Saturday, December 23, 2006

To Aspen

I'm leaving for Aspen tomorrow. I may or may not blog while I'm there. I get back on the 29th, then leave for Carleton on the 1st of January. Blogging probably won't resume a full schedule until then. All predictions assume I don't get maimed on the slopes. Wish me luck!

And to all my readers, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.


There's a great Boondocks strip (I know, that applies to like 80% of them. Bear with me) where Huey and Caesar are trying to figure out whether a Black radio commentator (I forget who) was conservative enough to be a potential date for Condi Rice (don't ask). The punchline comes when said radio commentator ends his show with: "So, should we bring back slavery to give Black youth some discipline? Ultimately, I say...maybe."

I thought of that when, at Feministe, I saw this statement by conservative woman Mary Graber:
After watching The View and following the inane statements made on the program, I've come to the conclusion that it really is true what Aristotle, Saint Paul, and John Milton said: Women, without male guidance, are illogical, frivolous, and incapable of making any decisions beyond what to make for dinner. . .

But it's a sign of our crumbling civilization that a bunch of girls of varying ages and ethnic backgrounds, sitting around all dressed up for a coffee klatch, some of them with cleavage spilling out of Victoria's Secret Infinity Edge Push-Up bras, spout off opinions borrowed from disturbed teenagers and Michael Moore, and call it a talk show.

This was the danger of giving women the vote. The danger to conservatives (and the survival of this country) is the voting bloc of single women, i.e., those who lack the guidance of a man in the form of a husband or intellectual mentor.

I'm really not sure when the last time a women's right to vote was seriously questioned. I suppose it had to be a women who did it--not that this makes it better, just that people all too willing to cannibalize their own exist on gender issues as well as racial ones. Meanwhile, the column was published on Townhall, which looks to join World Net "Soy Makes You Gay" Daily as completely off the deep end of rational discourse.

There are plenty of smart conservative voices out there. But why is it that the aggregators, their "alternative media" (because the real media is so liberal), are so comfortable with being so off-base?

Happy Fan

Me: I got to go to the Devils game last night.

Friend: That's great. How was it?

Me: Good. They won. And my parents say that the Christmas Party was just crab dip and sliced ham anyway.

Friend: So you didn't miss anything.

Me: Well, I missed celebrating the birth of Our Lord and Savior to root for a team called the Devils.

It's good to be Jewish.

So, the Devils won decisively last night, 4-1. My seats were good, the game was exciting for the most part, before the Devils pulled away at the end (fine by me). And Brodeur stoned Alexander Ovechkin (check the video highlights at the link) in one of the finest saves I've ever seen live. Excellent.

After the game, I got to try the Nintendo Wii for the first time. It was loads of fun, even though I was atrocious at it (except at Monkeyball Bowling, which I dominated). I have to wonder, though, how much of the appeal is in the novelty of it--swinging the little Wii stick like a bat or jabbing out a punch or whatever. I mean, I can see it going both ways--I can see it really having staying power, or I can see it getting tiresome quick. It's definitely a paradigm shift, and gaming hasn't had a real revolution in controllers (adding those little mini-joysticks is the closest thing) since I've started playing consoles (i.e., since the days of NES). I give Nintendo full credit for thinking outside the box, and wish them luck.

Finally, on a sadder note, conservative blog Southern Appeal is closing down. I haven't agreed with the SAers on, well, pretty much anything (except Darfur, for which lead blogger Feddie was a strong and consistent voice), but they were always fun and respectful debate partners. I wish all the members of the site all the luck in the world.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Genocide Division

Here's an intriguing idea. Michael O'Hanlon, a leading liberal foreign policy thinker and Brookings Institute scholar, calls for the creation of a dedicated anti-genocide division of the US Army, numbering around 20,000 troops. The argument is that we should never be restrained from fighting genocide simply because our troops are otherwise occupied (in, say, Iraq):
A genocide-prevention division within the U.S. Army would circumvent this problem. Since its only mission would be to stop genocides, deploying the force would never require us to ask more of soldiers who already have their hands full with other conflicts. Moreover, those volunteering for the new force would know exactly what they were getting into and enlist specifically because they embraced the mission. These soldiers could be recruited from the ranks of idealistic college and high school students across the nation who have done so much to keep Darfur in the public eye.

