Friday, April 30, 2010

News Nuggets 333

Some images from the news nuggets pet portfolio. These are from Americablog.

In Shift, Pakistan Considers Attack on Militant Lair from the New York Times

"The Pakistani military, long reluctant to heed American urging that it attack Pakistani militant groups in their main base in North Waziristan, is coming around to the idea that it must do so, in its own interests."

Fayyad's Road to Palestine (Roger Cohen) from the International Herald Tribune

"I spoke to the Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, for 90 minutes, and the word he uttered most often, by far, was “security.” As in, “The absence of security has been our undoing.” When Palestinian leaders are talking about their self-inflicted undoing, as well as the undoing inflicted on them by Israel, things may be starting to move."

The Winners and Losers in Bank Reform: A Wall Street Prospective from the Wall Street Journal

"The question investors is not whether this reform is ”good” or “bad”. Let’s hope for the best and try to make money either way."

Signs of a Democratic Upturn (Joe Conason) from Salon

"Anyone who examined the poll data hoping to find bad news for Democrats was likely to be disappointed, because the Post poll actually shows the first signs of an upward turn for President Obama and his party."

Is the Holy See Above International Law? from the Times [of London]

"Richard Dawkins is reported to be planning a “legal ambush” to have the Pope arrested for “crimes against humanity” on his visit, this September to the UK. The atheist Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are consulting human rights lawyers at present (including Geoffrey Robertson) to ask them to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over an alleged cover up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church."

These two are nothing but anti-catholic ambulance chasers as far as I can see.

US Court Action Accuses Pope of Failing to Protect Children from Priest from the Times [of London]

"The legal action, which will put even more pressure on the Catholic Church over its legacy of child abuse scandals around the world, came as two more bishops resigned and new allegations came to light."

Hawaii Civil Union Bill Passes Legislature from the Associated Press

"In a move that still needs the governor's signature to become law, the House of Representatives Thursday night approved a measure that has drawn some of the state's biggest protest rallies. Republican Gov. Linda Lingle hasn't said whether she'll reject it or sign it into law but her office said later that she will carefully review the bill."

Stay Away from Arizona (Bill Boyarsky) from Truthdig

"This is much more than an immigrant issue. Giving police the authority to stop a person on the “reasonable suspicion” he or she is an illegal immigrant clears the way for the arrest of anyone from an American-born Latino doctor to an Indian-American professor to an English immigrant who somehow offended an angry, ignorant or oversensitive police officer."

Can a Polarized American Party System be "Healthy"? (William Galston) from the Brookings Institute

"The current Congress–the 111th–is the most ideologically polarized in modern history. In both the House and the Senate, the most conservative Democrat is more liberal than is the most liberal Republican. If one defines the congressional “center” as the overlap between the two parties, the center has disappeared. "

Midterm's Past: The '66 Parallel (Rhodes Cook) from Larry Sabato's Virginia Center for Politics

"For months now, this election has been compared to that of 1994, when Republicans scored huge gains and won both houses of Congress. It is a decent model. But given the recent passage of health care reform – something that did not happen in ’94 – this might be a good occasion to look at another midterm election for instruction, that of 1966."

I think Cook is on the mark here concerning November.

NRSC Trips Over Grass Roots from Politico

"A strong class of GOP recruits in marquee Senate races is in danger of being upended in contentious primary elections, thanks to the emergence of a group of formerly long-shot primary challengers who have gone from being skunks at the party to belles of the ball. "

GOPanic (Timothy Noah) from Slate

"If the Democrats are doomed in November, why is it Republicans who are freaking out?"

Crist to Make Senate Bid as an Independent: Here's How He'll Do It from the Wall Street Journal

"Mr. Crist has scheduled a formal announcement for Thursday in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla. If the governor follows through, he would upend one of the country's most closely watched campaigns."

Breaking Down a 3-Way Race in Florida from the New York Times

"Even the most experienced strategists here are dumbfounded. Never before, they say, has there been a three party Senate race in a major swing state, with each candidate well-financed, and so much at stake in terms of the Washington power balance."

Speaking as an out-of-stater, this is quite interesting.

Crist Exit Could Signal Insider Purge from Politico

"While Crist, lagging badly in his Senate primary bid, is sure to pin the blame on a party-that-left-him, his move can’t simply be chalked up as a response to an ongoing purge of moderates."

