Saturday, July 31, 2010

News Nuggets 411

We missed the pet photos for Friday -- so here they are.  From Americablog as usual.

"The economic specter stalking Barack Obama is not the nonsense debate that captivates deficit hawks and witless political reporters. It is the threat of a full-blown monetary deflation that would truly put the US economy in ruin. In a general deflation, everything falls—prices, output, wages, profits. Unchecked, this can lead to another Big D—the Depression Obama claims he has avoided."
Many economists are sounding this alarm.

Don't Panic About the Economy (Daniel Gross) from Slate
"The GDP report for the second quarter has prompted much concern about the tepid 2.4 percent growth rate, but there are three other aspects of the report worth noting."

Journalism's Age of Shame (Eric Alterman) from the Nation
"The black political art of "working the refs" with constant and vociferous complaints of "liberal bias" in the media has a long and distinguished history. Few of its practitioners, however, have succeeded so frequently—and nakedly—as the ex-Drudge drudge and Arianna acolyte Andrew Breitbart."

"Even though the ADL statement has been widely, widely condemned as illogical and ill-advised, the Times adopts the stop-the-mosque viewpoint and announces the ADL's move "could" change the whole debate over the proposed community center. (Then again, it "could" not.)  But the Times provides no supporting evidence."
These kinds of "news" is the easiest and most misleading types of stories the MSM indulges in.  There is nothing to fact check.  Easy.  No accountability.  Perfect for the modern age of 24-hour news.

A Teahouse Divided (Clarence Page) from the Chicago Tribune
"Leaders of the tea party movement reacted angrily to the NAACP's call for the movement to purge "racist elements" from its ranks. Then a few days later one of the movement's biggest organizations did precisely what the NAACP advised. Lesson: It's easier to appreciate an idea after you've decided it was your idea in the first place."

Now we must get reacquainted all over again. ... This edition will be nothing like the previously published versions cobbled together by the author’s editors and executors after he died. Instead, for the first time, it will be the autobiography he wanted—a disorganized, almost stream-of-consciousness set of recollections unlike any memoir ever seen, but pure, uncut Twain from start to finish.

The Age of Cleopatra (Audio) from NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook
"She was Egypt’s last Pharaoh. The Romans courted and smeared her.  Shakespeare made magic with her suicide. Hollywood made her Elizabeth Taylor.  Now, a big new exhibit of artifacts pulled from sunken cities makes her live again, with new clarity and force. "

"Just 9 cars (down from 136) remain in the competition, which aims to "inspire a new generation of super fuel efficient vehicles." The cars, which go through a grueling series of tests and technical inspections to determine their road-worthiness, must be able to handle real-world scenarios."

China 2013 from Foreign Policy Magazine
"A controversial novel marks the return of politically charged science fiction in China -- and evokes a decidedly mixed vision of the country's future."

Friday, July 30, 2010

News Nuggets 410

A Marsh Arab village in Southern Iraq.  From Der Spiegel.

Iranian Re-Revolution (Michael Singh) from Foreign Affairs
"The history of political turmoil in twentieth-century Iran suggests that the movement may yet survive. After all, movements propelled by similar social currents have succeeded in dramatically changing Iran in the past."

United States, Iran to Restart Iran Talks (Robert Dreyfuss) from the Nation
"Talks on Iran's nuclear program will resume in September, and despite the war bluster from neocons and the far right, the Obama administration seems prepared to try once again."

Moscow's Foreign Policies (Nikolas Gvosdev) from the National Interest
"Russia's foreign policy isn't schizophrenic, especially when it comes to Iran."

Look Who Thinks America is Cool Again (Stephen Sastanovich) from the New Republic
"All the same, it’s worth paying close attention to what Medvedev is saying, because he is defying the conventions of Russian politics. For twenty years, wanting to be like the West has been a guarantee of utter electoral irrelevance. Once you were tarred with the Western-groupie brush, you didn’t recover."

