Opening Act: Here’s to the State of Mississippi

The Washington Nationals’ president mascots race during a game against the San Francisco Giants on July 4, 2012 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

It’s Presidents’ Day, the time when all Americans gather for traditional Presidents’ Day dinners of yellow squash and goat meat, and commemorate George Washington’s birthday by buying a Kia Optima. Slate is largely off today, but if you’ve got the urge, I’ve got a piece about how the conservative media’s direct line to Republican senators complicated the Hagel nomination.

Mississippi gets one step farther away from Phil Ochs punchline status by ratifying the 13th Amendment.

A Rasmussen poll puts support for Hagel’s confirmation at 43-37 positive despite overall opinion of the nominee cooling off. Contrast this with Bob Woodward’s report over the weekend that some Democrats have asked the White House if Hagel might withdraw. (This after they’ve already cast pro-Hagel votes!)

Betsy Woodruff hangs out with the Students for Liberty.

This is a fairly oversexed headline, but the report in question gives us an interesting spelunking into money and conservative politics.

Stephanie Coontz asks why gender equality has faded as an issue, its political space filled by abortion rights:

Under present conditions, the intense consciousness raising about the “rightness” of personal choices that worked so well in the early days of the women’s movement will end up escalating the divisive finger-pointing that stands in the way of political reform.

Jim Antle asks what the bleeding of Hagel has done to the GOP’s realist wing.

David Sirota has some real talk for pundits conflating Elizabeth Warren and Ted Cruz because both are “stars”:

What’s important here is what Politico actually got right in its story: namely, that the assumption in Washington is, indeed, that silence is a virtue – that, in other words, the best thing for a newly elected liberal senator to do is shut her mouth, go along to get along, play by the club’s rules and not make any waves. Summing up that Beltway conventional wisdom, Politico writes that only by “flying under the radar” can a liberal “star” like Warren develop a “reputation as a serious legislator.”

The amusing thing about this news is not that a former Alaska governor is going to give a speech next month, but that CNN sees fit to award it so many grafs and so much import.

And here’s a song for the holiday.