I think O'Hanlon is a little over-optimistic about how the division would play out in real life, but I think there is some merit to the idea. Matt Yglesias, by contrast, is not as enthusiastic:
Color me skeptical. Different kinds of soldiers get different kinds of training, but they're all at least semi-fungible. If we had a spare genocide-prevention division lying around, it would be getting sent to Iraq as part of the "surge" not to Africa. The President would simply argue that escalation of the Iraq War is a genocide-prevention mission because of the sectarian violence. Then on the flipside, I'm not sure there's a discrete military task called "genocide prevention." You might, in an effort to halt a genocide, bomb some buildings or troop formations somewhere. Alternatively, as part of a war to overthrow the Taliban you might wind up policing the streets of Kabul and taking responsibility for the safety of the city's residents. So you want some military forces who specialize in bombing, and others who specialize in policing, but you don't have some troops who specialize in genocide prevention and others who specialize in attacking hostile governments.

I disagree that "genocide prevention" (or perhaps, intervention), is not necessarily a discrete task from other military activities. I seem to recall, in the wake of the Iraq fiasco, several calls for the US to develop dedicated "peacekeeping forces", under the theory that the training required to "shock and awe" a defending army is not the same as is required for counter-insurgency, peacekeeping, and reconstruction. I believe that stopping a genocide--which is less about crushing an opposing army than it is about securing civilians--probably requires a different skill set and mentality (building trust with the locals, negotiation to end the conflict, strengthening long term institutions) than the regular army has. This isn't to say that a genocide division would never need to be supplimented by regular forces (such as air support), but I do think it would serve a unique role. And of course, just having a division with anti-genocide work as its specific role makes it more likely we will actually engage in such interventions.

As to Yglesias' worry that such a division would never be able to be completely separated from regular army work, he's probably right that this is a risk, but I'm not sure I see it as controlling. If we're going to send 20,000 troops as a "surge" in Iraq anyway, it doesn't really matter where in the army we get them from. Compared to the increase (however marginal) in likelihood that we will effectively intervene to stop genocide, I think that it's worth the chance.

Iowa Numbers

Real Clear Politics has the latest numbers coming out of Iowa. Things look good for the Democrats. But not for Hillary, who comes in fourth place among Democrats. Obama and Edwards are tied for the lead (22% each), and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack (who has the same chance of winning any state outside of Iowa as I do) comes in third. Hillary also loses head to head match-ups with every major Republican but Mitt Romney.

Obama and Edwards, by contrast, win every single head to head--surprisingly, to my eyes, besting both Giuliani and McCain by comfortable (albeit narrow) margins. Both candidates must be pleased by these numbers, but they are especially good for Obama, who still isn't known by a third of the country and probably has more "upside" potential than Edwards, Giuliani, and McCain (Giuliani, especially, has nowhere to go but down).

Meanwhile, Giuliani and McCain are dueling for the top spot among Republicans (27% and 26%, respectively), with Romney and Gingrich trailing.

Via The Plank.

Good Riddance

The Jerusalem Post reports that Jewish terrorist Asher Weisgan, convicted of killing four Palestinians in cold blood to try and stop the Gaza pullout, has committed suicide in prison.

Weisgan was an insult to the Jewish community and a despicable human being. I'd rather that he be alive right now, so that he could continue to rot in jail during the four life terms he was sentenced to. But I can't say I'm cut up that he's dead.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Devil of a Time

I'm going to the Caps/Devils game tomorrow (Friday) night. I've been a Devils fan since I was 8 (specifically, the 1994 Conference Finals between the Devils and the Rangers--or to put it another way, for virtually all of Martin Brodeur's career), but I've only seen them play once or twice before. The perils of rooting for a non-hometown team. So I'm excited.

The Devils enter the game second in the Atlantic Division (one point behind the Rangers) and 5th overall in the Eastern Conference. The Caps are in a three way tie for 7th in the Conference and 3rd in the Southeast Division. However, they've been on a tear lately, going 7-2-1 in their last ten.

