Buried lede, here: polling shows that Barack Obama is a *rotten* communicator.

Look, when you’re the President, you shouldn’t be getting numbers like these in a poll asking voters whether they think that you love America:

The answer: a surprising number. Democrats are convinced he does love his country (85 percent of those surveyed answered yes in the poll), while Republicans (69 percent no) are skeptical. Independents break in the president’s favor by only 42 percent to 38 percent. Nationally, only 47 percent of people think the nation’s leader loves America while 35 percent do not.

This is, in fact, representative of a communications failure on the President’s part. Even if you assume that the GOP is being horrible and inaccurate in their assessment of Barack Obama, a 42/38 split among independents is essentially a tie. Perhaps the Democratic party should be spending less time whining about how the Republicans are being mean to the President, and more time trying to prove – in a positive manner – that we’re being unfair, too.

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s (Arizona-01) campaign float spurns American flag for Mexican one.

Come, I will conceal nothing from you: being of sound Boston Irish Catholic stock, I am quite familiar with the idea that a politician might think it prudent to use more than the American flag in a campaign display. Is it pandering?  Of course it’s pandering: but it’s not pernicious. Fly an Irish flag at a St. Patrick’s Day parade, have an Italian one at the few places that still dare do Columbus Day festivals; even wave a Mexican flag at the nascent Cinco de Mayo celebrations that this culture is adopting.  This is an established practice.

But.  If you’re an American politician – like Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, or Democratic gubernatorial nominee Fred DuVal –  running for an American legislative or executive position, do not fly a Mexican flag from your campaign float and forget to have an American one.  That’s not harmless pandering; that’s offensive pandering, particularly when you’re running in a state like Arizona.

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Continue reading Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s (Arizona-01) campaign float spurns American flag for Mexican one.

People shocked to discover that Iraq picked up democracy via usual osmosis process.

I must be honest: I am shaking my head at the sense of wonder found in this essay on Iraqi electoral progress.

By far the most important thing about the preliminary results of Iraq’s April 30 parliamentary election is the nature of the conversation that is now taking place about them. It is a conversation about what it means for a sitting Prime Minister when he wins less than 30 percent of the vote but does much better than his rivals—and about whether Iraq’s next government should be one of broad national unity or formed on the basis of a simple majority. It is a conversation about deliciously esoteric and endlessly iterative matters of parliamentary arithmetic in a place where no identity group is close to monolithic and where almost any of the ten main factions is capable of working with any other. Continue reading People shocked to discover that Iraq picked up democracy via usual osmosis process.

Why the homeschooling situation in America is different than it is in Germany.

While I am fully in agreement that it would be bad for Germany’s attitudes towards home schooling (they hate it, and are apparently prepared to shoot children over it*) to be replicated in the United States, there is fortunately at least one thing that’s different here: home schooling is not exclusively practiced among the Right. The Unitarians**, for example, are pretty friendly on the concept. In fact, religion is not the primary reason given for homeschooling in this country (H/T Breitbart)…

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Don’t get me wrong: religious issues, and how they relate to the public school curriculum, still loom large in many people’s decision to homeschool.  But concerns about the schools themselves apparently loom larger.

Moe Lane

*From the article:

A Nazi-era law, still in force today, mandates that all German children attend a school teaching the state curriculum. In the court order authorizing the raid, the judge signed off on use of force “against the children” if necessary, noting that the children had “adopted the parents’ opinions” regarding home schooling.

So take it up with them.

**My wife’s UU.