Given the bottom of this post, I suppose I'll have to wish a Happy Birthday to poor Jake Lloyd, who is 23 and probably shouldn't be held responsible for any of it.
The good stuff:
1. Nice Scott Lemieux summary of the evidence that a president can move public opinion in his direction (answer: doesn't work).
2. Adele Stan had a good reaction to the Rush Limbaugh thing early in the weekend (pre-apology) and an excellent analysis of that non-apology apology. Andrew Sabl argues that Republicans are driven by public opinion cleavages to make fools of themselves over birth control.
3. You know I'm in full support of the argument that Paul Krugman makes here and here: it's the state and local spending, especially state and local employment.
4. I'm a big fan of political scientist Matthew Dickinson, and I rarely disagree with him when it comes to the presidency...even when I do disagree with him, I take a second and third look to see where I'm wrong. But on the nomination process, I haven't been agreeing with him at all. The better to link to him (and are two that I disagree with), because it's important to point out that political scientists are not all in agreement on these things. More later, perhaps.
5. And kudos for Kevin Drum for trying an impossible argument: that Jedi is the strongest Star Wars movie. I fully agree with him about the first part of the movie...my position is that the whole Jabba sequence is just as good as the first two movies. But there's just no way that Jedi is, overall, a better movie by any standard. And I don't even hate the Ewoks as much as most people do. I like the movie overall, and I think Drum makes a good point about some of the difficulties involved, but it's still not up to the first two movies. What else? Seth Masket goes the other way and claims that the final prequel movie is better than Jedi. Seth and I have disagreed about this before (I can't find it; maybe it was over email), but I think he's just plain wrong about the Jabba portion, which he hates but as I said above, I think is first-rate. Basically, I'll completely agree with what Dan Drezner said. Except for one thing. For my money, the original movie is a bit better than "Empire." No, the characters aren't as well developed as they become, but to me that's sort of the point; everyone is supposed to be these purely iconic characters, and in the first movie that's what they are. And the writing! Everyone picks on Lucas for writing, but Star Wars has dozens of great lines. The writing, and those great lines, are absolutely pitch-perfect for the kind of movie it is. Now, I'm not knocking "Empire", and I'll grant all the positive points about it, but I think the first movie just has more going for it.