[snip] The real ownership society. “In 1993, 72 percent of all applications from black home buyers resulted in loans,” writes Kimbriell Kelly in the Chicago Reporter, after surveying federal records for Chicago. “In 2003, just 48 percent did.”

[snip] Questionable priorities. David Swanson writes in Rolling Stone that if Congress raises the maximum FCC “indecency” fine to $500,000, that would be way out of line with fines other federal agencies can impose: “For the price of Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ during the Super Bowl, you could cause the wrongful death of an elderly patient in a nursing home and still have enough money left to create dangerous mishaps at two nuclear reactors.”

[snip] The price of integration. According to a study of more than 7,000 Arizona teens published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Hispanic teenagers for whom Spanish is the primary language are 65 percent less likely to have sex than Hispanic teens whose primary language is English. An accompanying editorial notes that this is just one aspect of a “healthy immigrant effect”: being less integrated into American society is also associated with lower infant mortality, better immunization rates, healthier diet, fewer suicide attempts, and a lower rate of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

[snip] “Unbelievers are more merciful and understanding than believers,” writes Christopher Hitchens in Slate. “We do not believe that the pope [John Paul II] will face judgment or eternal punishment for the millions who will die needlessly from AIDS [for lack of condoms], or for his excusing and sheltering of those who committed the unpardonable sin of raping and torturing children, or for the countless people whose sex lives have been ruined by guilt and shame and who are taught to respect the body only when it is a lifeless cadaver like that of Terri Schiavo. For us, this day is only the interment of an elderly and querulous celibate, who came too late and who stayed too long, and whose primitive ideology did not permit him the true self-criticism that could have saved him, and others less innocent, from so many errors and crimes.”

[snip] Why real libertarians steer clear of conservatives. “After 10 years in power, the exact things that Republicans said were wrong with prior Congresses have become worse under their control,” write John Samples and Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute in the American Spectator. “In 1995, Bill Frist of Tennessee went to the Senate floor to denounce Bill Clinton’s budget policies, arguing for ‘adjustment, reform, and downsizing the federal government.’ He charged that ‘without a balanced budget agreement, there will be profoundly negative consequences.’ Today, Majority Leader Frist and his party preside over a deficit that is twice as big as in 1995. . . . Recent omnibus spending bills have contained twice as many earmarked spending projects as Democratic bills used to contain.”

[snip] Would more walkable suburbs make us thin? Maybe not, according to the authors of the new book Urban Sprawl and Public Health. “If there is an association between walkable neighborhoods and walking (as there generally is), it is not clear in which direction the causal arrow points. People walk more in neighborhoods that offer mixed use [not just homes but stores and gathering places], sidewalks, and other pedestrian attractions; but this may well be because walkers preferentially move to such neighborhoods, while couch potatoes who want to minimize their walking opt for auto-dependent suburbs instead.”