(Not entirely) Random Thoughts, 10/26/12

  1. Red State Charity.
  2. Who supports the candidates?
  3. Pass the patriarchy, please.
  4. Hard questions for the Choicers.
  5. Another rigged game.


24 of the 25 states that were above average in family charitable giving voted for Bush in 2004, and 17 of the 25 states below average in giving voted for Kerry.

But I thought Republicans were supposed to be soulless rat-finks. Indeed, those charitable folks tended to disagree strongly with the proposition that “the government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality,” the sure litmus test for soullessness. But it oddly doesn’t sound like their position is unmitigated greed, huh?

(Scott Galupo)

For the sake of fairness, here’s an attempted “blue state” rejoinder. Executive summary: giving to church doesn’t count because churches are nasty antisocial things.


I’m not at all sure that Republicans come off as well in this chart of the affiliations of top political donors. Not one of Romney’s heavy hitters makes my favorite businesses list.


Hanna Rosin praises hookup culture in Boys on the Side:

America has unseated the Scandinavian countries for the title of Easiest Lay. We are, in the world’s estimation, a nation of prostitutes. And not even prostitutes with hearts of gold.

Is that so bad? Or is there, maybe, a different way to analyze the scene that had just unfolded?

It goes downhill from there. Is “Hanna Rosin” a nom de plume for Hugh Hefner?

Katherine Dalton, reacting, says “If this is feminism, then pass me the patriarchy, please … What feminism is really selling is a woman’s ability to be as sexually emancipated as a randy man, without the risk of having to take a pregnancy to term.” Considering the free pass feminists gave William Jefferson Clinton when he was shown sociopatically to prey on low-status women for fellatio, she’s got a point. [Update: Lena Dunham’s ad comparing voting for Obama with losing your virginity to a really cool guy drives that point home, too.]

I have neither the time nor inclination to probe this topic in depth, but I keep thinking of the margarine ad with the punchline “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” I predict that the payback on hookup culture will be hell. But some new Hanna Rosin will undertake to prove it’s heavenly, just to show what a clever little mercenary she is.

Meanwhile, read Dalton, who has some interesting political ramifications to tease out, and I suppose you can read Rosin, too, if you don’t mind getting slimed.


In high dudgeon about a certain political kerfuffle that’s already, mercifully, dying down, I suggested that “pro-choice” politicians be asked a few hard questions, as pro-life politicians routinely are. Someone has compiled a list of such questions.


Susan Clark and Woden Teachout write a vignette at Front Porch Republic on how school consolidation was supposed to be a fait accompli in West Virginia, since the Powers That Be had so ordained:

The facilities planning committees, named by superintendents, were dominated by school officials; parent appointees were few and far between. Citizens who supported local schools were frozen out of the process. Committee members were told not to share information with the public. Consultants handed out stacks of charts and graphs on demographics and funding formulas but did not mention the extensive research on school size and student performance. Of the seven criteria identified by the legislature for determining school size, only one had become the benchmark: economies of scale. The six others—student health and safety, reasonable travel time, multi-county and regional planning, curriculum improvement, innovative programs, and adequate space for projected enrollments—simply faded into the background.

The process left a deep imprint of cynicism and disgust, as evidenced in the voices and actions of committee members. “The consultants had a plan and the community was just window dressing,” said one. Another described how “the committee, the board, parents and the county had been only spectators, powerless to act on our own behalf.” In Preston County, fully two-thirds of the committee members simply stopped participating. “We were told what the State Board of Education would approve,” a parent said. “It was like a used car lot with only one car.”

I call it vignette because it appears to be part of an interesting book.

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Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.