"For residents of Rome, the sight of courting priests is hardly an anomaly. But a recent exposé is rocking the Catholic Church."

A Turning Point for Democrats? (Charlie Cook) from National Journal
"It's too early to say for sure, but it's possible that the Republican Wave has subsided."

"Following Tea Party-backed candidate Sharron Angle's come-from-nowhere win in Nevada's Republican primary, the conservative hopeful has found herself trekking along a rocky road in her quest to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid."

"Florida Gov. Charlie Crist leads the three-way race for the U.S. Senate seat with 37 percent, followed by 32 percent for Republican Marco Rubio and 17 percent for Jeff Greene, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today."

Ten Congressmen Who Should Be Fired (John Avalon) from the Daily Beast
"They tried to build a Bridge to Nowhere, fretted about "killing Grandma," and stiffed the IRS. John Avlon presents a rogue's gallery of House members who should be bounced come November, from Joe Wilson to Alan Grayson."

The Tea Party Paradox (Jonathan Rauch) from the National Journal
"The country has indeed moved to the right in the past few years. Yet it's not clear whether this is happening in a way that helps Republicans."

"Tea partiers and other anti-Islam activists are freaking out about a Muslim Family Day [4] planned for several Six Flags parks around the country on Sept. 12, the day after the World Trade Center attacks."
Very odd story.  Mother Jones has a related item on the Tea Party HERE.

"When dive teams drill through the frozen surface of the White Sea off the north-west coast of Russia, they are greeted by grinning belugas.  Under the water two belugas lead a diver by delicately taking his hands in their mouths and pulling him through the icy darkness."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

News Nuggets 409

A scene from the Darfur region of Sudan.

In American Politics, Stupidity is the Name of the Game (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post
"Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid?"

Nuking the Messenger (Jacob Heilbrunn) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"My critics contend that I couldn't have got it more wrong: intellectual ferment is alive and well in the Grand Old Party.  The very unanimity of my reviewers' attacks, however, underscores my original point."

Hillary Clinton Changes America's China Policy (Gordon Chang) from Forbes Magazine
"China has claimed virtually all that body of water as its own. By doing so, Beijing has said it has sovereignty over the continental shelves of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam."

Time is Running Out for Palestine (Editorial) from the Daily Star [of Lebanon in English]
"The time has come for Palestinians to also see eye to eye about another predicament, which has been infinitely more damaging: that by remaining divided, they are stuck with a losing strategy."

Why Turkey Still Gets a Cold Shoulder from the EU (Leo Cendrowicz) from Time Magazine
"Turks grumble about the delays, many suspecting that the E.U. has been dangling false promises over the years. This week, however, their frustrations found an echo from within the E.U. itself."

"Opposition to the landmark health care overhaul declined over the past month, to 35 percent from 41 percent, according to the latest results of a tracking poll, reported Thursday. Fifty percent of the public held a favorable view of the law, up slightly from 48 percent a month ago, while 14 percent expressed no opinion about the measure, according to the poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation."

Health Insurance Reform and the Mid-Terms (Andrew Sullivan) from the Atlantic
"Need more proof Republicans are out of the mainstream? Polls on health care reform show how the GOP is splitting away from the rest of the country."

Peter Orzag's Last Words: Obama's Budget Chief Exits (Dayo Olopade) from the Daily Beast
"As Obama’s budget chief heads for the exits, he spoke to Dayo Olopade about why a bigger stimulus was politically impossible—and the administration’s plans for the Bush tax cuts."

The Stupidity of Liberal Apathy (Jonathan Cohn) from the Nation
"The left has to show some enthusiasm, if not locally then at least nationally. ... Otherwise office-holders, even ones from relatively liberal districts, won't have much incentive to vote liberal next time around."

"Good party messages are organic, and they are not announced. Fortunately for Democrats, theirs just sort of came along, thanks to the Tea Party movement, which has invited into politics hecklers and cranks and fairly fringe candidates who are currently hurting the Republican Party in several key states."

