Wednesday, March 14, 2012

News Nuggets 911

DAYLEE PICTURE: Spectacular aurora blazing over Antarctica from the International Space Station.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group from the New York Times 
"Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists. The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the litigation. ... Mr. Donohue said leading bishops he knew had resolved to fight back more aggressively against the group: “The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”"
This WHOLE article will leave you shaking your head about the basic direction and the basic values supposedly espoused by the Catholic Church. It demonstrates a breathtaking degree of cluelessness. 

Rebekah Brooks Among Six Arrested in Phone-Hacking Investigation from the Guardian [of the UK]
"Former Sun editor held by Operation Weeting detectives on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice."

Don’t Tread on Us (Maureen Dowd) from the New York Times
"For the Republican uncivil war on women, we’ll need a take-no-prisoners Democratic general."

Obama’s Sudden Polling Crash (Steve Kornacki) from Salon
"Is there an innocent explanation for two new surveys that show his approval rating falling to ominously low levels?"

Poll Shows Public Supports Obama on Gas Prices (Matthew Cooper) from the National Journal
"More Americans trust President Obama than congressional Republicans to make the right decisions to bring down the price of gasoline, according to a new poll, ... What’s more, as prices continue to rise and the specter of $5-per-gallon gas for the summer driving season looms over the political landscape, the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll shows the public slightly more supportive of the energy priorities of the Democrats and the president than those of the GOP."
It seems to me this poll puts pay to the baseless media narrative that had surrounded Obama's dip in the polls seen early this week.  It makes you wonder: on what basis were those earlier assessments made?!

'Game Change' Authors: Hillary Clinton in '16 (Tim Mak) from Politico 
"“Game Change” co-authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann both predicted Wednesday that there was a high probability that Hillary Clinton would run for president in 2016. “What are the odds this morning that Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016?” asked “Morning Joe” co-host Willie Geist. “99.4 [percent chance],” said Heilemann. “I think very high.”

How Republicans Screwed Themselves With Their Own Proportional-Delegate Trap (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"Republicans in Alabama and Mississippi reside in a universe where virtually all white voters vote Republican. And no, this isn't just an Obama thing—Obama only got 11 percent of the white vote in Mississsippi in 2008, but that was barely worse than the 14 percent John Kerry got four years earlier. Increasingly, being a Democrat in the Deep South—a Democrat when it comes to national politics—means being African-American. This means that political polarization in the Deep South is of a different sort than it is elsewhere."

The South Rises for Santorum (John Dickerson) from Slate
"Even as Romney wins more delegates, he appears weaker with every contest".

Romney Barely Hanging On After Alabama and Mississippi (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"After Romney’s third-place finish, Santorum has a serious shot—and Mitt’s campaign is taking on water."

Mitt Romney Primary Results: After Big Defeats He's Left Only With Math (Sam Stein) from the Huffington Post
"Mitt Romney has always pitched himself as a numbers guy. ... So it is fitting, in a way, that after two big losses in the latest Republican primaries on Tuesday night, the main pitch for Romney's campaign is now, basically, mathematical probability"

Not Closing the Deal (Erick Erickson) from Red State
"Yesterday, Mitt Romney went on CNN and told Wolf Blitzer that Rick Santorum’s campaign was coming to a “desperate end.” That seems more apt this morning to Romney’s southern campaign. Given his poor showing, it’s understandable if you expect Newt Gingrich to call on Romney to get out."

Gingrich Won’t Quit the Race, but He’ll Make Sure Romney Doesn’t Win (Patricia Murphy) from the Daily Beast
"Gingrich is insisting he won’t leave the GOP field after two second-place finishes in must-win Alabama and Mississippi, but he’s acknowledging his campaign’s real strategy: ensure Romney doesn’t get nominated."
This actually doesn't make sense to me.  If that was Gingrich's clear-eyed intention, he would drop out and endorse Santorum.  That alone would do the most damage to Romney's chances.  Something else (or in addition) is going on here.  Two possibilities: (1) he's actually working with the Romney campaign to keep the anti-Romney vote divided; or (2) he knows this is his last chance to ever be president and can't bring himself to put aside his "destiny" as a great Churchillian global figure.  Of course, the latter is the most likely -- but I don't rule out No. 1.

Is The South Too Republican For Republicans? (Alec MacGillis) from the New Republic
"In small towns, many voters said they had noticed a cultural disconnect between themselves and the three East Coast-based candidates vying to lead their party."

Romney’s Dixie Debacle in Mississippi and Alabama Primaries (Paul Begala) from the Daily Beast
"Let me be the first to call on Mitt Romney to get out of the race. By placing third in Alabama and Mississippi, losing to Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in both states, Romney has gone from inevitable to unelectable. Somebody strap him to the roof of one of his Cadillacs and drive him off to one of his many mansions."
Paul Begala's column today exemplifies a certain strain of commentary: his columns are routinely a type of partisan pipeline punditry.  While I usually share Begala's liberal leanings, I simply don't take what he says as any kind of reflection of what he actually thinks.  In my view, Begala (and others such as James Carville) use their big media bullhorns exclusively to promote Democrats, to promote a Democratic spin on any story, and (almost certainly) to generate partisan business for their personal consulting endeavors in Washington.  The GOP side is well-populated with this species of bell-weather, talking-points mouthpiece.  To be frank, those on the left also need to be called out for being the disingenuous, partisan media parasites that they are.

Interracial Marriage: Many Deep South Republicans Believe Interracial Marriage Should Be Illegal from the Huffington Post
"On Monday, polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) revealed that 29 percent of self-identified Republicans surveyed in Mississippi believe that interracial marriage should be illegal. Fifty-four percent said intermarriage should remain legal, and the rest responded that they weren't sure. The survey also found that 21 percent of self-identified Republicans polled in Alabama believe that interracial marriage should be illegal. Although the last U.S. anti-miscegenation laws were lifted more than four decades ago in 1967, many mixed-race couples in the Deep South are still struggling to feel safe and be accepted in their communities."

Sarah Palin’s Foolishness Ruined U.S. Politics (Richard Cohen) from the Washington Post
"At some point while watching HBO’s absolutely smashing (and terrifying) movie “Game Change,” it occurred to me that Sarah Palin has ruined America. The movie has been scalloped out of the book by the same name and focuses on Palin, rather than on the entire 2008 presidential campaign. The decision to do so was absolutely correct. With her selection as John McCain’s running mate, American politics lost its way — and maybe its mind as well."

SCIENCE NUGGET [of a sort]!!
Woolly Mammoth Cloned: Russian And South Korean Scientists Sign Deal To Bring Extinct Beast Back To Life from the Huffington Post
"Russian and South Korea scientists have teamed up to recreate a woolly mammoth – a prehistoric creature that last walked the earth some 4,500 years ago. ... The team aim to get to work on thawed remains of the extinct mammal recovered after global warming thawed Siberia’s permafrost. The mammoth’s tissues are to be cloned by using eggs taken from a modern Indian elephant, the Korea Herald reported."

When Gen. Grant Expelled the Jews (Jonathan D. Sarna) from Slate
"How a notorious anti-Semitic order changed the course of Jewish life in America—ultimately, for the better."

With This Machine, You Can Print Your Own Books at the Local Bookstore (Peter Osnos) from the Atlantic
"The Espresso Book Machine means that booksellers can publish and sell an enormous number of titles. But can they make the finances work?"

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