The Charlie Crist Blame Game (Benjamin Sarlin) from the Daily Beast

"As Florida’s Senate hopeful bolts the GOP to become an independent, conservatives are railing about the national GOP’s record of placing bad bets. Benjamin Sarlin on the rumblings in the ranks."

The Tea Party's Immigration Hypocrisy (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast

"The right frets that Obama is turning America into a police state. So why are grass-roots conservatives silent when Arizona is doing just that?"


Has the Ship Finally Come in for Noah's Ark Devotees? from AOL News

"After 4,800 years, the mystery is over at last: Noah's Ark has been found, and it's sitting 13,000 feet above sea level near the peak of Turkey's Mount Ararat. ... Carbon dating of the seven wooden compartments discovered beneath the snow on Mount Ararat -- long thought by believers to be the ark's final resting place -- shows they are about 5,000 years old, the group says."

Seems like they have found SOMETHING that's old and potentially interesting. Make of it what you will.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

News Nuggets 332

Some great images of some unidentified canyons from out west. From Huffington Post

Grecian Formula: Greece’s Financial Mess Could be the End of European Unity (Jacob Heilbrunn) from the National Interest

"The Greek crisis has thus been extremely revealing. One thing it has shown is the limits of European unity. When times were flush, the Germans had no compunction about mouthing shibboleths about the importance of unity. No longer. Germany is asserting its own national interests rather than burying them in Europe. In this regard, Merkel could end up becoming the gravedigger of the European project."

Heilbrunn is not the only one saying this. See the following item.

On the Edge of the Abyss from the Editorial Board of the Economist [of London]

"Europe's leaders must act fast to stop Greece’s market contagion spreading."

The Implosion of Gordon Brown (Comment) from True/Slant

"Seldom is one treated to the complete implosion of a major public figure, but earlier today we were presented with the scene of the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown, the man who, amid the heat of 2008 financial crisis, was credited by the not-easily-impressed Paul Krugman with “saving the world,” collapsing into a heap of ruination."

Boy -- talk about the gang that can't shoot straight!

The Catholic Church is Going South (Philip Jenkins) from the New Republic

"The abuse scandals won't kill the Catholic Church—but it will push it out of Europe....Most evidence suggests that the Church will endure and even enjoy a historic boom--just not in places it has flourished historically. For years, its core has been migrating away from Europe, heading southward into Africa and Latin America."

A very prescient article in my view.

GOP to Abandon Blockade of Banking Regulation Bill from the Associated Press

"Republicans set the stage Wednesday to lift their blockade against legislation to tighten regulations on Wall Street, opening a road to likely passage for the most sweeping rewrite since the Great Depression."

Want to Save Capitalism? Regulate It (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post

"Goldman may face charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission, but it's the entirety of our deregulated financial system that's on trial. In this new order, the inventiveness of our entrepreneurs goes not only into creating products that enhance our lives (from refrigerators to laptops to iPods) but also into fashioning "absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical" financial products whose main function is to enrich a very small number of well-placed people."

Obama Strategy Gets Personal from Politico

"Rather than just going after big groups of bad guys — insurance companies, lobbyists, the media — Obama has adopted a strategy that gives a face to the enemy. By setting himself up against specific opponents, he provides a point of contrast that’s useful in invigorating a base hungry for bare knuckles and bravado — and forces those in the middle to choose between him and his villain du jour. "

EPA Staffers Were Forced to Ignore Science, Investigation Finds from Politics Daily

"The Committee on Science Integration for Decision Making is still working on its investigation, but has quietly posted draft summaries on the agency's website of 73 interviews with 450 EPA employees -- an unusual bottom-up examination that could bring sweeping changes to the 40-year-old federal agency. Some staffers traced the problems in the agency to the Bush administration, while others said the obstacles are longstanding and continue to this day."

Ah, Bush! We sure do miss him!

Give'Em Hell, Barry (Robert Kuttner) from the American Prospect

"If Obama is not destined to be the next Roosevelt, he can choose from one of two very different presidential role models, Harry Truman or Bill Clinton. "

Crist Set for Senate Run as Independent from the Financial Times [of London]

"The Tea Party Movement, which has dragged the Republican Party sharply to the right over the past year, appears set to claim its most high-profile scalp on Thursday with Charlie Crist, the governor of Florida, likely to declare that he will switch parties and run for the US Senate as an independent."

