Friday, March 16, 2012

News Nuggets 913

DAYLEE PICTURE: Hot springs in the Afar depression in East Africa.  From National Geographic. 

Obama Campaign Releases Full 17-Minute, First-Term Documentary from the Huffington Post
VERY inspiring!! Check it out!!

Subtle Signs Obama Diplomacy May Work on Iran (Barbara Slavin) from Al-Monitor
"After months of increasingly ominous war talk by the United States, Israel and Iran, there are intriguing signs of potential diplomatic progress over Iran’s nuclear program. A series of events – both internal and external – have improved the odds for fruitful negotiations when the United States and its U.N. Security Council partners plus Germany – the so-called P5+1 -- sit down with Iran sometime next month after the Iranian New Year."

The Goldilocks Principle (Aaron David Miller) from Foreign Policy Magazine 
"No one's perfect, and surely not President Obama. But in the rough and tumble world of foreign policy, it's hard to argue he hasn't done most things just about right."

Brace for China's Impending Crash (Gwynne Dyer) from the Japan Times [in English]
"China avoided that recession by flooding its economy with cheap credit — but that credit has mainly gone into financing the biggest property and infrastructure-building boom of all time. Such booms always end in a crash, but this time, we are told, will be different. ... "

Poll: Americans Favor Diplomacy Over Israeli Attack On Iran from Talking Points Memo
"As tensions rise over Iran’s nuclear program, a majority of Americans want Israel and the U.S. to pursue diplomacy over military action."

In Chicago, Meet the New Boss (Jonathan Alter) from the Atlantic
"I WAS WALKING AROUND my sister’s Near North neighborhood in Chicago recently and came upon a small patch of green called Bauler Park. Paddy Bauler was the rollicking tavern owner and 43rd Ward alderman who in 1955 famously shouted, upon hearing of the election of Richard J. Daley as mayor: “Chicago ain’t ready for reform!” More than half a century later, the man who not long ago represented Bauler’s neighborhood in Congress insists that Chicago is finally ready."

Labor's Lost Love for Obama Returns from Politico
"After three years of spats, President Barack Obama and the unions have embraced each other again. The AFL-CIO became the latest major union to support Obama’s reelection when it endorsed him this week, and the president’s rousing speech at a United Auto Workers assembly last month was punctuated with chants of “four more years!”"
This is good.  It's going to be an "all-hands-on-deck" kind of election if Obama is going to win.

That Big Obama Poll Drop? It Never Happened (Jonathan Bernstein) from the Washington Post
Remember that big drop in approval numbers Barack Obama suffered over the weekend? You’re remembering a phantom. The poll that got all the chatter going about Obama’s alleged drop was published on Monday by the New York Times. It found Obama’s approval rating at 41 percent, in polling taken from March 7-11. But we now have two new polls, one from Pew and the other from Reuters, that have Obama at 50 percent. So what’s going on?"

Taking Polls with a Grain of Salt (Steve Benen) from the Maddow Blog at MSNBC
"Both, however, were asking the same question: what happened to cause such a decline? The answer, in all likelihood, is nothing."

Obama-mentum (Charles Blow) from the New York Times
"What should really give Republicans sleepless nights (if the numbers hold) is the demographic groups currently supporting Obama. In the Pew poll, Obama outperforms Romney by 20 points among all women, and by 31 points among women aged 19-49.  He outperforms Romney by 28 points among young people 18-29 years old and ties him among people 65 and older. And he outperforms Romney in every region of the country and among every income group."

VP Choice Speculation Swirls Around Potential 2012 Republican Picks (PHOTOS) from the Huffington Post
"There are still more than five months to go until the GOP formally nominates a candidate at the Republican National Convention. Although Mitt Romney has the lead in delegates, the contest is far from over. But not having a nominee hasn't stopped speculation from running wild about which name will end up on the bottom half of the ticket."

On Mitt’s Months of Misery in the Primaries to Come (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"Romney used to be thought of as a formidable candidate. But now he's a punch-line and a punching bag. And that isn't going to change any time soon."

Mitt Romney Campaign Starting To Show Financial Strain from the Huffington Post
"The long and increasingly messy Republican presidential contest is starting to hit Mitt Romney where it hurts most: his wallet."

Has Mitt Romney Run a Lousy Campaign? (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic 
"The Republican presidential candidate is winning in the ugliest way imaginable. Is it all his fault, or has his team made a series of avoidable mistakes?"

