This should sound familiar to those who followed the debate in the Virginia General Assembly over forcible vaginal probes. Republicans are deeply uncomfortable with the word “vagina,” and once Democratic legislators started tossing that word around, Republicans basically gave up the debate. So go for it, elected Democrats—vagina vagina vagina. If you can’t say it, you shouldn’t be allowed to regulate it. →
- PolitiFact: George Allen changes stance again on ethanol subsidies
Allen was against ethanol subsidies. Then he was for them. Now he's against them. It's got to be dizzying, change positions every time the political wind shifts.
- PolitiFact: Virginia GOP says Phil Puckett voted against sending EPA a message
PolitiFact finds the RPV's criticism of Sen. Puckett to be "absurd," rating it "pants on fire" on their "Truth-o-Meter."
- Kudzu and the Marriage Amendment
Sex is not binary. I don't mean that in a fluffy pick-yer-gender-identity way, but in a very real biological way. Sex is a spectrum. In this essay, Rick Moen provides a series of examples of the many ways that labeling sexes can be difficult (Exhibit A: Caster Semenya), and how opposite-sex marriage laws could actually legally mandate same-sex marriage for some people.
- BBC News: Jordan battles to regain ‘priceless’ Christian relics
Seventy ancient books, made out of lead, have been found in a Jordanian cave. The text is in encoded Hebrew, little of which has been translated. Scholars are debating whether they are of Jewish origin or—far more tantalizingly—very early Christian origin.
- Village Voice: Women’s Funding Network Sex Trafficking Study Is Junk Science
I'd read about the exploding rates of forced juvenile prostitution, and like most people, was shocked. It turns out that those numbers are a total fiction, ginned up by an advocacy group in an effort to get more funding. Good for the Village Voice for asking the questions that dozens of other reporters failed to ask.
- New York Times: A Stealth Downsizing, as Shoppers Pay More for Less Food
The U.S. isn't immune from global food price increases. Manufacturers of packaged foods are shrinking quantities while changing the packaging to disguise the increased per-unit cost.
- Wikipedia: Cessna 172
The record for longest manned flight was set in 1959, when two guys flew a Cessna 172 for 64 consecutive days without landing, to raise money for a cancer fund. They'd fly close to the ground to hoist up food and water in a bucket, matching their speed with a car driving below. The same method worked to refuel, only using a hose instead of a bucket. They only stopped because the engine simply couldn't run for that many hours without an overhaul, and it lost power.
- Washington Post: Hampton Roads lawyer David McCormick to seek 2012 GOP Senate nomination
Some random guy is running for the Republican nomination for Webb's seat. In his announcement, he compared himself to George Washington.
- New York Times: The Threatening Scent of Fertile Women
Men in stable, long-term relationships rank women as less attractive when they're ovulating than when they're not. It's part of "relationship maintenance," a defensive mechanism to prevent themselves (ourselves) from straying.
- PolitiFact Virginia: Gov. Bob McDonnell says Virginia road bids are the lowest in a generation
They're not. In fact, they cost twice as much as they did a generation ago, meaning that McDonnell's claim is the opposite of the truth.
- Richmond Times-Dispatch: Senate panel refuses to hear illegal immigration bills
I'm just making a note of this for future reference: Del. Lingamfelter says that when a subcommittee recommends killing a bill, and the committee subsequently strikes that bill from the docket, then they are "hiding, shirking their duty, when they should actually vote on the bills." So noted, Delegate.
This is a very clever simulation of what it's like to be a member of the working poor. It's worth spending at least a few minutes with this. It's like "Jones in the Fast Lane," that great old Sierra game, only you have no realistic chance of improving your lot in life.
- The Oregonian: Rep. David Wu’s staff confronted him over concerns about his mental health
This is the story how Congressman David Wu (D-OR) lost his mind. Shortly before last November's election, his entire campaign staff quit, convinced that he was mentally ill. He was reelected anyway. It's pretty clear that his staff was right. Now Portlanders are represented by this guy.
- DFW NBC: Armed Agent Slips Past DFW Body Scanner
An undercover TSA agent was able to get through a full-body scanner with a handgun not once, not twice, but as many times as she wanted.