadr devotees.”
Instapundit links to Gateway Pundit and calls the protest “a weak turnout.” RedState uses the photo to claim the “outcome was underwhelming.” Weekly Standard downplays the turnout and says it is evidence that “the Coalition has regained the initiative.”
Here’s their photographic “proof“:
Conservatives are denying reality. Protesters were not restricted to the square seen in the military’s photo; in fact, they “choked the 7-kilometer road between Najaf and neighboring Kufa and clogged streets leading to Sadrein Square, the main rallying point.” A photo:
The right wing shouldn’t rely on a cropped photo to downplay a protest simply because they disagree with what the protesters were saying.
Rutgers basketball team “acted like victims.”
“A diverse collection of House Republicans has formed an ad hoc group to negotiate with the White House on a compromise Iraq spending bill… The group plans to hold talks with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, who has been working behind the scenes to cement opposition among Republicans to the spending bill that would require U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq at some point.” Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) says the group “will encourage the White House to compromise on negotiations with Syria and Iran and on setting a date for withdrawal from Iraq.”
Percentage of Americans who believe that Karl Rove and other top White House officials should testify under oath about the U.S. Attorney scandal, according to a new LA Times/Bloomberg poll. “Even among Republicans, 49% said the aides should testify; 43% said they should not.” A majority also believes Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should resign.
UPDATE: Asked whether Bush should accept or veto Iraq legislation that included a timetable, “48% said he should sign such a measure while 43% said he should reject it.”
Via Ann Friedman, Anita Hamilton in Time seeks to debunk guilt-based financial advice for women that, in Ann’s words, “tut-tuts women for blowing their retirement savings on a beauty binge at Sephora.” The debunking:
Women do spend $1,069–$246 more than men do–on clothing every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2004-2005 Consumer Expenditure Survey. But that’s chump change compared with what single men spend on car ownership ($846 more than single women), eating out ($752 more), alcoholic drinks ($280 more) and audiovisual gear ($143 more). Cutting back on needless spending isn’t a bad idea for anyone, but “renegotiating your credit-card balances or getting a lower cost on your IRA probably saves you a lot more money,” says Christian Weller, an economist at the Center for American Progress. “That’s much more prudent advice to women than saying ‘Don’t go buying all those Prada shoes.’”
Fair enough, but I think efforts to analyze this question with those kind of statistics run a bit aground once we put the small matter of class into the picture. One factor holding down single women’s expenditures on booze and car ownership is that many, many more single women than single men are primary caregivers for their children. Yet, while single motherhood is a fairly widespread phenomenon in America it’s pretty rare among the sort of high-SES women to whom I assume these books are addressed. To really tease out whether or not it’s true that the sort of women the advice is addressed to spend more money “frivolously” than do men who are similarly situated would be a difficult statistical task and would, among other things, require a fairly rigorous definition of what sort of women it is we’re talking about.
Be all that as it may, the correct thing to look at isn’t absolute dollar expenditures, but savings as a proportion of income. That, at least, could tell you whether or not it’s actually true that men are more frugal than women. I really think someone should do that study, since whichever way it turns out it can easily be spun into the sort of gender-norm re-enforcing narrative the media craves. For example, women save more than men because they’re more cautious, having evolved to keep children safe while men have evolved to embrace risk and kill large animals. Alternatively, women spend more because they’re more frivolous, having evolved to maximize resource-investment when young on attracting a mate who is expected to provide for them down the road.
I finally got a chance to read Gwen Ifill’s justly praised op-ed on the Don Imus matter:
For all their grit, hard work and courage, the Rutgers girls got branded “nappy-headed ho’s” — a shockingly concise sexual and racial insult, tossed out in a volley of male camaraderie by a group of amused, middle-aged white men. The “joke” — as delivered and later recanted — by the radio and television personality Don Imus failed one big test: it was not funny.
This is a good point. The scare-quotes are essential. What was the joke here? One can imagine such a thing as a racist joke. There’s an anti-semitic joke I like that goes “what’s the difference between a Jew and a canoe?” Answer: “A canoe tips.” That’s a joke, albeit an anti-Jewish one. “Nappy-headed hos” isn’t, as far as I can tell, an actual joke any more than “George Soros is a rich, greedy kike” is a joke (get it?). It’s just a racist insult.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) just held a briefing on their bipartisan delegation to the Middle East last week.
Lantos, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a Holocaust survivor, was sharply critical of attacks on Pelosi over the trip to Syria. “I do not know whether it was more pathetic or more hypocritical,” he said, noting the various Republicans who also visited Syria last week. “I was appalled at the attempt by the administration to minimize and to mischaracterize the nature of the mission.”
Pelosi addressed Vice President Cheney’s remarks on the Rush Limbaugh show about her trip. “I think he accused me of bad behavior, sounding sort of father figure-ish,” Pelosi said, suggesting that Cheney would rather have her “stay home.” Lantos interjected, “Maybe in the kitchen.” Watch it:
Transcript: Read more
“While acknowledging that it was not ‘OK’ for him to refer to the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as ‘nappy-headed hos,’ Don Imus said…the phrase ‘originated in the black community.’ Specifically, he stated: ‘I may be a white man, but I know that … young black women all through that society are demeaned and disparaged and disrespected … by their own black men and that they are called that name.’”