Equal Opportunity Pandering

I think lingering on identity politics is bad news for any sort of legitimate and effective approach to leadership. It should be irrelevant whether or not a voter is male, female, black, white, and so forth. I’d much rather politicians focus on a coherent agenda based on principles of limited government and equal, guaranteed rights. But every one of them seems incapable, so in the world we live in, I mostly agree with this editorial from today’s Opinion Journal discussing how Democrats actively court female voters while Republicans don’t explicitly do so.

The rest of the female population has migrated into 2007. Undoubtedly quite a few do care about abortion rights and the Violence Against Women Act. But for the 60% of women who today both scramble after a child and hold a job, these culture-war touchpoints aren’t their top voting priority. Their biggest concerns, not surprisingly, hew closely to those of their male counterparts: the war in Iraq, health care, the economy. But following close behind are issues that are more unique to working women and mothers. Therein rests the GOP opportunity.

The “close behind” issues involve a better way to look at traditional topics. The author’s primary example is the tax impact of income for single versus married women. Like I said, I mostly agree, because at least it’s a step away from past thinking.

Still, the essay annoys me because it assumes an unrealistic fact about today’s Republicans.

For that matter, when was the last time a GOP candidate pointed out that their own free-market policies could help alleviate this problem?

Name one Republican candidate who’s interested in free-market policies. The author only implies economic, of course. The current Republicans fail even that narrow test, but I’m not going to accept such a limited view. Free-market policies involve liberty. Politicians do not get free-market credentials for proposing one policy on a platform that pays limited respect to such liberty. Free is free, not a degree of free.

There’s a bonus in the essay – unintended by the author – that underscores the hypocrisy politicians show in shunning restraints for themselves while restricting liberty for everyone else. Especially Even Republicans.

Republicans should customize their low-tax message to explain how they directly put more money into female pockets.

I’m naming the “Republicans put more money into female pockets” meme the David Vitter Plan.

Your Chance to Win $1,000,000

I finally upgraded to a bluetooth-compatible phone. It’s a major event for me, I guess, even though I don’t care about phones. (I probably use 40 minutes per month on my plan.) However, I’m excited to experience the freedom of no wires while I talk. I love technology.

To fight becoming something I don’t understand, I have a proposition. The first person to spot me wearing a bluetooth headset as a fashion accessory rather than wearing it only to make calls will win $1,000,000. It’s that simple. I acknowledge that I don’t have $1,000,000, so this is risky for me. But I’m also sure that you won’t see me wearing the headset as an accessory, unlike every other professional in D.C.

He fought the claw, and the claw won

It’s been almost three years since I posted about a kid getting stuck inside the claw, the game that gives cheap stuffed animals if you drop its mechanical claw at the correct angle. Happily, I can now report that the claw claimed another victim [click through to the story for the most awesome picture]:

Three-year-old Robert Moore tried to scoop out a stuffed replica of SpongeBob SquarePants with the vending machine’s plastic crane on Saturday, but had no luck on his first attempt.

While his grandmother, Fredricka Bierdemann, turned her back to get another dollar for a second try, Robert took off his coat and squeezed through an opening in the machine. He landed in the stuffed animal cube.

First, to call this a vending machine is a travesty. A vending machine is supposed to vend. The claw never gives. It only takes. And as these stories show, it takes more than quarters, it takes small children.

But what’s scary about this story is that it happened in Wisconsin. That’s where the claw snatched the kid in 2004, when I last wrote about this. Wisconsin is worried about same-sex marriage while the claw is snatching children. Seriously, this is finally a case where thinking of the children would be an appropriate rallying cry, and legislators are worried about the sex lives of adults. How many children must we sacrifice to the claw while we contemplate the supposed evils of a couple seeking to marry?

Hat tip: Boing Boing, where there are more claw goodness links.

I can hear the groans now

On a whizzical note from Norway, this story seems as if it’s been streamed directly from The Onion, but it appears legit:

The head of The Democrats Party, a splinter group of former Progress Party hardliners, Vidar Kleppe, is outraged that boys at Dvergsnes School in Kristiansand have to sit and pee.

“It is a human right not to have to sit down like a girl,” Kleppe said.

I’m amused at the piddling nature of this issue, but really, I’m fairly certain that it’s unwise to wrap a bogus “human right” claim around a dose of sexism. What audience is he aiming for?

(Via: Boing Boing)

Overheard in Washington, DC

I’m the wrong person to agree, because I like the heat wave we’re dealing with today since it’s warm and not humid, but this strikes me as absurd:

“It’s too damn hot.” – random woman

If I happened to be the type of person who talks to people strangers, I probably would’ve commented on the cup of steaming Starbucks coffee she held. But I’m not, so I didn’t. Instead, I pointed her out to The Internets and laughed..

Turn it to eleven and slam that axe

I’ve been away for a few days because my birthday was Saturday. I didn’t really do anything adventurous over the weekend, as I’ve rediscovered the profound genius in occasionally doing nothing. A good bit of the last three days involved little more than rockin’ the free world with Guitar Hero. Fine, the closest I came to rockin’ the free world involved shredding I Wanna Be Sedated with the windows open while Danielle threw the goat a few times. She and our cats were entertained. Or at least she was. The cats mostly begged to have their heads scratched. To-may-to, to-mah-to.

Anyway, that’s how I spent a few days away enjoying the arduous transition from 32 to 33.

Joe Isuzu will present my award

I’m honored to learn that today, June 2nd, Kripsy Kreme is sponsoring Rolling Doughnut Day 2006! It’s amazing to think that a major company like Krispy Kreme would notice the work I’ve been doing here. This wonderful accolade shows the company’s ability to recognize genius. I’m truly flattered. Since I’m so awesome, instead of the cash prize they offered, I’ve asked the company to give a free doughnut to each of my readers today. So, if you go into a Krispy Kreme store today, they’ll give you a free doughnut&#185. Just tell them the I&#178 sent you.

&#185 Krispy Kreme really will give you a free doughnut today.
&#178 Kip from A Stitch in Haste sent me the information. I’d love to claim the accolades I made up, but Kip actually deserves them. If you’re not reading his blog, you’re missing out on the best best blog around. Thanks, Kip.

It would be very ironical

Is it wrong that I hope there’s some serious embezzling occurring at this bank branch? Just to teach them a valuable lesson early on…

There’s a bank in Nate Folger’s Fairfax elementary school. A real one. Never mind that the teller is a fifth-grader and many deposits come from tooth fairy funds — it’s one way a nation of non-savers and big spenders is trying to teach the next generation to do better at finances.

It might be working: Nate, 10, recently plunked a rumpled $5 bill onto the counter of the new Sunrise Savings Bank and walked away with a deposit slip.

He earns about $4 a week in allowance — for setting the table and putting his clothes away — but he has a plan.

“It’s pretty tempting to spend,” Nate said. “But every week I’m going to deposit $2 and keep $2 so I can watch it grow and grow and grow.”

I’m not serious, naturally, but it would be funny. Not HAHA funny. Okay, actually, it would be HAHA funny, because then we could combine the lesson on personal finance with the lesson on how Congress treats taxes. Two birds with one bazooka.