February 18, 2013

Happy George Washington’s Birthday, everyone — that’s the federal holiday, and the one I’m celebrating. If you find Washington too distant to really care about, I’ll recommend Garry Wills’s “Cincinnatus.”

1. The economic case for raising the minimum wage, from Paul Krugman.

2. If you really want to know what redistricting and gerrymandering have done, read John Sides and Eric McGhee’s comprehensive look at the 2012 election and the recent history of districting bias in House elections.

3. The myth of equality of opportunity in the United States – and what to begin to do to restore it, by Joseph Stiglitz.

4. Wait – GOP-supported voter restrictions will disproportionately reduce voting among African Americans and Latinos? Who would have guessed? But it’s good to have a nice empirical study showing what we all know, and Seth Masket supplies it.

5. Jonathan Chait nails the “Fix the Debt” folks.

6. Remember Mark Sanford? Once a disgraced former governor, now a possible new member of the House; Ed Kilgore thinks about Sanford and second chances.

7. Spending cuts are usually not popular. Here, or in Britain. At least not real ones, to real programs, as opposed to symbolic or vague ones. Thus the problem for the current Conservative government. Alex Massie on a problem that should sound very familiar to GOP-watchers.

8. Dan Larison looks at new polling and notices “how paranoid Americans have been taught to be about relatively small, manageable security threats on the other side of the planet.”

9. Could Barack Obama’s early-education idea be part of a deal with Republicans in Congress? Jonathan Cohn is more optimistic than you might think.

10. While Mike Konczal points out that the program would also benefit … parents.

11. And will “Roadrunner” become the Official Rock Song of Massachusetts? Hard to think of a better choice.