Hassett, Barney, the Redskins, and the Patriots.

Three fine political pieces.

Lileks on John Edwards and l'affaire Wal-Mart:

But that's not the interesting part of the story. Nor is the fact that the person who made the call was a volunteer — you mean Edwards doesn't pay his staffers a living wage with full medical/dental and a $200 deductible for eyeglasses? Must have been a hangup in the paperwork. No, the telling part was in Edwards' conference call statement to the union activists. Said the AP story:

"Edwards ... repeated a story about his son Jack disapproving of a classmate buying sneakers at Wal-Mart.

"`If a 6-year-old can figure it out, America can definitely figure this out,' Edwards said."

. . . Young Master Jack needs better manners. It's possible the kid didn't have access to a Bruno Magli outlet store, and his folks shopped at Wal-Mart because it fit their budget — in which case being lectured by the scion of a millionaire trial lawyer is a little like scolding classmates for drinking Tang instead of having Alfred hand-squeeze a dozen Valencias.

Mark Steyn on people scared by "Theocons":

Somewhere along the way, he and Father Neuhaus fell out, Linker drifted left, and decided that his old boss was waging a “stealth campaign” to inflict upon the US “a future in which American politics and culture have been systematically purged of secularism,” and in which the Constitution will be rewritten to bring it into line with “the moral and sexual worldview of the Vatican”. That’s quite the ambition. American religiosity is for the most part strikingly unRoman and Father Neuhaus himself finds the evangelicals a bit of a bore, what with their “forced happiness and joy” and “awful music”. But so far the conspiracy seems to be going swimmingly, with the Supreme Court claiming to have discovered a constitutional right to sodomy and its fellow jurists in Massachusetts having legalized gay marriage. That’s exactly the kind of cunning distraction you’d expect these theocons to come up with to throw the rest of us off the scent.

Josh Manchester on "Why Intellectuals Love Defeat":

In Mr. Carroll's fantasyland, the United States is deserving of defeat, and through some sort of mental gymnastics, that defeat is honorable, because it smacked of hubris to ever have fought in the first place.