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Overreach

Yes, prosecutorial overreach has always been a problem. But it’s getting worse, as the Cato Institute points out.

Fair and balanced

That librul media! It’s my duty as a blogger to point out that this Think Progress piece is wrong. Republicans trust more media sources than Fox News – they trust Newsmax, Rush Limbaugh, Drudge and Andrew Breitbart, too! Duh:

new PPP poll confirms what many have long suspected — that many Americans get their news from sources that hew to their pre-existing beliefs.

But this phenomenon was not balanced on both sides of the ideological spectrum. While Democrats trust most news outlets, to varying degrees, Republicans trust only a single one — Fox News. While a massive 73 percent of Republicans trust Fox, the next highest rating among any major TV news outlet is PBS, which just 30 percent of GOPers trust, according to the PPP poll.

The numbers show just how powerful Fox can be in setting the agenda and influencing the world view of conservatives, with virtually no competition or accountability from the outside world. This monopoly on news penetration for an entire half of the electorate would be bad no matter the network, but it’s especially troubling considering Fox’s shoddy, and often agenda-driven “reporting.” And unlike an openly-ideological news outlet like ThinkProgress or the National Review, which freely advertise their perspectives, Fox insists it’s a traditional “far and balanced” news outlet.

Oh noes

Rick Perry drops out of the race!

Explainer

How the money gets into the pockets of GOP candidates.

Today’s sickroom

Thanks for all the kind wishes! I’m feeling even better today. Really, except for that “kicked in the ribs” pain, I’m fine. That, and the Percocet “why does my head feel like it’s floating off my shoulders?” sensation. But I’m eating normal food (fish and broccoli for dinner last night, oatmeal for breakfast this morning), which is nice.

I don’t know when I can get to those Christmas cookies, though. I think I’ll wait a while on those.

Oops

My guess is that it has a lot more to do with kids sitting on their asses playing video games:

WASHINGTON, DC, January 17, 2012 — While the percentage of obese children in the United States tripled between the early 1970s and the late 2000s, a new study suggests that—at least for middle school students—weight gain has nothing to do with the candy, soda, chips, and other junk food they can purchase at school.

“We were really surprised by that result and, in fact, we held back from publishing our study for roughly two years because we kept looking for a connection that just wasn’t there,” said Jennifer Van Hook, a Professor of Sociology and Demography at Pennsylvania State University and lead author of the study, which appears in the January issue of Sociology of Education.

The study relies on data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999, which follows a nationally representative sample of students from the fall of kindergarten through the spring of eighth grade (the 1998-1999 through 2006-2007 schools years). Van Hook and her coauthor Claire E. Altman, a sociology and demography doctoral student at Pennsylvania State University, used a subsample of 19,450 children who attended school in the same county in both fifth and eighth grades (the 2003-2004 and the 2006-2007 school years).

The authors found that 59.2 percent of fifth graders and 86.3 percent of eighth graders in their study attended schools that sold junk food. But, while there was a significant increase in the percentage of students who attended schools that sold junk food between fifth and eighth grades, there was no rise in the percentage of students who were overweight or obese. In fact, despite the increased availability of junk food, the percentage of students who were overweight or obese actually decreased from fifth grade to eighth grade, from 39.1 percent to 35.4 percent.

“There has been a great deal of focus in the media on how schools make a lot of money from the sale of junk food to students, and on how schools have the ability to help reduce childhood obesity,” Van Hook said. “In that light, we expected to find a definitive connection between the sale of junk food in middle schools and weight gain among children between fifth and eighth grades. But, our study suggests that—when it comes to weight issues—we need to be looking far beyond schools and, more specifically, junk food sales in schools, to make a difference.”

Rahm vs. those effin’ protesters

From Firedoglake:

Two ordinances drawn up for controlling protests and maintaining security in the city of Chicago during upcoming NATO/G8 meetings passed through the Chicago City Council [yesterday].

The ordinances, which organizers from Occupy Chicago and the Coalition Against the NATO/G8 (CANG8) call “sit down and shut up” ordinances, were proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and were met with some opposition that led to revisions. But today they passed with only a handful of aldermen voting against the ordinances…

Jobless claims drop

I have to think it’s because not enough people have been employed enough to be eligible, although I’d like to believe otherwise.

Santorum

Looks like Mr. Frothy may have won Iowa, after all!

Economic news

Dr. Doom explains why things aren’t looking so hot.

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