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  • 5 Quack Election Predictors

    With Republicans rejecting the admittedly imperfect science of opinion polling and the electoral math subsequently rejecting Republicans, it's time to see whether the GOP's love for quack science is requited with favorable electoral predictions. Here are five strange and occasionally accurate presidential predictors, along with where the candidates stand now…

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    Tags: Barack Obama, Children, Food, Halloween, Mitt Romney, Sports
  • Former Teen Pundit Jonathan Krohn Bullied by Conservatives

    The fate of child stars is rarely pretty. Many of them turn to drugs, or worse, independent cinema. But there's one child star who turned to something much more insidious: liberalism.

    Four years ago, 13-year-old Jonathan Krohn was a conservative wunderkind pundit. He spoke at CPAC and appeared on talk shows. He was vilified and worshiped in equal measures. And now he's 17 and not much has changed except his political beliefs.

    A week after Politico outed him as a center-leftist, he's been attacked by the right (and if his Twitter feed is any indication, some praise from the left as well). Yesterday, Salon published a piece from Krohn about how the right treats its prodigal children…

    Since then, I have been treated by the political right with all the maturity of schoolyard bullies. The Daily Caller, for instance, wrote three articles about my shift, topping it off with an opinion piece in which they stated that I deserved criticism because I wear “thick-rimmed glasses” and I like Ludwig Wittgenstein. Why don’t they just call me “four-eyes”? These are not adults leveling serious criticism; these are scorned right-wingers showing all the maturity of a little boy. No wonder I fit in so well when I was 13…

    Once you join a side, you have to obey the house rules, go to all the parties, and defend your status as a member of the greatest club on campus. And this is what drove me away from conservatism to my admittedly center-left position of independent mindedness (if that’s a thing).

    I'm glad Krohn deviated from the path of conservative punditry. He was a 13. The only thing 13-year-olds are experts on is which kinds of shorts hide boners the best. But I also don't think he should be a 17-year-old liberal pundit. As a 17-year-old, he should be going to parties and getting himself not-laid.

    [NOTE: I used a picture of child star Jonathan Lipnicki in this post because it's close enough.]

    Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/WireImage/Getty Images

     


    Tags: Children, Conservatives, CPAC, Jonathan Krohn
  • Justice Samuel Alito's Opinions Are Cruel and Unusual

    With the Supreme Court delaying the release of their decision on the Affordable Care Act, Americans will have to wait until Thursday morning to find out whether our grandmothers will be harvested for stem cells, as per my Fox News-informed understanding of Obamacare.

    But the Supremes did render an important decision in Miller v. Alabama, in which Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the 5-4 majority, ruled that states violate the 8th amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment when they don't allow for the option of a sentence shorter than life without the possibility of parole for juveniles convicted of murder.

    We also learned that Justice Samuel Alito really, really cares about sentencing 14-year-olds to life in prison without parole. If throwing kids in prison were a song, it'd be his "Free Bird." He cares about it so much that he read his dissent from the bench, a punishment that is somehow still legal, even as it features gems such as this

    The two (carefully selected) cases before us concern very young defendants, and de­spite the brutality and evident depravity exhibited by at  least one of the petitioners, it is hard not to feel sympathy  for a 14-year-old sentenced to life without the possibility of  release. But no one should be confused by the particulars of the two cases before us. The category of murderers that the Court delicately calls “children” (murderers under the age of 18) consists overwhelmingly of young men who are fast approaching the legal age of adulthood. Evan Miller  and Kuntrell Jackson are anomalies; much more typical  are murderers like Donald Roper, who committed a brutal thrill-killing just nine months shy of his 18th birthday.

    The case to which Alito refers to is Roper v. Simmons, in which Christopher Simmons was convicted of murder and Donald Roper was sued for relief in his capacity as the Superintendent of the correctional facility where Simmons was held. The legal term for Alito's dissent is "fail."

    Unfortunately, we as a nation are still ineligible for parole from the life term appointment of Justice Alito.

    Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Children, Crime, Samuel Alito, Supreme Court
  • Feds Mess with Sheriff Joe Arpaio's No Child Left Behind Deportation Program

    Since real life is increasingly indistinguishable from a preachy Paul Haggis movie devoid of moral nuance, it was inevitable that Barack Obama's announcement of a stay in the deportations of young, law-abiding, undocumented immigrants would be paired with a starkly contrasting story demonstrating why the new policy was necessary.

    The obvious villain in this story would have to be Arizona's Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff whose conscience long ago self-deported to someplace where it wouldn't be constantly abused by corruption and civil rights violations. So it was, that on the same day the president announced a more humane immigration policy, the Arizona Republic reported that "Maricopa County Sheriff Office deputies arrested a 6-year-old suspected illegal immigrant."

    It's all part of Joe Arpaio's unique version of No (Foreign) Child Left Behind (in the United States).

    Of course, after first touting the results of the raid in which the 6-year-old girl was picked up, MCSO officials claimed that the child was not arrested, but taken in to protective custody due to her unaccompanied status. In any case, federal immigration officials do not seem too keen on  deporting the youngster

    ICE released a statement saying only that the child was handed over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    It is common for that agency to place some young migrants with social-services organizations.

    As to where we go from here, allowing more immigrants to come to the United States legally seems like the reasonable thing to do, since there's currently no authorized pathway for the vast majority of potential migrants to come to the United States. But barring that, we should construct a border fence using whatever material is stockaded around Arpaio's soul. That stuff is impenetrable.

    Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Arizona, Children, Immigration, Joe Arpaio
  • Blame Liberals for All the Babies Named Emma

    President Obama with a babySince the Office of the Chief Actuary is one data-gathering agency the House of Representatives has not yet managed to eliminate, the Social Security Administration was able to report, earlier this week, on the most popular baby names in 2010. A closer analysis reveals a divide between red states and blue states: when it comes to baby names, liberals are more conservative

    More progressive communities… tend to favor more old-fashioned names. Parents in more conservative areas come up with names that are more creative or androgynous.

    "Sometimes people have a naive expectation that people who are politically conservative on social issues would name their kids in traditional ways, and it doesn’t always happen that way," says Andrew Gelman, a professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University and author of "Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State."

    The reason for more outlandish-sounding names cropping up in conservative quarters is simple, Wattenberg says. Women in red states tend to have their first children earlier than women in blue states. A 23-year-old mom is more likely to come up with something out of the ordinary than one who is 33.

    Damn you, social science, for providing a reasonable explanation for why Levi Johnston came up with a name like Breeze Beretta for his second-born. I always thought "Beretta" was meant to honor the premature discharges that produce so many unplanned pregnancies in communities where Rick Santorum's sweater vest is the only acceptable method of contraception. Turns out it's just youthful exuberance.

    For now, these correlations are all just fun and games, but as these children age, the progressive penchant for hyphenated surnames is going to combine with the conservative habit for outlandish first names to drive us all insane. Will we ever be ready for a 2052 presidential contest between Scottlynn Nevaeh Jones of Oklahoma versus Emma Abigail Huntington-Steinberg-Collins-Dorkhman of Vermont?

    Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images


    Tags: Babies, Children, Conservatives, Liberals