"Newsweek's Jerry Adler has paged through some "387 enumerated planks" of the Republican Party of Iowa's platform and, among the instances of "North American Union" paranoia and the upholding of manure as the only agricultural poop inveighed by its creator with American exceptionalism, is a bizarre plan to strip President Barack Obama of his citizenship for accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. What the what?"

"Though it's not exactly clear what she'll be suing him for, commentators are mulling over defamation law trying to predict the likely outcome."
Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic has more thoughts HERE.

Review: Obama on 'The View' (Michelle Cottle) from the Nation
"Say this for the president: He knows how to charm the ladies. Obama’s sit down on “The View” this morning seemed to go about as smoothly as one could hope."

HMS Investigator, Ship Lost for More Than 150 Years, Recovered in Canada from the Associated Press via the Huffington Post
"Canadian archeologists have found a ship abandoned more than 150 years ago in the quest for the fabled Northwest Passage and which was lost in the search for the doomed expedition of Sir John Franklin, the head of the team said Wednesday."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

News Nuggets 408

A 3-D image of Warsaw, Poland, in 1945.  See the WWII History/Photography Nugget below.

"A federal judge, ruling on a clash between the federal government and a state over immigration policy, has blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law from going into effect."

The Mole Who Gave Away Russia's Spies from the Moscow Times [in English]
"Nina Khrushcheva, professor of international affairs at The New School in New York, was the academic supervisor of Richard Murphy — one of the spies whose real name is Vladimir Guryev. She wrote in Foreign Policy magazine about how she did a double-take when she met this supposedly Irish-American student with a strong Russian accent. Plus, he had that insolent, downtrodden demeanor that screams, “I was raised in Russia!”"

How to Rebuild Neoconservatism: Palestine (Andrew Sullivan) from the Atlantic
"One of the more appealing aspects of neoconservatism in the wake of 9/11 was its belief - utopian in retrospect, idealist at the time - that the only way past the pathologies of Jihadism was some kind of model Arab democracy that could pave the way for others to follow, thereby draining the Arab desert of the autocracy that breeds terror. "

Security is at Root of GOP Divide (Editorial) from Politico
"The recent intraparty battering of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele — after his comments that characterized Afghanistan as virtually hopeless and called it “a war of Obama’s choosing” — was really only a sideshow to this bigger story. The last time Republicans were so sharply at odds was the party’s debate with its isolationist wing before World War II. "

"Like a mantra, officials from both the Bush and Obama administrations have trumpeted how the government’s sweeping interventions to prop up the economy since 2008 helped avert a second Depression.  Now, two leading economists wielding complex quantitative models say that assertion can be empirically proved."

"Oil is spewing from a damaged well north of a bay where officials have been fighting the spill from the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard says a tow boat called Pere Ana C. hit the wellhead near Mud Lake early Tuesday. No injuries were reported."

A Mosque Maligned (Robert Wright) from the New York Times
"I'd have thought that opinion leaders of all ideological stripes could reach consensus by applying a basic rule of thumb: Just ask, "What would Osama bin Laden want?" and then do the opposite. Bin Laden would love to be able to say that in America you can build a church or synagogue anywhere you want, but not a mosque."

The Age of Rage (Harris & Vandehei) from Politico
"Here’s the optimistic case: The embarrassment of the Shirley Sherrod story — with its toxic convergence of partisan combat and media recklessness — will be a tipping point. It will remind journalists and politicians alike that personal reputations and professional credibility are at stake, and a bit more restraint and responsibility are in order. Here’s the realistic case: Get ready for more of the same. "

"No, it’s not about slavery; like so much of our politics these days, it’s about Barack Obama."

"We've been through this debate a few times before, but some liberal pundits are reiterating their case for Democrats to end the filibuster, a crusade for which they perceive increased Senatorial support. Here's what they're saying."
Ain't happenin'

"Proponents of filibuster reform moved swiftly on Wednesday to stem speculation that their effort to revamp the rules of the Senate lacks the requisite number of Democratic votes for passage."