Democratic Draft of Immigration Bill Emphasizes Border Security from the Bloomberg News Service

"Democratic leaders in the Senate are drafting immigration legislation that would aim to bolster security at U.S. borders before later providing a way for illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens."

Iowa Republican Candidate: Implant Microchip into Immigrants in Country Illegally from the Des Moines Register

"An Iowa Republican congressional candidate says he supports inserting microchips into illegal immigrants to track their movements, noting that's how he keeps track of his dog."

Y'know, this guy is REALLY on to something! I THINK the entire GOP needs to grab this idea and RUN WITH IT!

Duncan Hunter Backs Deporting US-Born Children of Undocumented Immigrants from the Los Angeles Times

"Would you support deportation of natural-born American citizens that are the children of illegal aliens," Hunter was asked. "I would have to, yes," Hunter said. "... We simply cannot afford what we're doing right now," he said. "... It takes more than just walking across the border to become an American citizen. It's what's in our souls. ..."

He's been saying this for years. Nothing new -- but it's clear that immigration is back on the front burner again.

Are Tea Partiers Racist? from Newsweek

"A new study shows that the movement's supporters are more likely to be racially resentful."


The Best and Worst Cities for the Newly Graduated from the Huffington Post

"Each spring, millions of starry-eyed college students toss their graduation caps in the air and head to a city to begin a new life. But where, exactly, are the best places to go?"

Look who is listed as #2 in the BEST category! I love Pittsburgh -- but I'll have to say that this also shows truly how bad the rest of the country has become.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

News Nuggets 331

A Fennec Fox at the Amneville Zoo in France. From Agence France Presse.

Europe in Crisis (Walter Russell Mead) from The American Interest

"Internally, the Greek problem is showing signs of mutating into a full scale crisis of the European project. Externally, the decisive shift of Ukraine into Russia’s orbit reveals the bankruptcy of European foreign policy and the inability of the 27 member European Union to formulate, much less carry out, a comprehensive foreign policy on matters affecting its vital interests."

I'm not usually a fan of The American Interest -- but I consider Water Russell Mead someone worth listening to.

Eight Days in April (Hendrik Hertzberg) from the New Yorker

This is SO Obama!

"The New Start treaty was concluded a little behind schedule, thanks to last-minute Russian foot-dragging. That “Dmitri, we agreed” of Obama’s came in a phone call after Medvedev started to backtrack on some missile-defense detail. Obama got mad, according to the Times. “We can’t do this,” he went on. “If it means we’re going to walk away from this treaty and not get it done, so be it. But we’re not going to go down this path.” Then he hung up, and Medvedev decided, on reflection, not to walk away."

Russian Child Adoption Record Dismal Compared to US (Editorial) from New Region [of Russia in English]

"When 8 year-old Artem Saveliev was returned to Russia with a note of 'rejection' from his adoptive American parents, it caused a firestorm in Russia. … But according to experts, Russians are biased against adoption, and have almost no tradition of raising children in temporary foster homes. Therefore, rejecting the adoption of children by foreigners is premature."

Breathing While Undocumented (Linda Greenhouse) from the New York Times

"I’m glad I’ve already seen the Grand Canyon. Because I’m not going back to Arizona as long as it remains a police state, which is what the appalling anti-immigrant bill that Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last week has turned it into."

HARSH -- but true. For those who are not familiar with Greenhouse's work, she is the only Supreme Court reporter who has received a Pulitzer. She (and Nina Totenberg at NPR) are the divas of SCOTUS journalism!

The GOP's Short-Sighted Immigration Strategy (Opinion) from AOL News

"Pushed through by a Republican state legislature and a GOP governor, the law is a virtual recipe for police intimidation and harassment of both legal and illegal Hispanic residents. After all, in a state with a significant number of illegal immigrants from Mexico, what exactly is “reasonable suspicion” for being an illegal other than being Hispanic?"

Wheel Dividends (Derrick Jackson) from the Boston Globe

"While America spends $82 billion hoping bankrupt companies retool for President Obama’s 35-mile-per-gallon standards by 2016, other countries are already into high gear getting cars off the street completely."

All-Night Votes Planned for Wall Street Reform from the Huffington Post

""Americans are counting on us to get results, so we are going to do our jobs and keep the Senate open all night - we will vote again and again, until Republicans stop protecting Wall Street and join us in moving forward to an open, public debate about how to hold Wall Street accountable," said Reid spokesman Jim Manley."

