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What nation represents the Conservative Republican ideal? Is it China, where a single party can clamp down hard on personal freedom while ignoring those bothersome safety and environmental regulations whenever it suits them? Maybe it's Somalia, the host nation for all free market all the time. Nicholas Kristof has another suggestion -- Pakistan.

It has among the lowest tax burdens of any major country ... This society embraces traditional religious values and a conservative sensibility. Nobody minds school prayer, same-sex marriage isn’t imaginable, and criminals are never coddled. ... When generals decide on a policy for, say, Afghanistan, politicians defer to them. Citizens are deeply patriotic, and nobody burns flags.


Now obviously Sarah Palin and John Boehner don’t intend to turn Washington into Islamabad-on-the-Potomac. And they are right that long-term budget issues do need to be addressed. But when many Republicans insist on “starving the beast” of government, cutting taxes, regulations and social services — slashing everything but the military — well, those are steps toward Pakistan.

What's the biggest decision President Obama will make in the next few months? The Union of Concerned Scientists says it's the decision over mileage requirements for upcoming vehicles, and the New York Times agrees.

Mr. Obama should hang tough. Given the vanishingly small prospects for serious energy legislation on Capitol Hill, the new standards represent his and the country’s most promising opportunity to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and America’s dependence on foreign oil.
Actually, "Mr. Obama should hang tough" is advice I wish he, and the Congress, would both hear and follow on many issues. However, I agree with the NYT on this one. The failure to get a comprehensive, progressive, pro-active energy policy passed and enacted is the biggest failing of American government. And it has been for the last four decades. Any little step forward is better than nothing.

SlutWalks is a name that immediately brings controversy and mixed feelings. Jessica Valenti says that's exactly why the term has been applied to marches intended to attack the idea that some women are "asking for it."

In a feminist movement that is often fighting simply to hold ground, SlutWalks stand out as a reminder of feminism’s more grass-roots past and point to what the future could look like.

The marches are mostly organized by younger women who don’t apologize for their in-your-face tactics, making the events much more effective in garnering media attention and participant interest than the actions of well-established (and better funded) feminist organizations.

William McKenzie's advice to the GOP: discard the minimalist far right and discover a "progressive conservatism."

A progressive conservatism contrasts with the philosophy of minimalist government. Its adherents also believe in fiscal discipline but take a dim view of government’s ability to help resolve problems, particularly national challenges. They, too, largely believe in individual rights and environmental responsibility, but they are not so willing for government to enforce those rights or uphold ecological standards. And some, but not all, would have America hunker down within its borders.
Of course, it's hard to weep for the GOP's self-imposed insanity requirements. Besides, McKenzie's description of a progressive conservative seems to be someone who actually believes the same thing as the far right, but shies away from the consequences of those beliefs. Eventually the whole thing melts into an ad for Jon Huntsman as the savior of the party, but you have to give McKenzie credit for this much: he may be the first conservative pundit whose choice for GOP savior might actually run.

David Sirota reminds us that the CHIP program is never safe from GOP knives. Conservatives are going after money for sick kids at both the federal and state levels.

From Texas to California, state lawmakers are chopping children's health programs in the face of budget shortfalls. In all these initiatives, the rhetorical leitmotif is "fiscal responsibility."

Like clockwork, this has set off the now-standard ideological debate over values, with liberals arguing that it's immoral to deny health care to today's kids and conservatives countering that it's even more immoral to saddle the next generation with debt. But as highlighted by a new National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) report, both sides are ignoring the most important non-ideological fact: Any so-called "deficit reduction" plan that cuts child health programs is almost certain to increase deficits.

Speaking of children's health, kids with ADHD get ostracized, lambasted, and doped to the gills, but a new study suggests that what they might actually need is the occasional attagirl or attaboy.

POSITIVE feedback could help children at risk of attention problems excel at learning exercises, maybe even enabling them to overtake their peers.

Is it too late to request that one of these be named Dailykosonium? Hey ain't heavy... he's just made from element 116.

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