I'll be rooting for the Devils, of course, but I will also be keeping a fan's eye on the Cap's Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin is a once-in-a-generation type of player--truly magical on the ice. Check out this goal: It's nicknamed "the impossible goal," and if you see it you'll know why. Hockey is desparately in need of a new superstar, and Ovechkin is just the type to fit the bill (perhaps even more that Sid "the Kid" Crosby).

The Chanukah Roundup

In honor of possibly the most blatant example of a holiday receiving a battle-field promotion, I give you a Jewish news roundup!

Joel Stein decries the "war on Chanukah", and announces that Jews are going to fight back:
Until Hanukkah gets its proper respect, we're pulling our singers from Christmas albums. No more Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow. You'll quickly find you don't have many entertainers of your own when you're at Banana Republic listening to that one Kristin Chenoweth album over and over.

You have deployed your most annoying Gentiles against us: John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly. So forget Al Franken. Once we find the alley that Pauly Shore is sleeping in, he'll be singing the dreidel song outside your house. We'll force storeowners to greet you with a "Happy Hanukkah" -- and not the secular version but the one with the "Ch" in front and all the accompanying spittle.

Alan Dershowitz comments on Jimmy Carter's aforementioned refusal to debate him (along with Carter's amazingly hypocritical whine that nobody will debate him).

The Mormons were going to baptize Simon Wiesenthal after his death. After his representatives said "thanks, but not thanks," they agreed to withhold it (via Bitch, Ph.D).

When a Jewish lesbian marries a Muslim girl with a Catholic mother, wild craziness ensues!

All the Conservative Teshuvot (those that passed and those that did not) are now available online. In particular, Rabbi Tucker's opinion is available here, and it is beautiful.

Did you know that Ulysses S. Grant wrote an order expelling all the Jews from his "military department" (an area that included Tennessee and parts of Mississippi and Kentucky)? UNC Law Professor Eric Muller wrote about the sad event, which occurred 144 years ago (amazingly, when Ed Cone first raised the issue, the first thing one of his commenters did was try and defend the action!). Here is a taste from Muller:
Thus, all Jews in the Department of the Tennessee had twenty-four hours to clear out or be arrested. Grant's order applied indiscriminately to all Jews -- men, women, and children; traders and nontraders; recent arrivals and established members of the community. On its face, it applied even to Jewish soldiers in the Union army. Such a military order would not be seen again until General [John] DeWitt evicted [Japanese Americans] from the west coast eighty years later.

Like the west coast Japanese-Americans, the Jews of the Tennessee complied with the military order. Twenty-five hundred Jews desperately began looking for scarce transport up the Mississippi river and out of the reach of Grant's order. Their departure was rushed and traumatic. One surviving account tells of "a baby almost left behind in the haste and confusion and tossed bodily into the boat" and of "two dying women permitted to remain behind in neighbors' care." Another account tells of a group of four Jews in Oxford, Mississippi, whose horse, buggy, and luggage were confiscated shortly before they were sent away by train under guard. When one of them asked the reason for their detention, he was told, "Because you are Jews, and are neither a benefit to the Union or Confederacy."

To his credit, President Lincoln rescinded the order virtually as soon as he heard it.

American Muslims join hands with the Holocaust Memorial, condemn Iran's "Holocaust Conference."

A fascinating look at some of the events of the Nuremberg Trial.

Women First

Townsfolk on the Ipswich serial murder case:
Residents of Ipswich, once they express their initial shock about the killings, display an undercurrent of resentment. Not just over the serial killer label that now looks to forever be associated with their town, but also the media defining the victims by their profession: as prostitutes. Many in Ipswich are quick to note that the victims were women first. They were also daughters, sisters, mothers and friends to others within this community.

Important to keep in mind.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

More On Goode

Pun intended.

The Virginia Representative who expressed great fear at the impending hordes of Muslims who will be democratically elected to Congress (if we don't stop Catholic Mexicans from immigrating) has refused to apologize for his faux pas.