Reid is not likely to win in Nevada in November -- but it sure seems like he's going to go out smoking!

Post-ABC Poll Indicators Suggest Possible Political Climate Change from the Washington Post

"There are some indicators that something less seismic might occur. They include signs that Democratic rank-and-file may be feeling better about things, which could result in more energy in the base than has existed for much of the past six months. At the same time, it's clear that many people are not fully sold on the Republicans and are continuing to assess the two parties. Finally, there is some evidence that Obama has learned some lessons from a difficult first year."

Six Primaries That Could Matter from the National Journal

"Talk to any Dem strategist and you'll hear a common refrain: GOPers will leave seats on the table because competitive primaries will sap eventual nominees of money and hinder their ability to bring together a winning coalition. GOPers believe the same about several Dem primaries, too."

'Retconning,' Death Panels and Bailouts (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post

""Retconning" is, well, a nerd term for "the deliberate changing of previously established facts in a work of serial fiction." Say you want to change Captain America's creation myth to accommodate the plot of a new storyline."

'Epistemic Closure'? Those Are Fighting Words (Op-Ed) from the New York Times

"It is hard to believe that a phrase as dry as “epistemic closure” could get anyone excited, but the term has sparked a heated argument among conservatives in recent weeks about their movement’s intellectual health."

The Party of Yes (M.S. Winters) from the National Catholic Reporter

"The Republican Party has been worried that they will be tagged as “the Party of No” but I think they actually face a different worry, that they will be tagged as “the Party of Yes.” In their obstructionism to anything and everything that President Obama supports, they have put themselves into the unenviable situation of saying, repeatedly, “yes” to the status quo."

Senate Republican Candidates Mired in Season of Discontent (Sam Stein) from the Huffington Post

"In several races throughout the country, candidates who either have the explicit backing of the party apparatus or are widely considered the establishment picks find themselves either in deep electoral holes or seriously challenged on personal or policy grounds."

A Test of Arizona's Political Character (Michael Gerson) from the Washington Post

"Chaos at the border is not an argument for states to take control of American immigration policy -- an authority that Arizona has seized in order to abuse. American states have broad powers. But they are not permitted their own foreign or immigration policy. One reason is that immigration law concerns not only the treatment of illegal immigrants but also the proper treatment of American citizens. And here the Arizona law fails badly."

Terry Goddard (D) Leads Jan Brewer (R) in AZ Gov's Race; Hispanic voters Flocking to Democratic Party from Public Policy Polling via Huffington Post

"Hispanic voters also appear to be flocking to Goddard -- his support among that group has more than doubled since September. Hispanics prefer Goddard over Brewer by a 71 percent to 25 percent margin, according to the poll."

VERY predictable.

Who is Barack Obama?: A Review of The Bridge by David Remnick from the New York Review of Books

"In this setting, David Remnick’s energetic entry into the Obama biography sweepstakes is a welcome reminder that the current occupant of the White House may have a broader, more durable sense of narrative than the pack of bloggers who considered him a slow learner."


The Dubai Fountain to the Tune of Baba Yetu (Andrew Sullivan's blog) at the Atlantic

This is pretty cool!


Icons of Oblivion: A Review of Nature's Ghosts from the Nation

"Mark Barrow is less concerned with gazing into the hazy future than clarifying the growing awareness of humankind's role in extinction. In Nature's Ghosts, he explains how naturalists, driven by affection for the nonhuman world, gradually became worried about the "specter of extinction" and eventually "mobilized to act.""


Behing the Scenes of the Dark Cold War (Review) from the New York Times

This looks very interesting! I believe it won or was nominated for a Pulitzer.

A review of The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David Hoffman.


The Dark Side of Dickens (Christopher Hitchens) from the Atlantic

"Why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

News Nuggets 330

Two more fun pet images - from Americablog and MyDD

New Construction Freeze in East Jerusalem Reported (Linda Gradstein) from AOL News

"A Jerusalem city councilman has told AOL News that there has been a de facto freeze in new Jewish construction in East Jerusalem, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence that he will not stop building in all parts of Jerusalem."

In keeping with this item, we have the following:

Pushing Bibi (Michael Tomasky) from the Guardian [of the UK]

"This is just a feeling, but something in the air tells me there could be a mini-breakthrough on the Middle East in the relatively near future, emphasis on mini."

