Saturday, April 14, 2007

I tend to be pretty skeptical of the the whole "cost of a gallon of milk" question (mostly because, despite the fact that I buy milk at least once a week, I couldn't answer the question myself), so I've been glad to see that a lot of the response to Giuliani's recent bungling has been along those same lines. The best response I've seen, though, is definitely this one, in which Michael Tomasky suggests replacing the fairly arbitrary "price of milk" with a list of ten numbers that really would demonstrate political in-touchitude.

If any of my loyal readers (ha!) are BloggingHeads fans, riddle me this: why does Ann Althouse keep showing up?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Onion solves a Masters mystery.

With all the other shenanigans going on these days (the U.S. Attorneys, the missing White House emails, the arbitrary lengthening of troop deployments [which the affected troops found out about by watching a Pentagon press conference]), I hope the Congress has the time to focus on this:

Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.

Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show.

Monday, April 09, 2007

In an interesting experiment, the Washington Post's Gene Weingarten sent classical violinist Joshua Bell into the L'Enfant Metro station for an incognito street-performance. Weingarten's article on the result is well worth a read.

(And for more great long-form Weingarten, be sure to check out Doonesbury's War.)

Update: In the interest of fairness, it would appear that there are plenty of people who aren't quite as impressed as I am. To the extent that those people object to Weingarten's occasionally-purple prose ["Tall and handsome, he's got a Donny Osmond-like dose of the cutes, and, onstage, cute elides into hott."], they'll find no argument here. But to the extent that they attack the story's scientific bona fides and read into it a sanctimonious rant on the cultural cluelessness of Washington's Metro riders, I think their indignation is misplaced. To quote Weingarten's online chat:

[Generic Questioner]: Was this story intended to be an indictment of the soul of the federal bureaucrat?

Weingarten: The simple answer is, no. It was not my intent, nor could anyone reasonably draw that inference from the story. We didn't have a control group; we had only one shot at the experiment, and you just can't fairly generalize one way or another. I really believe this.