Santorum Wins in the South, and Romney Gets Into Trouble Again (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"My 8-year-old daughter caught a glimpse of Mitt Romney on television this afternoon. “Mitt Romney is hilarious!” she exclaimed. I asked her why she thinks that. “Because,” she replied, “he always gets himself into trouble!”"
There is this equally hilarious addition to the story:
"And speaking of a failure to communicate, the Republican war on TelePrompTers has poetically backfired. It began as a quasi-racist meme among the fever swamps of the right, a way for right-wingers to express their belief that Obama is a brainless talking doll. By catering to it, Republicans backed themselves into a position where they can’t use TelePrompTers at all. The result is a series of rambling election night speeches that manage to be at once frightening and dull. The speeches, like the race, just go on and on and on."
Americablog has further commentary on this teleprompter issue HERE. As I have said before, the whole teleprompter kerfufal is dumb on so many levels.  These days, when a politician is in public ANYTIME and ANYWHERE, the mic is always "hot".  Someone is always watching and recording.  And given how desperate Obama's enemies are to misconstrue anything he says, he would be NUTS not to work off a teleprompter -- just as all his predecessors in the Oval Office did going back to Reagan.  I am certain George W. Bush's presidency would have induced fewer laughs and less embarrassment if he had avoided speaking "off the cuff" entirely.  Obama is much more facile than Bush in this regard.  Indeed, I have found both Barack and Michelle to be astonishing to the extent that they have gone years (no exaggeration) without making any serious verbal miscues while they are out just talking to voters. On the flip side, I find it an amazing gift to Democrats that Romney et al., now find themselves having to avoid this technology, greatly heightening their propensity for verbal blunders and bad speeches.  Incredible.

The World According to Santorum (Stephen Dworkin) from E! The Environmental Magazine
"GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is perhaps the best example of how far the right wing has fled from scientific reality."

Rick Santorum’s Ugly Appeal to Rural Voters (Joel Kotkin)  from the Daily Beast
Santorum’s campaign of complaint plays into the worst stereotypes of rural life, while overlooking the brighter future already emerging in much of the hinterland. ... Santorum has become the candidate of rural and inertia, representing the isolated, aging, often modestly educated and overwhelming white residents nostalgic for a fading past."

Rick ‘Ahmadinejad’ Santorum (Patrik Etschmayer) from The News [of Switzerland in English]
“Rick Santorum combines the worst of what Republicanism and Catholicism bring together in the public square without provoking his own immediate arrest. … Should Santorum fail at the end - and it certainly looks like he will - he should consider converting from Roman Catholicism to Shiite Islam, in order to enter Iranian politics. He would feel right at home in a country where gays are hanged and liberals are tortured, and he'd also be able to leave behind the separation of church and state, which just makes him sick to his stomach.”

On Sandra Fluke -- what she can expect for opening her mouth on contraception:
"Sandra Fluke’s Boyfriend, Adam “Cutie Pants” Mutterperl, And His Radical Socialist Family from The Graph
"Recently, it was reported that Sandra Fluke is connected to none other than 1%’er, William (Bill) Mutterperl, through her boyfriend. However, it wasn’t reported who her boyfriend is. Everyone, meet Sandra’s boyfriend, wannabe producer, and amateur stand-up comic, Adam “Cutie Pants”
Mutterperl, in this video audition he submitted to a “reality” show..."
It gets worse.  The anti-Jewish undertones to this piece are unmistakable.  Moreover, I don't get that Sandra's boyfriend is any more a "public figure" than she is.  I'm wondering if there is not some more flirtation with libel here.

Republican Rift Opens Over Newt Gingrich's Future from Politico
"On Wednesday, prominent conservatives raised the volume of their calls to unite around a single conservative candidate in the primary race."

Why Newt Gingrich is Staying in the Race: 4 Theories from The Week 
"According to the pundits and number crunchers, Gingrich has no viable path to the GOP nomination. So why is he sticking around?"

They’re the Top: A Review of Music Makes Me: Fred Astaire and Jazz by Todd Decker and The Astaires: Fred and Adele by Kathleen Riley (Arlene Croce) from the New York Review of Books
"Now that The Artist has whetted our interest in the silent film and the revolutionary impact of sound, it may be time to reconsider the career of the man who made the conversion to sound the basis of a whole new kind of movie, Fred Astaire."

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