The morning sun shines over Inishowen in Ireland. From National Geographic.
UP-FRONT MICHELLE OBAMA VIDEO NUGGET!!
When You First Met Barack, Did You Think He Would Be President?
-- A Question to Michelle by an inner city girl at Oxford University
I've never heard Michelle share before what exactly she saw in Barack back when they first met. Here it is. Very inspiring! Some background: In case you missed it back in 2009, Michelle had this extraordinary session with inner city students at a girls' school in London. Here, when she visited London last week she invited many of those same girls to a talk and Q&A at Oxford. The WHOLE talk is quite inspiring and worth checking out!
'Scores Defect' from Gaddafi's Army from Al Jazeera English
"Eight high ranking officers and 120 military officials "abandon" armed forces amid growing pressure on Libyan leader."
Five Libyan Army Generals Defect from the Associated Press
"Eight top Libyan army officers, including five generals, who have defected from Moammar Gadhafi's regime appealed to their fellow officers Monday to join the revolt to hasten the end of Gadhafi's 40-year rule. ... One of the officers, Gen. Melud Massoud Halasa, estimated that Gadhafi's military forces are now "only 20 percent as effective" as what they were before the revolt broke out in mid-February, and that "not more than 10" generals remain loyal to Gadhafi."
Polish Jews Express Gratitude for President Obama's Visit from the Gazeta Wyborcza [of Poland in English]
"Despite being such an important and meaningful political figure, President Obama found time to stop for a moment and consider the lessons of history."
Mad as Hell: An Arab Spring ... in Europe? (Tony Dokoupil) from Newsweek
"The anger that fueled the Arab Spring is now boiling over in Europe. Could club-wielding protesters be in America’s future, too?
The Jet That Ate the Pentagon (Robert Haddick) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"The F-35 is cutting into the Defense Department's most important priorities."
Detroit’s Rebound Is Built on Smaller Cars from the New York Times
"After years of being outgunned by Japanese rivals, the American auto industry has made small cars a central part of its strategy, seeking to capitalize on a fundamental shift in the preferences of consumers in an era of fast-rising gas prices."
Vermont Passes Single-Payer Health Care, World Doesn't End from Mother Jones Magazine
"Advocates celebrate, but critics warn: A few details—like, er, funding—have yet to be worked out."
Did California Same-Sex Marriage Foes Undermine Their Own Case? (Bob Egelko) from the San Francisco Chronicle
"...as the sponsors of Proposition 8 try toconvince the courts that the judge who overturned the measure had a built-in bias as a gay man with a longtime partner, their opponents are invoking that same campaign message: If Prop. 8 was meant to preserve opposite-sex marriages, they argue, then any judge, gay or straight, would have the similar conflict of interest."
WOW! Now that is clever!
Two related education nuggets:
A Generation of Slackers? Not So Much from the New York Times
"Generation Y — or Millennials, the Facebook Generation or whatever you want to call today’s cohort of young people — has been accused of being the laziest generation ever. They feel entitled and are coddled, disrespectful, narcissistic and impatient, say authors of books like “The Dumbest Generation” and “Generation Me.” ... So is this the Laziest Generation? There are signs that its members benefit from lower standards. Technology has certainly made life easier. But there may also be a generation gap; the way young adults work is simply different."
Burnt Out on the High School Treadmill (Candy Schulman) from the Washington Post
"Rather than being inspired, they are given an inordinate amount of work, much of which is developmentally inappropriate. I once joked with an attorney that neither he, who writes persuasive depositions, nor I, a writing professor, could get higher than a B on our daughters’ English papers. How did our educational system turn into such a pressure cooker?"
How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory (Tim Dickinson) from Rolling Stone Magazine
"The onetime Nixon operative has created the most profitable propaganda machine in history. Inside America's Unfair and Imbalanced Network."
President Obama's Secret Weapon in Florida: Rick Scott from Politico
"Obama’s biggest asset in a critical swing state he won by a mere 2.8-percentage-point margin in 2008 might be Rick Scott, the wildly unpopular Republican governor Democrats are casting as Lex Luthor to Obama’s Clark Kent."
Right-Wing Fervor Drives Republicans into Suicide Pact (Jonathan Chait) from the Daily Beast
"It’s not unusual for a party to take risks to achieve its goals. But as Jonathan Chait notes, Republicans have voted for a budget that’s unpopular even with their own base."
The Right Aims at Texas (Peter Boyer) from Newsweek
"Behind the sudden conservative crush on Gov. Rick Perry—and why he’s got Bush on the brain."
The Upside of GOP Despair (Andrew Romano) from Newsweek
"Things look bleak for 2012, but Republicans have talent in the pipeline."
I think this is true -- and, of equal concern, I'm not at all sure if the Dems have much waiting in the wings for the post-Obama years. Aside from Hillary (who is getting on in years), who else do they have? There are those such as Kristen Gilibrand (Sen-NY) who potentially have potential -- but many of those who arose with Obama, to be frank, haven't panned out. These would include John Edwards, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Bill Richardson, just to name a few. I HOPE both next year and later that the Dems and Obama start promoting and/or encouraging a post-Obama generation so they will be ready by 2016.
Palin: Queen of Right-Wing Reaction (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"Liberals are tempted to rejoice in Palin’s candidacy. But as Michael Tomasky argues, we should all dread the effect of her torrent of lies and demagoguery on our politics."
I think Tomasky is right here. While I am captivated by the IDEA of a Palin run, I have a DEEPER desire for the GOP to actually become a real political party again, not just a traveling circus of extremist clowns. For the sake of responsible governance, in practical terms we need to have TWO sane political parties.
WAR DOG NUGGET!!
School Kids Bring Home Alice the Afghan Stray (Thomas Ricks) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"You come home and it's hot or cold or you are wet or tired and there is always somebody who is real happy to see you," Taylor said. "You're not going to get a hug and a kiss from a Marine when you come back from patrol, but there is always a little girl like this to come up and give you a lick, put her head on her lap and remind you there is something nice in the world too."
A television news story on this dog can be seen HERE.
ANOTHER DOG NUGGET!!
The New Science Of Understanding Dog Behavior (AUDIO) from NPR's Fresh Air program
"Animal behaviorist John Bradshaw says it's realizing that dogs are neither wolves nor furry humans and that dog owners have certain responsibilities to make sure their dogs are psychologically healthy."
FUEL ECONOMY CAR NUGGET!!
The Great Kilowatt vs. Gallon Face-Off from the New York Times
"WITH Memorial Day upon us, and with it a summer driving season marked by high prices at the gas pump, it seems a fitting time to look at the electric car. How do the fuel and environmental costs of running one compare with the costs of a conventional car, or even the electricity to run appliances in your home?"
WORLD WAR II NUGGET!!
Document Suggests Hitler Knew of Hess' British Flight Plans from Der Spiegel [of Germany in English]
"Was Rudolf Hess's infamous flight to Great Britain in 1941 coordinated with Adolf Hitler? Although historians have long believed that the Nazi Party's second-in-command was acting on his own, newly revealed statements by a senior Hess adjutant may suggest otherwise."
This episode has always mystified me (and many other historians). EVERYTHING I ever read about Hess indicated that, in the Nazi world of Hitler sycophants, no one was more of a sycophant than Hess. It seemed completely out of character for him to freelance this flight to the UK. Der Spiegel has been doing an excellent series reexamining World War II. Some other good recent installments can be found HERE and HERE.