Virginia teens narrowly escaped an effort by lawmakers to restrict their right to expose their undergarments to others when the state Senate dropped a bill that would have fined anyone who displayed underwear in a "lewd or indecent manner." Daniel Henninger awards the Virginia legislature a tony for this effort to reign in teenage tackiness and suggests that the larger issue facing American youth is securing employment to pay for items such as fancy drawers to wear under their droopy pants. "Algie Howell, the inner city legislator who introduced this bill, said it wasn't about rights, it was about values," explains Henninger. "He said all he was trying to do was show that people who dress in a certain way behave in a certain way and this would make it easier for employers to hire them. He lost, and guess who else lost?"
New estimates released this week on the cost of the Medicare prescription drug benefit indicate that the figure will be more -- about 300 billion more -- than initially expected. Beyond tacky, says Holman Jenkins, almost historical and not just because the administration low-balled the estimate of the bill. "They eviscerated every element of Medicare reform out of it before handing off this drug benefit and then they brow-beat Republican congressmen to vote for this thing to serve the president's interests," says Jenkins. "I think it's almost like FDR's 1937 court packing scheme. It leaves such a bad odor that it's going to cast a shadow -- to mix a metaphor -- over everything this president tries to do, especially on Social Security."
The poets are right -- there is such a thing as a broken heart -- says Melanie Kirkpatrick, who awards her tony to the doctors at Johns Hopkins University who made the discovery. Shakespeare was on to something when he killed off Ophelia after Hamlet rejected her, suggests Kirkpatrick. The doctors examined patients who had exhibited cardiac symptoms after a big emotional shock, like the death of a loved one. While those people generally recovered very well after treatment and bed rest, the doctors dubbed the illness the broken heart syndrome. "One more thing, which I'd like to point out to the gentlemen on the panel," says Kirkpatrick. "Ninety-five percent of the patients with broken hearts were women. So as we approach Valentine's Day, perhaps that's something we should keep in mind."