Scott Moss asks: "What are other recent [since 1990] examples of public officeholders expressly advocating discrimination against other groups in terms of fitness for public office?"

I can't remember an elected politician issuing this type of call in recent memory. Perhaps my readers can jog the memory? Or is Goode really on his own in xenophobic lunacy?

Hi Julia!

This post goes out to the one and only Julia--the baddest thing ever to come out of Oakland (Maine).

For those of you who don't know, Julia is a sophomore Carleton student, majoring in Astronauts. She looks Jewish, and likes making wishes on Hershey's Kisses. She hates regifters, and has a propensity to turn people into Eunuchs when she gets mad. People say that Julia is White. She is a close associate with the lethal assassin known only as "The New Market Ninja." And when I said that I was having trouble find something to blog about today, she made the mistake of asking me to blog about her.

So, let's hear a round of applause for Julia! Or she'll chop off your...well, you know.

Love ya, Julia!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lead Me From The Fear

U.S. Congressman Virgil Goode (R-VA) has a rather interesting view of there being a Muslim in Congress. Here's a letter he wrote to a constituent of his:
Thank you for your recent communication. When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.

The Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust" are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, "As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office." Thank you again for your email and thoughts.

The emphasis is my own. The xenophobia is Rep. Goode's (rhymes with "food") own. Aside from weirdly linking Keith Ellison with illegal immigrants (He was born in Detroit. And I'd wager money that most illegal immigrants are Roman Catholic), this whole rhetoric of "fear" behind their being Muslims in America (along with their scaaary Koran) is just frightening.

I'd also note that, while I don't think Rep. Goode has any obligation to have a Koran on his wall, the stern, "over-my-dead-body" language he used in addressing the Muslim student is rather disconcerting in its own right.

It's a good thing nobody mistakes the War on Terror for a War on Islam. Because that would make our job a whole lot tougher.

Menachem Begin on Sleep Deprivation

The KGB used it on him while imprisoned in Russia. So, is it torture?
"In the head of the interrogated prisoner, a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep... Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger and thirst are comparable with it.

"I came across prisoners who signed what they were ordered to sign, only to get what the interrogator promised them.

"He did not promise them their liberty; he did not promise them food to sate themselves. He promised them - if they signed - uninterrupted sleep! And, having signed, there was nothing in the world that could move them to risk again such nights and such days."
Yes. Yes, it is.

One last word, from Texas Law Professor Sanford Levinson:
It is foolish to assume that "torture" need involve the rack and the screw (or even waterboarding, which the U.S. seems to be moving away from). It is enough to keep people up for almost literally inhuman lengths of time. Or would anyone seriously argue that the sleep-deprivation apparently visited on Begin "really" wasn't "torture"? If so, what would such an argument be based on, beyond basically juvenile notions--drawn from reading too much action literature--that torture is necessarily restricted to certain kinds of inflictions of pain (or inductions of psychosis) and not others?

I just love having this debate.

Where Race Comes In

The Genarlow Wilson case has been making the rounds in the blogosphere as an example of a breakdown of justice. For those of you who don't know, Wilson, a 17-year old boy with good grades and no prior police record, was convicted of aggravated child molestation for receiving consensual oral sex from a 15-year old girl. He received a mandatory 10-year prison sentence, plus lifetime registration as a sexual predator. A frustrated Georgia Supreme Court upheld the ruling, finding no legal reason why the sentence could be overturned.

One of the interesting wrinkles of the case is that Wilson is Black, while the DA and prosecutor were White. And so sentencing law guru Douglas Berman asks: If Wilson was White, would this case ever had gone to trial?

Eugene Volokh tries to deflect the question:
One can always speculate this way; but it's not clear to me why this is a sensible speculation. The girls with whom Wilson had sex -- the alleged rape victim, and the 15-year-old whom the oral sodomy age-of-consent is supposed to be protecting -- are black, too. (See this story.) As the article paraphrases the prosecutor's view, "Had he not pursued charges against the boys, his critics could have just as easily chastised him for failing to protect the rights of the two black females. 'I'm standing up for African-American victims in this case, as I would for any white victim,' says [the prosecutor] .... 'Calling me a racist denigrates the people who are victims in this case.'"