Friday's Quiz: the Eminent Historians (Michael Tomasky) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"I have read me some history, as I suspect all of you have, and so today we visit the subject of great works of history. There are of course so many to choose from. In fact there are so many that today's quiz has 12 questions. Eight concern Americans and four Brits. Thinking caps on? Let's do it."

"This may well prove to be another in an ever-expanding series of races where voters are not sold on the Democratic incumbent, but grudgingly stick with them because the Republican nominee fails to be seen as a legitimate alternative. "
New Hampshire is NOT Palin country!

NH-Sen: NH Looking More Competitive from Public Policy Polling
"Kelly Ayotte's seen her appeal to moderate voters crumble in the wake of her endorsement by Sarah Palin and her lead over Paul Hodes has shrunk to its lowest level of any public polling in 2010- she has a 45-42 advantage over him, down from 47-40 in an April PPP poll."

Adventures in Very Recent Evolution from the New York Times
"In the last few years, biologists peering into the human genome have found evidence of recent natural selection."

The Ten Happiest Places in the World (Photos) from the Huffington Post
"Whether it's gorgeous beaches and natural scenery or spotless cities influenced by various cultural and ethnic backgrounds, this list covers the interests of every mirth-seeking traveler. So if happiness is what you seek, take a look through these magnificent locations and see what they have to offer."

"The plane slowly descends from white clouds and sweeps over a panorama of a city destroyed by the Nazis: the skeletons of bombed bridges jutting from a quiet river, the empty walls of burned-out houses, the Jewish ghetto totally flattened.  It is Warsaw in the spring of 1945, just after World War II."

What's Wrong With the American University System (Jennifer Rothenberg Gritz) from the Atlantic
A review of the provocative book, Higher Education?, an attack on our current system of colleges and universities.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

News Nuggets 407

Cows grazing among the lavender.

US Reasserts its Presence in Asia (Editorial) from the Globe and Mail [of Toronto, Canada]
"Not only is Washington taking part in military drills off eastern China, it’s also pushing the envelope in the South China Sea."

Mitt Romney's Dangerous Game (Daniel Larison) from The Week
GOP hawks are taking a reckless stance in opposing the START nuclear treaty. Has a willingness to endanger the country for partisan advantage become the Republicans' new litmus test?

The Seditious Ahmadinejad? (Editorial) from The Diplomat
"Ultra conservative criticism of Ahmadinejad is growing and Khamenei’s fatwa looks desperate. Will regime in-fighting boil over?"

Afghanistan's Naysayers (Jacob Heilbrunn) from the National Interest
"Obama, in other words, has been careful not to pin himself down. Obama has left himself some political wiggle room by refusing to define what victory would actually look like in Afghanistan, or even to use the term. There’s no illusion of American omnipotence in Obama’s statements about the war."

"Many church principles simply don't reflect the views of young Americans. A recent study discovered that young people are more accepting of homosexuality: 63 percent of young adults believe that homosexuality should be accepted within society, versus 50 percent of adults in general. In most churches, discussing homosexuality is a taboo."

The Church in 2010 and France in 1940 (Eugene Cullen Kennedy) from the National Catholic Reporter
"This parallels the activity that alternately astounds and enrages Catholics who understand what their bishop/generals do not -- that the hierarchical structures of the church are buckling under the lightning strikes of modern times."

Despite Tough Climate, Public Prefers Obama's Policies (Jason Dick) from the Pew Research Center
"Despite a tough year for President Obama, the public believes his administration's policies offer a better chance at improving the economy over the policies of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush."

The Right and the Climate (Ross Douthat) from the New York Times
"Most of all, they’ve blamed conservatives — for pressuring Republican lawmakers to abandon legislation they once supported, and for closing ranks against any attempt to tax and regulate our way to a lower-carbon economy. Cap-and-trade’s backers are correct to point the finger rightward. If their bill is dead, it was the American conservative movement that ultimately killed it."

