Sunday, March 18, 2012

News Nuggets 915

DAYLEE PICTURE: Peatland in Australia. From National Geographic.
1.  The Iceman Leadeth: The Cool Diplomacy of Barack Obama (David Rothkopf) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"... the president has done what many wise leaders do and surrounded himself with top officials who complement his strengths -- deepening relationships, working them behind the scenes, offering warmth and an attentive ear where he can't or doesn't have the time to do so. ... Collectively and quietly, they have changed the character of America's relationships with the world."

2.  Deterring Iran is the Best Option (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
" It used to be the left that refused to accept the idea of deterrence — searching instead for options such as a nuclear freeze. And it used to be those on the right who would patiently explain the practical virtues of deterrence. ... Yet today it is the right that has decided that deterrence is a lie."

3.  Americans Don't Want a War (Paul R. Pillar) from the National Interest 
"They are being swayed by mindless alarmism, not sober considerations of what a nuclear Iran would mean—which makes their expressed aversion to a war all the more telling."

4.  Bin Laden’s Wives’ Stories of Post-9/11 Life Casts More Suspicion on Pakistan (Bruce Reidel) from the Daily Beast
"Pakistani officials have released the testimony of the three wives living with Osama bin Laden when he was killed. Apparently, Pakistani intelligence hoped this testimony would direct suspicion away from its door, but it does quite the opposite."

5.  "Showdown": Inside the Obama White House (David Corn) from Mother Jones Magazine
"My new behind-the-scenes book on how Obama reclaimed his presidency comes out next week. Here's an excerpt—on the night they got bin Laden."

6.  Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group from the New York Times 
"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.”"

7.  '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.”
What makes this slim story so interesting is that Malperin and Heilemann both have exceptional sources in the Clinton camp.  That these two are THIS CERTAIN that Hillary will run in '16 is important news by itself.

8.  "'We Have No Choice': One Woman's Ordeal with Texas' New Sonogram Law (Carolyn Jones) from the Texas Observer
"The painful decision to terminate a pregnancy is now—thanks to Texas' harsh new law—just the beginning of the torment."

9.  Centrist Women Tell of Disenchantment With G.O.P. from the New York Times  
"“We all agreed that this seemed like a throwback to 40 years ago,” said Ms. Russell, 57, a retired teacher from Iowa City who describes herself as an evangelical Christian and “old school” Republican of the moderate mold. Until the baby shower, just two weeks ago, she had favored Mitt Romney for president. Not anymore. "

10.  The Perils of Running Against a Fantasy Version of Obama (Jonathan Bernstein) from the Washington Post
"Want to see a great example of the closed GOP information feedback loop, and why it may prove dangerous for the Republican candidates? Think about the two Barack Obamas that Republicans are running against."

Now, for the regular news nuggets of Sunday, March 18, 2012.

Rise of the Single-Woman Voter (Hanna Rosin) from Slate
"The fight to win over the nation’s fastest-growing voting group—and the most misunderstood."

Susan G. Komen: Where’s the Party? (Amy Davidson) from the New Yorker 
"“I am writing to inform you that we have cancelled the Annual Awards Gala that was originally scheduled for May 17, 2012,” Blythe Masters, the chair of the board of directors for the Greater New York City affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, wrote in a letter dated yesterday. Now, why would that be?"

Denying Communion: A Priest and a Lesbian Set Off a Catholic Culture Clash from the Washington Post
"Conservatives have accused Johnson, an openly gay woman, of promoting a liberal political agenda at her mother’s funeral, of all places. The Washington archdiocese has accused Guarnizo, a Russian-ordained traditionalist with powerful friends, of intimidating parish staff after the incident and suspended him from his priestly duties. He, in turn, has essentially accused church officials of lying."

Republican Bill Would Enroll Seniors in Same Health Plans as Lawmakers (Julian Pecquet) from The Hill
"A group of Senate Republicans has introduced legislation that would end traditional Medicare and sign seniors up for the same private healthcare plans received by members of Congress.  The "Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act" would allow seniors to choose from the array of plans currently offered to the four million federal employees and their dependents in the Federal Employee Health Benefit program, starting in 2014. It would also gradually increase the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 70 over a 20-year period."
Breathtakingly cynical!  What the GOP has done here is proposed to (basically) buy off the current generation of seniors with a generous health plan in service of a plan to diminish or eliminate health care coverage in the future for everyone else.

Solar Energy Brings Food, Water, and Light to West Africa from National Geographic
"Robert Freling has been turning that doctrine on its head. The executive director of the Washington-based Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), Freling has proven that solar power can be more economical than internal combustion engines, if the cost-benefit analysis looks beyond the short term."

White Like Me (Ronald Brownstein) from the National Journal
"Almost all of the people voting in GOP presidential primaries are white. That’s not good for the party—or the nation."

Brownstein gets a two-fer:
Obama's Key Groups Warming on the Economy (Ronald Brownstein) from National Journal
"In a trend with important implications for the presidential election, the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll released today shows President Obama's strongest groups in the electorate expressing the most optimism about the trajectory of the economy. In the survey, both minorities and college-educated white voters were much more likely than working-class whites to say that they anticipate the economy will improve over the next year. Those well-educated whites are now also much more likely than their blue-collar counterparts to describe their current financial situation as excellent or good."

Why Conservatives Are Still Crazy After All These Years (Rick Perlstein) from Rolling Stone Magazine
"...are right-wingers scarier now than in the past? They certainly seem stranger and fiercer. I'd argue, however, that they’ve been this crazy for a long time. Over the last sixty years or so, I see far more continuities than discontinuities in what the rightward twenty or thirty percent of Americans believe about the world."

All Odds Aside, G.O.P. Girding for Floor Fight from the New York Times 
"For the first time in a generation, Republicans are preparing for the possibility that their presidential nomination could be decided at their national convention rather than on the campaign trail, a prospect that would upend one of the rituals of modern politics."

Two Men Ejected From Santorum Rally After Kissing from Huffington Post 
"Two men who kissed one another were kicked out of presidential candidate Rick Santorum's rally Friday evening at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights."

Police Intervene, Arrest Ron Paul Backers at Missouri Caucus from ABC News 
"Police and organizers shut down proceedings at one of Missouri’s largest caucuses today, as Ron Paul supporters feuded with local GOP leaders."

‘50 Shades of Grey,’ a Self-Published E-Book, Is the Future of Publishing (Lizzie Skurnick) from the Daily Beast
"50 Shades of Grey may not revolutionize porn, romance, chick-lit, or literature. But this one-click wonder is the future of how we’ll read."

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