Michael Specter in The New Yorker on Marco Rubio, scientist Republicans hoping to move the party in a younger, less stodgy direction talk about Florida senator Marco Rubio a lot. After all, he shined at the convention, has candidly discussed his Cuban heritage, and listens to Tupac. But when GQ's Michael Hainey asked Rubio about the age of the Earth, Rubio's response was decidedly backwards according to Michael Specter. Rubio replied, "I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all." Specter recommends a science refresher for Rubio, writing, "Actually, there are two basic theories about how the universe was created. There is a scientific explanation: that the universe began to expand about 13.7 billion years ago and continues today to do so. And there’s an explanation offered by people who believe that angels are real."
Alex Pareene in The New Republic on political jokes After Binders Full of Women, Fired Big Bird, Horses and Bayonets, and all the other done-to-death jokes from this campaign cycle, Alex Pareene has political meme fatigue. Not that he never circulated such wisecracks himself. He just thinks that journalism runs into trouble when LOLs drown out substantive coverage. "It often seemed as though every reporter, blogger, and pundit in the country spent every waking hour of the campaign just making fun of everything," Pareene laments.
David Brooks in The New York Times on the conservative blogosphere If your right-leaning media diet consists only of Drudge links and Donald Trump's Twitter outbursts, you're missing the most interesting conservative conversations happening on the Internet, says David Brooks. "If you go online, you can find a vibrant and increasingly influential center-right conversation," he writes, citing reform-minded writers from the National Review and E21, libertarians such as Tyler Cowen and Megan McArdle, and Burkeans like National Affairs' Yuval Levin. "By and large, these diverse writers did not grow up in the age of Reagan and are not trying to recapture it. They disdain what you might call Donor Base Republicanism. Most important, they matured intellectually within a far-reaching Web-based conversation."
John Nichols in The Nation on the vulture capitalists that ate Hostess Last week, when it briefly seemed like Twinkies would go extinct, some pundits blamed the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union for Hostess' impending bankruptcy. John Nichols sees the situation differently, writing, "The workers did not squeeze the filling out of Hostess. Hostess was smashed by vulture capitalists—'a management team that,' in the words of economist Dean Baker, 'shows little competence and is rapidly stuffing its pockets at the company’s expense.'"
Katrina vanden Heuvel in The Washington Post on the war on drugs Voters in Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana this year, perhaps signaling the public's shift away from harsh drug policies of the past. And that would be great, according to Katrina vanden Heuvel, who argues that the war on drugs waged by the federal government over the last four decades has been disastrous. "Americans aren’t drug free — we’re just the world’s most incarcerated population," she writes. "This holiday, as President Obama pardons the traditional turkey, let’s hope he also considers the millions of Americans trapped in a cruel, senseless system. May he heed Lincoln’s words and offer them forgiveness and, above all, hope."