And more:

Beating the Mideast's Black Hole (Roger Cohen) from the New York Times

"Feeling optimistic already? I confess I am — or rather, the complete despair about the “peace process” with which I arrived in Israel has eased. O.K., that’s not exactly optimism, but in the Middle East small mercies count."

Obama's Governing Discipline (Fred Hiatt) from the Washington Post

"Abroad, the strategy, with its hope of turning autocracies such as China and Russia into long-term partners, remains at best unproven. At home, it seems to be paying off, with major health reform approved and financial reform in sight. For those at the back of the line -- such as the District last week -- the opportunity costs are sharply felt. But even at such times, it's hard not to admire Obama's focus."

Now, let me say up front that, in the main, I find Fred Hiatt, the editor of the Post's editorial page, to be a DOPE! It has been RARE that a positive, thoughtful word has left his pen when it comes to the Obama administration. In keeping with this, even this article is shortsighted in focusing on only two things he thinks Obama has done right (although he expands the list late in the piece). So -- gaze upon this rare gem.

Whatever Happened to John McCain? (Op-Ed) from the Guardian [of the UK]

"While Barack Obama's presidency continues to soar, his opponent from the 2008 US election is selling his political soul."

Interesting commentary on the different trajectories Obama and McCain have taken since 2008. Also, I have to say that I never bought the media meme about McCain that he was somehow substantively different than most of his GOP colleagues. This piece simply establishes clearly who he is now ... and who he always was in my view.

How an American "Import" is Shaking Up UK Politics (Editorial) from The Hindu [of India in English]

"Britain's first television debates in the run-up to the general election have transformed the traditional two-horse race into an electrifying three-way contest."

For those who can't get enough of the UK elections, check out this "Election seat calculator" from the BBC.

Forecasters Upbeat About Economy, Hiring from CNBC

"Economists are more optimistic about prospects for growth this year as industries increasingly report better profits and add new jobs, though they still expect the recovery to remain slow, a new survey shows."

Yes, the word "hiring" is in that headline!

Reid to Force Repeated Votes to End Filibuster of Wall Street Reform from The Hill

"Sen. Harry Reid will force Republicans to vote repeatedly against Wall Street reform to put pressure GOP centrists. A senior Democratic aide said Reid would schedule votes to end a Republican filibuster of the reform bill on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. “We need to keep the pressure up to get a deal,” said the Democratic aide."

Well -- this sounds quite interesting! Hope it works out that he passes the bill AND makes the GOP vote against it 4-5 times.

The Republicans Help Financial Reform, Inadvertently (Simon Johnson) from The Baseline Scenario

"If the Democratic leadership becomes fed up with Republican stalling – or otherwise sees an opportunity to paint the Republicans as completely obstructionist, they could actually strengthen the bill."

Priest-Sex-Tape Horror from the Daily Beast

"Brazilian street vendors are hawking a video of an elderly priest molesting an altar boy. Dom Phillips reports from Brazil on the pope’s brewing crisis in South America."

Oh.My.God. What now? Was this filmed in secret (as the image suggests) -- or was it for the priest's secret stash of child porno flicks? This could really kick off the Latin American part of this whole scandal. Incredible. AND, when asked if he abused an alter boy, what is the priest's response?: “I can’t tell you this. I can only tell my confessor any sin of mine. I don’t need to admit or deny.” This so showcases in the broadest terms the above-the-law quality of the Church's responses to date.

Pope Threatens to Cancel UK Trip from the Telegraph [of the UK]

"The Pope could cancel his planned visit to Britain because of a “hugely offensive” Foreign Office memo mocking his stance on abortion and birth control, sources in the Vatican said."

The Pope has since said he will do his trip -- but ... why would he suggest cancelling it in the first place!? Getting a little testy? Despite the rather humorless rationalization suggested by the Telegraph, it makes no sense to me.

Hillary Clinton: She Stoops to Conquer from the Independent [of London]

"Hillary Clinton may have lost her bid for the US presidency - but even her critics admit she has shone as Secretary of State. Rupert Cornwell on the real comeback kid."

Another up-beat profile of Hillary.

Rating Pelosi Against History's Greatest Speakers (Matthew Green) from Roll Call

"Is Pelosi, in fact, among the most successful Speakers in history? Does her tenure at least merit her nomination, if not election, to the select group of truly great Speakers, including Henry Clay, Thomas Reed, Rayburn and O’Neill? By comparing the careers of these Speakers with Pelosi’s thus far, one finds three parallels that suggest such a nomination is merited."