Harvard lawprof Randy Kennedy had made this point in other contexts as well - since most crime is intraracial, seeing prosecutors or police being tough on black criminals (and the defendant in this case did indeed commit a crime) may simply mean that they're trying to protect black victims. Conversely, an environment in which prosecutors are afraid to take a hard line against black criminals because of the fear of being assumed to be racist is an environment that's not good for law-abiding blacks.

Before I proceed to rip into Professor Volokh, it's important to note that he, along with every other sane-minded individual, thinks that the decision is far too harsh to be justifiable.

However, in terms of dismissing the racial angle as idle speculation, he is far too quick. As Publius notes, this problem is one of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutorial discretion is a good thing: It would be bad if prosecutors were mandated to try cases like this. But it doesn't do anyone any good when it isn't used--and certainly when it isn't used evenhandedly. Race becomes a factor when there seems to be a split between how Black and White defendants who have committed similar crimes are treated. I agree entirely that since most crime is intraracial, refusing to prosecute Black defendants can be seen as being insufficiently committed to Black victims. This is Volokh's argument, as well as the DA's, since the 15-year old girl in this situation was Black as well. However, I think the argument is inapplicable in two cases: Victimless crimes (such as drug possession), and crimes where the purported victim does not wish to prosecute. The former case strikes me as a situation where this abuse of discretion occurs endemically--Black users getting sentenced to draconian prison terms for simple possession (even as first offenders), while White (especially upper-class White) defendants get treatment after treatment option. In the latter scenario (of which this case is closer), it is difficult to see how the DA is protecting Black victims when they themselves don't want to see the case go to trial. I won't say that is true in every case (one can imagine a victim intimidated into pressing for a case to be dropped), but in the proximate situation it has been made abundantly clear that the "victim" in this case did not want this case prosecuted for entirely legitimate reasons.

The point is, to my ears the DAs claim that he's simply protecting Black victims rings quite hollow. Racial angle aside, cases like this arise, in my opinion, when prosecutors cease seeing their job as being the pursuit of justice and begin seeing it as the pursuit of convictions. Citing "Office Policy", the DA refused to ask that Wilson receive "first offender" status, despite the fact that he had no prior criminal record. The judge agreed, reportedly, because the other five defendants did have criminal records(!?!?). In a system where prosecutors have discretion, we have an obligation to be vigilant in ascertaining that this discretion is not abused to benefit certain classes of person at the expense of others. It appears that this is a problem in the jurisdiction in question:
But there are also other cases of adults--white adults--prosecuted by the Douglas County District Attorney's office for sex crimes involving minors and received far lighter sentences than any of the teens in the Douglasville Six case.

Case in point: Jack Stewart, a 24-year-old volunteer coach at Heirway Christian Academy in Douglas County, who received 30 days in jail and 10 years probation for fondling the 15-year-old daughter of a couple whose house he was living at temporarily. McDade notes that he objected in court to the "inappropriately light" sentence.

In the case of 26-year-old George Tsimpides, First Offender status was extended in a sex crime. Tsimpides received 20 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to luring a 15-year-old girl he'd met on the Internet to Arbor Place Mall with the intention of engaging in sex with her. McDade says he publicly objected to that sentence.

The D.A. himself has not been immune to sexual misconduct charges. In 1995, two female employees who worked in his office claimed McDade sexually harassed them, creating a "hostile work environment." The charges were later dismissed. McDade insists they are irrelevant. "According to the summary judgment, I won completely and they lost completely," he says.

These cases, according to the Douglas County chapter of the NAACP, point to a pattern of discrimination. The civil rights organization, which has led rallies in support of the Douglasville Six, contends that if the young men involved were white the charges would have been dismissed. "The D.A.'s office is caught up in that good ol' boy syndrome, misapplying a law that was never meant for teenagers," says chapter president Kimberly Alexander.

(Unless I'm deeply mistaken, just because McDade won on summary judgment does not mean he didn't harass female employees, it just means that the manner in which he did it does not have a legal remedy. Any lawyer out there want to confirm?).