There's a Battle Outside and It is Still Ragin' (Frank Rich) from the New York Times
"We reached a new low last week. What does it say about America now, and where it is heading, that a racial provocateur, wielding a deceptively edited video, could not only smear an innocent woman but make every national institution that touched the story look bad? The White House, the N.A.A.C.P. and the news media were all soiled by this episode."
Rich is spot-on here.

"It's the story that has been told to white middle and working class voters by the right since the Reagan administration in order to explain their dwindling paychecks and prospects: Racism is over; it is minorities who now have too much power; they are stealing your jobs, your future."

When the Facts Get In the Way (Jon Meacham) from Newsweek
"The seasonal issue is one particular to the age of Obama, if universal to American politics: the underlying role that white prejudice against blacks plays in our national life. The Sherrod video was posted in order to execute a bit of sulfurous jujitsu. See, the right wing was saying, they really are after us."

Enough Right-Wing Propaganda (E.j. Dionne) from the Washington Post
"The smearing of Shirley Sherrod ought to be a turning point in American politics. This is not, as the now-trivialized phrase has it, a "teachable moment." It is a time for action."

"By the conference's close Saturday, liberals had swallowed a dose of reality from the Democratic Party's top officials. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) arrived Saturday with a blunt appeal: The gates to a progressive agenda have opened under Democratic control, she said, and they will close if Republicans seize power."

"Momentum is building to reform Senate rules that allow silent filibusters and force a 60-vote requirement for virtually any action, interviews with Democratic candidates and sitting senators indicate."

"In five years, the annual convention of progressive bloggers known as Netroots Nation has grown to become one of the premier events on the Democratic calendar. "

"Noting that he has long been forecasting that the Republicans are close to bouncing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Cook evaluated the case made by Democratic strategists who insist that their party has a good shot at retaining the House. And it's not a bad argument."

"Liberal Democrats battling the party hierarchy have met with limited success this primary season.  Thus far their record is more of high expectations and at least one really close call than of actual success."

NV-Sen: Republicans Fret as Angle Slips from Congressional Quarterly
"Republicans are growing increasingly frustrated with Sharron Angle and her lackluster campaign to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), fearing she is jeopardizing what they had long viewed as a sure pickup and costing them a chance to reclaim the majority."

The nuggetsman gets a letter to the editor published in USA Today(I hadn't originally intended to letter for publication -- I simply sent this brief note to compliment the editor for their TARP letter).  It's below the Mel Gibson nonsense.

Blood on the Track from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Photos from the dangerous journey to El Norte."

Monday, July 19, 2010

News Nuggets 406

A sea nettle off San Carlos Beach in California.  From National Geographic.

The nuggetsman will be on vacation until July 26th.

The Pundit Delusion (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"He’s too liberal for a center-right nation. No, he’s too intellectual, too Mr. Spock, for voters who want more passion. And so on.  But the only real puzzle here is the persistence of the pundit delusion, the belief that the stuff of daily political reporting — who won the news cycle, who had the snappiest comeback — actually matters"

The Failed-State Conundrum (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"When Condoleezza Rice was secretary of state, she used to call failed states the worst threat to American security, as did a host of scholars, U.N. officials and pundits. ... The trouble with trying to fix failed states is that it implicates the United States in a vast nation-building effort in countries where the odds of success are low and the risk of unintended consequences is very high."

Unlikely Tutor Giving Military Afghan Advice from the Sunday New York Times Magazine
"Mr. Mortenson — who for a time lived out of his car in Berkeley, Calif. — has also spoken at dozens of military bases, seen his book go on required reading lists for senior American military commanders and had lunch with Gen. David H. Petraeus, General McChrystal’s replacement."
Those of you who have read "Three Cups of Tea" will be familiar with Greg Mortenson's amazing work.

