Midday open thread
- Baby, it is cold outside:
By the end of the weekend, 180 million Americans may shiver through record-setting cold. Sixty percent of Americans will see and feel temperatures 15 to 30 degrees below normal.
- Let’s talk creative gerrymandering.
- Ken Burns is going to update his classic baseball documentary.
- Motor City socialist activists mobilize inside the party to change it:
Democratic socialists in southeastern Michigan can do something most of their counterparts across the nation cannot: they can boast of electoral victories. Moreover, they possess a level of influence within the Michigan Democratic Party of which many American leftists dream. And they’ve done it all without compromising their beliefs or values.
Their success has come from working with, instead of against, local Democrats. …
“As a small organization, how can we make a difference? We leverage our forces. We put our efforts towards a progressive Democrat challenging a Republican, or a progressive Democrat challenging a centrist Democrat [in a primary]. “
“We don’t pick symbolic victories,” Green says, “We pick things we can win.”
— Meteor Blades
- Here’s a story you don’t see every day: Cops are ordered to return marijuana to rightful owner.
- Color me unconvinced:
Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) — Timothy Geithner, the former Federal Reserve Bank of New York president, wasn’t aware of efforts to limit American International Group Inc.’s bailout disclosures because the regulator’s top lawyer didn’t think the issue merited his attention, according to a letter sent to lawmakers.
- Business Week looks at the new importance of IMAX to contributing to Hollywood blockbuster status.
- Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has announced its Top Ten Science Stories of 2009, including:
The changing conditions in the ocean due to increased acidity from increased CO2 is one of the unknowns in future climate change projections. LANL’s Climate, Ocean, and Sea Ice Modeling effort for DOE and the National Science Foundation develops the highest-resolution dynamic models of the world’s oceans and polar icecaps.
– Plutonium Page
- The New York Times looks at how spending habits are changing due to the recession, and Newsweek looks at just how long those habits might last:
The Recession Generation: Those entering the workforce now will likely make less and save more—not just in the short term but for the rest of their lives.
- CBS polls Americans about their weekends:
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed say they ask themselves “Where did the weekend go?” while only 34 percent say they feel relaxed and ready for Monday morning. Working Americans and parents of children under age 18 are even less likely to feel rested and relaxed at the end of a weekend.
While the weekends fly by for many, fewer than half (42 percent) of working Americans say they would give up a day’s pay per week in exchange for a longer weekend to spend more time with family and friends. Fifty-three percent of Americans said they would rather keep their current hours and pay even it means less time with family.
- Proof that not all big elections this year are legislative in nature–social conservatives are gunning to claim a bigger stake of the Texas State Board of Education. Their success or failure could say a great deal about the quality of education for a generation of kids in the second-largest state in the Union. What are the goals of the cons?
Another far-reaching decision will come next week, when board members decide what students must learn in U.S. history, government and other social studies courses. The board is sharply divided on the topic; social conservatives, for example, want a greater role for religion in U.S. history classes and textbooks.
“I see [the elections] as a referendum on what we’ve done the last few years,” said Republican board member Don McLeroy, an outspoken social conservative who served as chairman until last summer.
The seven Republicans who make up the conservative bloc have made their influence felt in new curriculum standards for English and science – including much debated language that requires students to examine “all sides” of scientific evidence for evolution in biology classes.
In a real way, this matters every bit as much as any singular House or Senate campaign. Worth keeping an eye on. –Steve Singiser
- Katha Pollitt examines The Decade for Women: Forward, Backward, Sideways?:
Women are still drastically underrepresented on op-ed pages, on Sunday chat-shows, as experts in news stories, and are scanted in literary prizes, awards and Best of the Year lists, as actresses and directors and playwrights. It seemed like 20,248 articles and 1,507 books were published explaining why women’s inequality is their own fault.
— Meteor Blades