Today's Blogs

So, So Sorry

Bloggers discuss the Senate’s apology for not passing an anti-lynching law; they also tackle a proposed increase in the retirement age and a new study on virginity pledges.

So, so sorry: The Senate issued a formal apology for its decades-long failure to enact an anti-lynching law, but the fact that only 80 of the 100 senators co-sponsored the bill irked some.

Bloggers focus on the missing 20: Responding to a list of “pro-lynching senators” posted by the liberal Atrios, commenter Samurai Sam writes, “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this. It just makes me choke to think we’ve made so little progress in race relations in the past 40 years. Or, more correctly, that the North and both coasts have made the progress and the South and some of the Midwest have not.” At the Moderate Voice, political independent Joe Gandelman speculates about the motives of the senators who didn’t co-sponsor: “Most likely some couldn’t sign for logistical reasons, but there were most certainly some who held their fingers up to test the political winds — basically giving the finger to the rule of law…even when it came to putting their names on a largely symbolic resolution.”

Others are offended at the apology altogether: Black writer La Shawn Barber argues, “In light of the serious problems we face in the world and our own country, I think this apology is one of the dumbest, emptiest, most politically correct pile of rubbish I’ve heard in a long time. …I’m sick of politicians wasting time and money pandering to blacks, treating us like empty-headed children, spoon-feeding us putrid pabulum, and prostrating themselves for every perceived slight. Don’t apologize to ‘Black People.’ Apologize to individual blacks who actually care about this mess.”

Read more about the Senate’s apology; read this “Explainer” about congressional apologies.

Not-so-golden years: Republican senators are considering a bill that would raise the Social Security retirement age to 69 over the next two decades. The proposal was presented last week as part of a plan to ensure “greater financial solvency” to Social Security.

Supporters think it’s just plain good sense: “Raising the eligibility age for Social Security really should be part of any commonsense solution,” arguesThe Yellow Line’s Alan Stewart Carl, a “former democrat and a former republican.” He writes, “In 1940, the average life expectancy was 64 years while right now it’s around 77… If we’re living longer, shouldn’t we be able to work longer?” Commenter Jonathan Cortis agrees: “With a combination of raising the retirement age and raising the cap on social security wages, we may just be able to bring SS back to the PAYGO system FDR envisioned.”

Opponents use the chance to complain about President Bush and Republicans: “What people need to understand is that there is no Social Security ‘shortfall’ at all until 2042,” saysThe Land of Ding’s Andrew Dingfelder, a new blogger. ” … The problem is that Bush is spending money like a drunken sailor and giving tax cuts to his wealthy benefactors at the same time.” Other bloggers complain about New York Times’ columnist John Tierney’s suggestion that Americans spend too much time in retirement: At the liberal Delusions of Grandeur, Emeryroolz writes, “Tierney seems to think it’s INSANE to not want to work until you drop dead? Spoken like a guy who’s never done an honest day’s work in his life.”

Read more about the proposed retirement age.

Virginity pledges: Contradicting earlier findings, the Heritage Foundation has published a study concluding that young people who took virginity pledges contracted fewer STDs, were more likely to abstain from sex; and were less likely to become prostitutes. The Times reports that other experts find the results “provocative, but … flawed.”

Bloggers criticize the Heritage Foundation’s motives and ideology. “It’s not surprising that an organization dedicated to pursuing an ideological agenda might abandon good science in the name of politics,”  writes Publius of The Third Estate. Journalist Doug Ireland condemns the Times for failing to point out the ideology of the “oh-so-conservative” foundation. “By giving such play and credence today to this mendacious and unscientific Heritage study,” he writes, “the Times is encouraging the myth that abstinence-only sex ed and virginity pledges help stop the spread of AIDS and STDs—when, in fact, the reverse is true. Shameful.” Matthew Yglesias, writing at the American Prospect blog, TAPPED, further criticizes the Times, saying, “The only newsworthy information in the story is that the Bush Department of Health and Human Services has decided for some reason to start contracting out research on controversial questions to an ideological think tank that is non-partisan in name only, rather than to proper independent analysts.”

Read more about the Heritage Foundation’s study.