"The "center" is said to be the most comfortable place in American politics. But this assumes that the center is stable, that most people on either end of the philosophical continuum give would-be centrist politicians the benefit of the doubt and that voters actually care whether someone is "centrist." Not one of these assumptions works."
Michael Tomasky of the Guardian has related analysis HERE.

Health Reform Moves Ahead from the Editorial Board of the New York Times
"Less than four months after Congress approved historic health care reform legislation, the Obama administration has been making good progress in bringing some early benefits to fruition and issuing rules to guide the reform process. Despite all of the critics’ hype and scare tactics, some polls suggest that the public perception of reform is slowly improving."

Tactical Radicalism and the End of the GOP Establishment (Jonathan Chait) from the New Republic
"Yet it seems perfectly clear that the effect of these challenges has been a disaster from the conservative perspective.  You don't have to love Sue Lowden to understand that a 90% chance of Lowden winning is better than a 20% chance of Sharron Angle winning. Nor is there any recognition on the right that conservatives paved the way for health care reform by driving Specter out. In conservative lore, the Pat Toomey primary challenge remains a glorious triumph, when in fact it's a disaster of historic proportions."
Ed Kilgore at the Democratic Strategist has some further commentary on this HERE.

Has the GOP Hit a Wall? (Joshua Green) from the Atlantic
"One reason for my reluctance to fully embrace the Armageddon-for-Democrats scenario has to do with the rhythms of how the media cover the two parties, and how I expected them, at some point, to change. When a single party holds power, that party appropriately tends to be the focus of attention. But when the possibility that the other party might take over becomes read--and we're certainly at that point--the attention starts to shift."

GOP Candidates Stiff Mainstream Press (Howard Kurtz) from the Washington Post
"Some of the most conservative and combative Republicans running for Congress are convinced that the media have it in for them. But these candidates seem to regard it as an affront when reporters challenge them on their past statements and inconsistencies, which is a basic function of journalism. They are avoiding or limiting interviews with all but the friendliest faces as a way of circumventing the press."
As predicted here at the nuggets page some months ago.

"Such is the state of the media business these days: frantic and fatigued. Young journalists who once dreamed of trotting the globe in pursuit of a story are instead shackled to their computers, where they try to eke out a fresh thought or be first to report even the smallest nugget of news — anything that will impress Google algorithms and draw readers their way."

"The growing belief that Republicans could win control of the House has set off a frenzy of behind-the-scenes jockeying for top leadership jobs — and created new tensions for those currently holding them. "

"Two of the tea party movement’s largest organizations are at odds Monday after a fight over a resolution approved by the NAACP calling their tactics “racist.”  On Sunday, the Tea Party Federation, an umbrella organization, expelled the Tea Party Express over the actions of one of its leaders, Mark Williams. "

WV-Sen: Special Election for Byrd Seat in Doubt from the Charleston Gazette [of WV]
"Time is running out for legislation that would set a fall vote for the seat held by the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd after it sat idle Sunday."
More analysis is HERE from Politico.

Mel Gibson and the Christianist Right (Andrew Sullivan) from the Atlantic
"What we see in this dialogue is deeply revealing, it seems to me, about Gibson's mindset and the fundamentalist psyche that is undergirding politics and culture the world over."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

News Nuggets 405

Crows are such being taught such skills as garbage collection. Future plans for crow training include sniffing out valuable metals from waste.  See the Helpful Animals Nugget below.  From Huffington Post.

Iran Closes Shop from Newsweek
"It was the merchants and shopkeepers who funded Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s triumphant return from exile. Now the bazaaris are convinced that Ahmadinejad and his pals in the Revolutionary Guard Corps want to take over their business."
A small news item that may portend big upheavals in Iran.

The Man Who Betrayed Iran to the CIA from the National [of the UAE]
"Reza Kahlili, a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who spied for the US, says ultimately Shahram Amiri, the nuclear scientist who has returned to Iran amid claims he was kidnapped, will be killed."
Wow.  Wheels within wheels.  This story is too convoluted for me. Further comments on this topic are HERE from Mark Hosenball at Newsweek and HERE from David Sanger at the New York Times.