A Broader View of Judicial Diversity (Scott Simon) from NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday

"Placing an avowed atheist, an active evangelical, an open gay or a former public defender might be a bolder step to express America than the usual categories by which we have come to keep score of diversity. America has become so gloriously varied, the old categories may feel a little narrow now. And, they'll only change."

The Right Court Fight (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post

"The test of success for liberals should not simply be winning the confirmation battle. This fight must be the beginning of a long-term effort to expose how radically conservatives have altered our understanding of what the Supreme Court does and how it does it."

Our Fill-in-the-Blank Constitution (G. Stone) from the New York Times

"As the list of rulings above shows, they tend to exercise the power of judicial review to invalidate laws that disadvantage corporations, business interests, the wealthy and other powerful interests in society. They employ judicial review to protect the powerful rather than the powerless."

DNC, OFA Lay Out Four-part Plan for 2010 Midterm Elections from Firedoglake

"On Saturday, I was at a meeting in Washington DC. where both Mitch Stewart, the Director of Organizing for America, and Democratic National Committee chair Gov. Tim Kaine laid out the strategy for the midterm elections."

Hysterical Nativism: Arizona's Immigration Law from the Editorial Board of the Economist [of London]

"A conservative border state is at risk of becoming a police state."

Arizona's Plain Old Politics (Op-Ed) from Truthdig

"Political opportunism has made a bad law a reality, as in so many of the critical political decisions that we have seen go awry in this country. “Everybody was afraid to vote no on immigration,” declared Republican state Sen. Bill Konopnicki in the most honest quotation I have heard from a politician in the past decade."

Growing Split in Arizona Over Immigration from the New York Times

"Immigration has always polarized residents of Arizona, a major gateway for illegal immigrants. But the new law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday has widened the chasm in a way few here can remember"

For Conservatives, Freedom's Just Another Word (Matt Yglesias) from the Democratic Strategist

"I ... think it's a mistake to too-closely identify the right's freedom-rhetoric with the formal philosophical conception of libertarian-style negative liberty. It is, rather, a slogan that's invoked as a gesture of ideological identity and solidarity that's largely devoid of semantic content—it plays a role similar to the one "yes, we can" ... plays for Obama's supporters.."

The New Secessionists (Chris Hedges) from Truthdig

"Acts of rebellion which promote moral and political change must be nonviolent. And one of the most potent nonviolent alternatives in the country, which defies the corporate state and calls for an end to imperial wars, is the secessionist movement bubbling up in some two dozen states including Vermont, Texas, Alaska and Hawaii. "


Our Debt to Prohibition from New York Magazine

"Next month, author Daniel Okrent will publish Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, a sweeping history of America’s ill-fated experiment with temperance. One of the book’s most surprising suggestions: that Prohibitionand the speakeasy invented modern New York nightlife."

The article comes with a hilarious map of prohibition-era New York City HERE!

Monday, April 26, 2010

News Nuggets 329

The coastline of the Snare Islands in New Zealand.

[Note: A few of these items are from earlier in the month]

Obama's Nuclear Wizardry and Iran from Politico

"Obama has now showed two essential strengths. First, he can deliver what he promised in September 2009, when he chaired a special Security Council session. Second, his team understands the difference between approaches that have strategic depth and can move global players into new positions versus those that are vapidly bilateral and uncompelling to either party. "

An excellent summation of what Obama has accomplished with Iran and what it says about his broader leadership in the foreign policy arena!

A Nuke Guru Backs Obama's Plan on Nonproliferation from the Daily Beast

"As the president hosts a nuclear security summit, his critics say he’s pursuing a policy of appeasement. But Sam Nunn, Cold Warrior and former senator, tells Lloyd Grove he’s a fan of Obama’s strategy."

This piece further reinforces the previous article.

Why Controlling Nukes is Good Politics (Julian Zelizer) from CNN

"The president must remind fellow Democrats, as well as Republicans, that historically the public has tended to strongly support nuclear weapons treaties, and the presidents who pursue them."

Space Plane Unnerves the World (Editorial) from the China Daily [of the People's Republic of China in English]

"The US openly lamented China's anti-satellite test four years ago and demanded more transparency from China's space program. It is trying hard to suppress the strategic striking ability of many other countries. But the world is unnerved by the continuous investment in and dominance of outer space by the US. The world should demand the US make public more details of the X-37B space plane, including its performance and mission."

