Happy Birthday to Alex Rodriguez, 37. Well, he's at 644 HRs and holding, for now. He surely won't get to Mays this year, but surely will in 2013 barring catastrophe. But then? Well, he needs 70 for Ruth, 111 for Aaron, and another 7 for Bonds. Say he ends this year at 650: at 25 per year (more than he's managed last year or presumably this), he would get it early in his age 41 season. That still seems more likely than not -- players as good as him should be able to play at 41 -- but he's lost most of his enormous leeway, hasn't he? Granted, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he has a 40 HR comeback year in 2013 and winds up as a regular at age 43, in which case he'll smash through it, but if 2011-2012 is really his true level now, then it may wind up turning on how much he really wants the record.
Ah, for the good stuff.
1. Brendan Nyhan on how the press keeps botching the basics of how income taxes work. Related botched point that we can get ready for if tax reform is an issue going forward: as Matt Yglesias has pointed out many times, the idea that fewer rates equal simplification for taxpayers is entirely without merit (people either consult tax tables or use software to figure out tax owed and would do so pretty much however the system works; it's entirely irrelevant how the numbers are generated in the first place.
2. Alan Abramowitz tackles the question of enthusiasm.
3. Larry Bartels dives into the question of partisan effects on perceptions of the economy. Really interesting topic, in part because perceptions of the economy not only may affect voice choice, but can also affect the action economy. I'd love to know whether partisan-based perceptions of the economy bleed over to choices voters make in business or as consumers.
4. E. J. Graff argues for diversity, including diversity of political involvement, on behalf of Sally Ride's choices, in response to Andrew Sullivan's comments. The topic of choosing a life in politics is, it seems to me, both a very interesting one and also one that does not have clear answers, whatever the context might be. I'd probably refer people to Hannah Arendt's Men in Dark Times; I don't think she has answers, but does help think things through.
5. And a reminder from Stan Collender of (yet another) reason why cramming most of the year's business into a lame duck session is a bad idea: the strong possibility of sloppy writing in the resulting laws.