"Following are the costs to U.S. taxpayers so far, as well as some of the future funding needed."

More Glimmers of Good News from the New York Times
"Yes, the cap seemed to have at least temporarily helped. Still, times are dreary — in the economy, in the national mood, overseas. Isn’t anything positive happening? We tried hard to find better news out there."

What the Oil Cap Means for Obama (Chris Good) from the Atlantic
"So while the president was, as we could expect him to be, less than effusive when he announced the good news this morning, BP's successful containment is a major event that will likely help his presidency: his biggest shortcoming, in terms of public opinion, has just been capped."
I suspect Good is right here -- and we'll see.

"The deepest damage of the spill may be the loss of confidence in institutions, like the federal government and a multinational oil company that held itself up as a beacon of environmental sensitivity."
Sadly, there may be some truth to this pessimistic perspective.

"A sizable percentage of the Tea Party types were born into a segregated America, many of them in the South or in the new working-class suburbs of the North, and lived through the marches and riots that punctuated the cultural and political upheaval of the 1960s."
Our on-the-money pundit for today!

"Republican leaders tried to scare the public by claiming that the bill will hurt the economy. Boehner called it a “bad bill” and “ill-conceived.” The following day, he proposed a yearlong moratorium on new federal regulation, saying it would send “a wonderful signal to the private sector that they are going to have some breathing room.”  Republican leaders just don’t get it."

"As Hillary Clinton heads to Kabul for an international conference on security, a civil war has erupted in the Republican Party over Afghanistan."
Michael Hirsh discusses similar issues HERE at Newsweek

The Vatican's Woman Crisis (Michelle Goldberg) from the Daily Beast
"Rome's scrambling to undo damage from changes to church law that lumped ordination of women priests with child sex abuse. Michelle Goldberg on the church's other shameful legacy"

"As he faces a smashmouth Republican primary challenge in the shape of former congressman and radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth, McCain seems to be reliving his 2008 campaign experience – competing with a younger, more charismatic opponent whom he transparently does not like."

Republican Voodoo Put Us on this Path (Froma Harrop) from RealClearPolitics
"While the country is on a bad path, Republican voodoo is what put us on it. Surely, many voters agree with me. That's why these predictions of a Democratic rout in November seem so overwrought. Sure, Democrats will lose seats -- but do the voters want a return to the crazy years?"

How Can Obama Rebound? from the New York Times
"So what does Mr. Obama need to do to shore up his base, woo back independent voters and win a second term? The Op-Ed editors asked political experts to suggest a few plans of attack."

"Whether it's because they feel liberated (or because, as some tea partiers have suggested, maybe they are liberals at heart), here's TPM's roundup of the Top Five Republicans who have spoken ill of the movement in recent weeks."

"Republican lawmakers see plenty of good in the tea party, but they also see reasons to worry. The movement, which has ignited passion among conservative voters and pushed big government to the forefront of the 2010 election debate, has also stirred quite a bit of controversy."

The Good News About Mel Gibson (Frank Rich) from the New York Times
Does anyone remember 2004? It seems a civilization ago. That less-than-vintage year was in retrospect the nadir of the American war over “values.”

White House Wanderers Tour Acadia from the Morning Sentinel [of Maine]
"Within 40 minutes of arriving on the island, even before making a stop at their hotel -- the Bar Harbor Regency on Route 3 -- the first family went bicycling for more than an hour around Witch Hole Pond in Acadia National Park."

Animals Trained to Have Amazing Skills (PHOTOS) from Huffington Post
"Animals can do some pretty neat things. We found that all across the globe amazing animals have been trained to aid society."

"Buffs gather from around the world to watch newly uncovered films by the likes of Orson Welles, Henri Cartier-Bresson and others."

"A New Zealand biotech company has developed technology that allows a paralyzed man to walk again."