"The world": read the Chinese leadership in Beijing. A little interstellar hypocrisy is going on here. The unconfirmed word on the X-37B is that it does the same thing as what China has been trying to develop with its "anti-satellite tests." Sounds like the US and China are ramping up a 21st century version of a "space race."

The Secrets of Obama's Under-appreciated Success (Mark Halprin) from Time Magazine

"Quibble all you wish about the dimensions of the stimulus law or the administration of the TARP or the Detroit bailout, but the actions taken were professionally handled, apparently necessary, and, so far, constructive. Strikingly underrated by the Washington press corps are Obama's gains on education policy, including a willingness to confront the education establishment on standards for both teachers and students. Overseas, Obama has snagged an arms reduction deal with Russia, managed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq exactly as he promised, eliminated numerous terrorist leaders through an aggressive targeting operation, and laid the groundwork for dealing with Iran and, perhaps, North Korea."

This is Mr. Halprin's first appearance among the nuggets. He is the editor of Time Magazine's politics blogs, The Page and RealClearPolitics. I will have to say that, in the main, I have a pretty low opinion of the objectivity of both of these sites, especially the latter which I view as highly biased against the administration. From his appearances on the tele, he comes off as a right-wing guy masquerading as a centrist, "objective" journalist. In this light, the article here is quite surprising!

Dems Willing to Test GOP in Wall Street Showdown from the Associated Press

"With a showdown vote looming, Democrats are resisting Republican appeals for a broad compromise on financial overhaul legislation and are eager to test whether GOP unity will crack in an anti-Wall Street political climate."

Critics Dig Deep for Causes of Scandal in the Vatican (Fr. Donald Cozzens) from the National Catholic Reporter

"While critiques of the clerical culture have been widespread in certain Catholic circles (the U.S. bishops, for instance, heard several versions of the critique during their famous meeting in Dallas in 2002) the criticism has begun to be heard increasingly from within."

I think this could be very important. This is probably the only way real change will occur.

Driving the Conversation: Will Durst on Wall Street Reform from "The Arena" section of Politico

"Perplexed as how to combat financial regulatory legislation, they are bouncing back and forth between a filibuster and a compromise like a ping- pong ball in a stainless steel shower stall. Their banker buddies have pushed hard to oppose any and all restrictions, placing the GOP in the unenviable position of having to defend Wall Street during an election year. Might want to practice by going to Sea World and rooting for the sharks to eat the dolphins in front of your kids."

Dems Take Aim at Court's Conservatives from Politico

"Democrats hope to turn the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings into a referendum of sorts on controversial recent decisions by the Roberts court — portraying the conservative majority as a judicial Goliath trampling the rights of average Americans."

It's about time those folks got challenged!

Five Presidents More Radical Than Obama (John Avlon) from CNN

"Perspective is the first thing abandoned in hyper-partisan attacks. So here is a look at five presidents who, it could be argued, exceed Obama in the "radical" sweepstakes."

The Arizona Law: Taking Civil Liberties Lessons from China (James Fallows) from the Atlantic

"The state's harsh anti-illegal immigration law is reminiscent of how the communist regime treats foreigners."

Bad Land: Why Hysteria Has Won in Arizona (John Judis) from the New Republic

"While Republicans may pick up a few more percent of the angry white vote in November 2010, they can kiss the Hispanic vote goodbye—and not just in Arizona. That may not have meant much in 1935, but in the years to come, it could seal the Republicans’ fate as a minority party."

Almost certain outcomes in my view.

GOP Needs to Grow Up, Get Back to Work (Roland Martin) from CNN

"We are used to seeing members of the opposite party express their displeasure with legislation. But saying no cooperation for the rest of the year? Dumb."


An 80 lb. Piranha! [VIDEO] from the program River Monsters on Animal Planet



Levi Johnston Writing Book on Palin from Taegan Goddard's Political Wire

Ah, these tawdry kiss-and-tell, self absorbed exploitations by accidental celebrities!! But, boy, I'm looking forward to this one!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

News Nuggets 328

Some more fun pet images - from Americablog.

Al-Qaida Confirms Deaths of Top 2 Figures in Iraq from AOL News

"An al-Qaida front group in Iraq has confirmed the killing of its two top leaders but vowed in a statement that its members were not cowed by their death and would continue to fight."

