The photographer was six feet away from a humpback whale calf. Its mother came up behind him and tapped his shoulder, gently extending her 15-foot pectoral fin in order to show Austin that she was watching him. See the "Whales Nugget" below..
UP-FRONT "PITTSBURGH IN DANGER" NUGGET!!
US Attorney in Western PA Who Played Role in Firings Scandal to Step Down -- Congressional Bid Next? from Talking Points Memo
"Mary Beth Buchanan, a Republican, is said to be mulling a run for Congress against incumbent Democrat Rep. Jason Altmire."
Iran Splits on Nukes (Robert Dreyfuss) from the Nation
"One thing I heard over and over again during my visit to Tehran in June was that the two sides in Iran's political divide were intent on sabotaging any US-Iran deal concluded by the other side. If President Ahmadinejad moves toward an agreement with the West over Iran's nuclear program, anaylsts told me, the centrist-reformist opposition would denounce it and work to unravel it. On the other hand, if former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi won the election, reformists told me, he would move toward exactly such a deal -- and the right-wing, including Ahmadinejad, would howl and oppose it. Well, Ahmadinejad won, Mousavi lost -- at least, that's how the story goes -- and voila! the prediction has come true."
Liberals Don't Bolt from Pelosi Bill from Politico
You know a certain group in a party has a reputation for, shall we say, wavering when it's a headline when they DON'T.
"The bill she unveiled Thursday includes big pieces of what the most liberal members of her party wanted — most likely setting up a serious battle when negotiators try to merge it with the far more moderate Senate legislation. "
The Defining Moment (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"The seemingly impossible dream of fundamental health reform is just a few steps away from becoming reality, and each player has to decide whether he or she is going to help it across the finish line or stand in its way."
If the Deficit Falls in the Forest ... (Paul Krugman) from his blog at the New York Times
A two-fer for Mr. Krugman!! And -- Boy! -- he makes a powerful point here, one that applies to many other issues.
"There are very good odds that even if Obama exhibited iron fiscal discipline, voters wouldn’t notice."
What's in the House Healthcare Bill? from Daily Kos
A MUST-READ if you are looking ahead to 2010 to see what average Americans might be getting if the House Bill is passed.
"Here's the full list of what will start happening in 2010 under the bill."
The President Passes the Dover Test (Mark Shields) from Creators' Syndicate
"John Glenn spoke in the Senate on Jan. 22, 1997, about what he called "the Dover test" are worth recalling: "It's easy to see the flags flying and the people go off to war, and the bands play and the flags fly. And it's not quite so easy when the flag is draped over a coffin coming back through Dover, Delaware.""
On the Quiet, the US is Legalising Marijuana from the Times [of London]
"You know things are shifting in America when Fortune magazine, the bible for business journalism, runs a cover story titled “Is pot already legal?”. You also know it when Barack Obama’s Department of Justice publishes a long-expected memo signalling that the federal government will no longer raid medical marijuana dispensaries if they are legal under state law. That happened formally this month."
An interesting conversation -- Byron York, as usual, missing what's really going on. The other two -- right on the money.
"In 2009, the energized right-wing base of the Republican Party transformed American politics. Nationwide protests against Barack Obama and his political agenda have forced establishment conservatives and the Republican Party power structure to make a strategic decision about whether listening to their core voters will help them or hurt them in coming elections."
The Last Days of the GOP (Editorial) from the Daily Beast
"On Saturday, Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava suspended her bid in the special election, citing a lack of funds. John Batchelor on the ugly food fight for a New York House seat and why the cynical celebrity endorsements of Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, and the Club for Growth will hurt the GOP."
Base Sends GOP Warning Shot in NY-23 from Politico
"The message from national and New York conservatives is unambiguous, though: This was an angry, energized base telling the national party that an anything-for-a-majority approach by GOP leaders is unacceptable. They are serious and deeply concerned about what's going on in Washington."
NY-23: What Happens, Who Wins, Who Loses? from the Washington Independent
"What does the Scozzafava surprise mean for the Owens-Hoffman horse race?"
American Pastoral from the New York Review of Books
A review of a biography of the great depression-era photographer, Dorthea Lange!
ANOTHER BOOK NUGGET!!
Breaking a Conspiracy of Silence from the New York Review of Books
A GREAT review of columnist Nicholas Kristof's new book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a real inspiring, harrowing, make-a-difference kind of book.
An amazing set of photos from a marine photographer from the Huffington Post
"Bryant Austin is a photographer whose life-size photographs of endangered whale species are touring the world and inspiring awareness about these amazing animals.
GENERAL MOTORS NUGGET!!
The Auto Bailout: How We Did It (Steven Rattner) from Fortune Magazine
"Without any experience in automaking or government, Steven Rattner left his Wall Street perch to wade into the largest restructuring in American history. The scale and speed of the rescue raised many questions, inspiring Rattner to write this account of a defining moment in capitalism."