At the very least, what we have here is a breakdown in the justice system, where it ceases to be "just" and becomes a mere conviction machine. Georgia has a problem if it cannot tell the difference between two teenagers, two years apart, engaging in oral sex, and child molestation (the law has since been changed, but the state explicitly (and inexplicably) refused to make it retroactive). This is a case that begs for executive clemency. This man should not be in prison.

By the way, here are the stats on teen oral sex rates.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Our Bad

If this doesn't make you feel comfortable with our detention system in the war on terror, I don't know what will!
One night in mid-April, the steel door clanked shut on detainee No. 200343 at Camp Cropper, the United States military's maximum-security detention site in Baghdad.

American guards arrived at the man's cell periodically over the next several days, shackled his hands and feet, blindfolded him and took him to a padded room for interrogation, the detainee said. After an hour or two, he was returned to his cell, fatigued but unable to sleep.

The fluorescent lights in his cell were never turned off, he said. At most hours, heavy metal or country music blared in the corridor. He said he was rousted at random times without explanation and made to stand in his cell. Even lying down, he said, he was kept from covering his face to block out the light, noise and cold. And when he was released after 97 days he was exhausted, depressed and scared.

Yeah, yeah, I know. He was sleep deprived, subject to "harsh interrogation methods," blah blah blah. Nothing new here right? Wrong.
The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.

But when American soldiers raided the company at his urging, Mr. Vance and another American who worked there were detained as suspects by the military, which was unaware that Mr. Vance was an informer, according to officials and military documents.

If we can't figure who our own operatives are in these operations, how the hell are we supposed to know if we're detaining run-of-the-mill innocent people?
[A Pentagon Spokewoman] said officials did not reach Mr. Vance's contact at the F.B.I. until he had been in custody for three weeks. Even so, she said, officials determined that he "posed a threat" and decided to continue holding him. He was released two months later, Lieutenant Fracasso said, based on a "subsequent re-examination of his case," and his stated plans to leave Iraq.

This is what "posed a threat" has been reduced to? I know that this administration is not a fan of whistleblowers, but this is ridiculous.

Oh, and by the way--perhaps this is just me being Jewish, but I always find it particularly creepy when people are assigned numbers in place of their names. It is a classic dehumanization strategy, there is no purpose behind it other than to make it easier for guards to brutalize their wards, and it has no place in American policy.

Vance says he's suing Rumsfeld. I have no idea what the legal merits are here, but at some point there needs to be some accountability--criminal accountability--for the violations Rumsfeld and his ilk have approved against our own citizens.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hungry For More

Jonah Goldberg:
I could swear Ted Kennedy said this morning on Fox News Sunday that some 36 million Americans go to bed hungry every night and 12 million of them are children (I'm quoting from memory). He insisted that the numbers were on his side. I'm sorry, but does anyone think that's even remotely true? That systemic hunger is a chief symptom and problem of poverty in America? Come on.

Heehee...that Ted Kennedy. So ridiculous.

The Food Research and Action Center, October of 2005:
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) announced today that a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report based on Census Bureau surveys shows the fifth consecutive annual increase--and by far the worst increase since 2000--in the number of food insecure Americans--people living in households suffering from hunger without resources to purchase an adequate diet. The total number of people living in food insecure households in this country went up to 38.2 million in 2004. This number included 24.3 million adults (11.3 percent of all adults) and 13.9 million children (19 percent of all children.)

So it appears that Kennedy was right on the money (indeed, unless the numbers dropped over the past year, he lowballed it).

If these numbers are absolutely unfathomable to Jonah Goldberg, then mayhaps that's a sign that our nation needs to be a tad bit more aggressive in the fight against hunger and poverty. Like Goldberg, I find those numbers unbelievable. Unlike Goldberg, I suspect my initial response isn't to deny (or minimize: "Kennedy's Definition of 'Hunger' is 'food insecure.' For what that's worth.") the data but rather to press as hard as possible to address the problem so that we can reduce this blemish on our national honor.

Via Matthew Yglesias.