Obama Team Works to Head Off New Mideast War from Foreign Policy Magazine

"When U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Michele Sison met with Lebanese officials on Wednesday, she had a mission: She was there to urge Lebanon to help avoid a new outbreak of violence between Israel and the Shiite militant group Hezbollah."

Obama's Promise to Work with Foreign Governments (Kenneth Walsh) from US News and World Reports

"The nuclear security summit was the latest evidence that Obama ended the go-it-alone attitude."

Obama Most Popular World Leader, Poll Finds from the New York Times

"President Barack Obama remains by far the most popular world leader among people in major Western nations and is the one political figure on whom people consistently pin their hopes in the economic crisis, according to new polls conducted for the International Herald Tribune."

President Looks to Deepen Economic Ties to Muslim World from the Associated Press via Huffington Post

"Making good on a promise he made to the Muslim world last year, President Barack Obama will host an entrepreneurship summit next week to deepen ties between business people in the U.S. and Muslim countries."

Is China Heading for a Rural Revolt? (David Frum) from the National Post [of Canada]

"To raise rural living standards higher, Chinese agriculture will have to mechanize and modernize, substituting machines for people and merging little plots into larger fields. Think of what happened to southern sharecroppers between 1900 and 1950. Now multiply by about 70 times as many people. That’s China’s next revolution."

Bomb School from Foreign Policy Magazine

"How one little-noticed outcome of Obama's Nuclear Security Summit -- a new commitment to nuclear education and training -- could change the world."

Obama Lauds Auto Industry Rebound and Pushes for Financial Regulations from the Los Angeles Times

"The president says the auto bailout will cost taxpayers 'a fraction' of what had been feared. In his weekly address, he also urges Congress to pass his regulatory package to help avert new economic crises."

Fight On, Goldman Sachs! (Frank Rich) from the New York Times

"In just that week, the Party of No’s intransigent campaign of obstruction and obfuscation went belly up. The Obama White House moved to get its act together with an alacrity lacking in its health care campaign"

The Radical Center: The History of an Idea (Sam Tenenhaus) from the New York Times

"“These conflicting outlooks often reflected differences in education, ethnicity and religion. Put roughly, “radicals” were blue-collar Catholics, and “average middles” were white-collar Protestants."

Conservative Judge: AZ Immigration Law Will 'Bankrupt the Republican Party and the State' from Raw Story

"Hispanics -- who have a natural home in the Republican Party because they are socially conservative -- will flee in droves. She's also gonna bankrupt her state, because no insurance company will provide coverage for this. And for all the lawsuits that will happen -- for all the people that are wrongfully stopped -- her budget will be paying for it."

An on-the-money comment on the GOP's bone-headed move in AZ.

Groupthink at National Review (David Frum) from FrumForum

"How wonderful to return to a free country, I thought as I stepped off the plane from Beijing at Washington Dulles. No more censorship, no more official lies, no more kowtowing to high officials who gained power by their mindless repetition of party dogma… Then alas I opened my browser and read the dump-on-Manzi comments on NRO’s The Corner."

Incurious Bastards (Andrew Cohen) from the Atlantic

"We live in no such curious and noble times. Our political discourse is polluted by the sort of garbage tossed the way of Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) this week by an anti-immigration zealot. Our airwaves are populated with snake-oil salesmen trying to make the complex look easy. The "philosophy" offered by popular modern-day political thinkers is embarrasingly simple or already rejected."

Loose Tea (Comment) from the Nation

"Fed a steady diet of paranoia and emotional appeals to vague concepts like freedom and liberty, they appear uninterested in the details of governing, to which even the Republican Party's elite pay lip service, and unable to espouse a vision, however cramped, of collective interest. ... But it is hard to see how, in a nation still tilting toward the "have-not" column, the tea party approaches anything close to an enduring national political force."


The Squirrel Whisperer from the Washington Post

"Spring is the busiest time of the year for wildlife rehabilitator Lynn Anderson of Waldorf."

I brought a baby squirrel to one of these animal rehabilitators in CT.


Theodore Roosevelt, Empire Builder: A Review of Books from the New York Times

"These are books about men who wanted a war. Or at least the next best thing: a state of intimidation, fear, anxiety and excitement, which would produce the fruits of war, foremost among them order and peace."

New books on TR's foreign policy.