Happy Birthday to Dana Perino, 40. I have a long-standing policy of liking every single White House Press Secretary, and hers was a tough assignment -- an unpopular president serving out the end of his term with little agenda but plenty of disasters.
On to the good stuff:
1. Irin Carmon explains how HHS wound up backing an abstinence-based sex ed program.
2. Meanwhile, want to see some excellent local journalism? A three-part series from the San Antonio Express-News by Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje compares sex education and results in Texas and California. It ran over the weekend...here are parts one, two, and three.
3. Jared Bernstein on where unemployment would be without state and local cuts. He mentions the multiplier; what I still want to see is an estimate of the effects of fear of cuts on all those teachers, cops, and prison guards who didn't get laid off.
4. Good Brendan Nyhan column on Obama, Romney, flip-flopping, and journalistic framing. I think he somewhat underplays the extent to which Romney's changing positions are fairly unusual. Consistent with electoral incentives, yes, but unusual all the same. But I certainly agree that it's another leap altogether to use it as evidence of a character flaw.
5. And John Sides updates his previous post on presidential approval ratings; upshot is that Obama is still showing up as beating his expected numbers, but only by a bit.