Someone opened up three boxes of wine at the department today to celebrate the end of the semester, so I’m too buzzed to comment intelligently on these things, but earlier today I read two articles I wanted to pass along….
You can do a good job of predicting how a state will vote in national elections by looking at its population’s average age at first marriage and childbirth.
Six of the seven states with the lowest divorce rates in 2007, and all seven with the lowest teen birthrates in 2006, voted blue in both elections. Six of the seven states with the highest divorce rates in 2007, and five of the seven with the highest teen birthrates, voted red. It’s as if family strictures undermine family structures.
The reason is that, as Brad Plumer and I documented in this piece several years ago, Barbour has never convincingly demonstrated that he severed ties to the lobbying firm he founded, Barbour, Griffith, & Rogers (BGR), when he became governor of Mississippi in 2004. At the time, we were struck by the way Barbour had twice-vetoed and continued to oppose a wildly popular “tax swap” plan that would have cut the state’s hugely regressive grocery tax and replaced it with a tax increase on tobacco. The thing that caught our eye was that BGR had received some $2 million in revenue from tobacco companies since Barbour became governor. If Barbour had an interest in his old firm, as documents we obtained suggested, then it would be a massive conflict of interest, to say the least.
OK, so keep that in mind as you read the following: Last month, Amy McCullough, a dogged reporter with the Mississippi Business Journal, wrote an important piece laying out the way Barbour’s old firm had helped the subsidiary of a longtime client, Southern Company, obtain $270 million in Department of Energy money for a clean-coal facility in Kemper County, Mississippi. The facility will cost far more than that–at least $2.4 billion–and the difference will be born by local ratepayers. As governor, Barbour has been overwhelmingly supportive of the project, which would distinguish his administration from its counterpart in Florida, which recent bagged on a similar project.
(italics mine — I left off the opening originally)
DougJ out. I’ll be back later with an ill-considered anti-TalkingPointsMemo screed for the weekend.