An article noting that LBJ may have lost the South for a generation with the civil rights bill, but that the generation that LBJ lost is dying off:
Barack Obama is often called a transformational figure, and this election, it then follows, is a transformational one. I beg to quibble. Barack Obama is a confirmational figure, and this election confirms what has been gradually occurring in American society ever since that July day when Johnson virtually outlawed most forms of racial segregation in America. We've been transforming ever since.
A politician with Liberian links who beat out a 5-term congressman in rural Virginia:
A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Perriello worked to end atrocities in Liberia as well as with child soldiers, amputees, and local pro-democracy groups in Sierra Leone. He became special adviser for the international prosecutor during the showdown that forced Liberian dictator Charles Taylor from power. His work as a security analyst has taken him to Afghanistan and Darfur. Perriello has also been a part of a groundswell of young progressives whose religious faith motivates them to seek social change through public service. One of the most startling aspects of his 2008 campaign was his pledge to tithe 10 percent of his campaign volunteers' time to local charities. Time they could have spent stuffing mailers and phone-banking went to building houses for the poor.
The arms race amongst high school and college swim teams around Michael Phelps-style swimsuits:
Swimmers wearing Speedo's LZR suits set 71 of the 77 new aquatic racing world records at, or just before, this year's Olympics. Now collegiate swimming programs are buying LZRs, and their competitors feel obliged to, um, follow suit. The trend extends to the high-school level, where the suits are showing up at state championship meets. Problem: LZRs cost around $500 retail.
That ethanol replaces the wrong crude oil product, looking from the demand side:
The problem for the ethanol advocates is that there's very little growth in gasoline demand, while the demand for other cuts of the barrel is booming. In short, the corn ethanol producers are making the wrong type of fuel at the wrong time. They are producing fuel that displaces gasoline at a time when gasoline demand—both in the United States and globally—is essentially flat. Meanwhile, demand for the segment of the crude barrel known as middle distillates—primarily diesel fuel and jet fuel—is growing rapidly. And corn ethanol cannot replace diesel or jet fuel, the liquids that propel the vast majority of our commercial transportation machinery.
That it's tough getting Asian parents to participate in their kids' schools:
The Asian parents are anything but uninterested. They call with concern if their children receive "satisfactory" rather than "excellent" progress reports, and bestow so many Godiva chocolates on guidance counselors at Christmas that the gilt boxes are donated to charity. But having come from a culture where performing well on tests was the only school activity that mattered, and self-conscious about their limited English skills, they are scarce at social activities like back-to-school nights, bake sales and football games.
On how many mothers are choosing to deliver their children at home (S2 was born at home, so we know what this article is talking about):
Many women are wary of hospital births, both because of a patient's limited control over the process and because of the growing frequency of Caesarean sections (use of the procedure increased by 50 percent nationwide from 1996 to 2006, to nearly one in three births, according to the National Center for Health Statistics).
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