On Wednesday, Massachusetts lawmakers are scheduled to take up a bill barring parents from spanking children. This isn't the first time a state has tried this kind of meddling, though all efforts thus far have failed. I'm rooting for this one to as well. I understand the urge to prevent child abuse, but this smacks of government overreach--and it's precisely the sort of well-intentioned intrusion that revs up the right-wing crazies. 

For the record, I don't spank my kids. But in days of yore, both myself and--more often and far more deservedly--my wicked younger sister were threatened with and took the occasional swat on the butt. Neither of us was permanently scarred. (Hell, I can't even remember the one time my sainted grandmother supposedly gave me a full-on, over-the-knee whoopin'.) And, in fact, the family's general consensus is that my more frequently punished sister turned out more well-adjusted than I. This is not to recommend spanking (except of course between consenting adults, though that's another matter entirely), I'm just saying...

--Michelle Cottle