Tuesday, March 27, 2012

News Nuggets 920

DAYLEE PICTURE: Jökulsárlón lagoon in southeastern Iceland.  From National Geographic.

The False Debate About Attacking Iran (Nicholas Kristof) from the New York Times
"I WONDER if we in the news media aren’t inadvertently leaving the impression that there is a genuine debate among experts about whether an Israeli military strike on Iran makes sense this year. There really isn’t such a debate. Or rather, it’s the same kind of debate as the one about climate change — credible experts are overwhelmingly on one side. Here’s what a few of them told me:..."

Similar topic, different take:
The False Iran Debate (Roger Cohen) from the New York Times
"In this sense, the whole Iran debate — with its receding “red lines,” its shifting “zones of immunity,” its threats and counter-threats, its bad metaphors and worse similes — is false. We know what will trigger a war and what won’t. At least we should. As the United States has learned this past decade, mistakes can happen in the form of politically driven irrational choices."

Bo Xilai and Coming Changes in China (Dan Blumenthal, Lara Crouch) from Foreign Policy Magazine
Something's up in China at the highest levels.
"In the last couple of days, Western media has been abuzz with rumors sourced from Chinese social media websites, Falun Gong-sponsored news outlets, and analysts in Hong Kong of an attempted coup in Beijing. The only thing lending credence to these rumors is the seeming existence of a power struggle that resulted in the sacking of Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai."

Crisis Closes in on China's Inner Circle (Chris Stewart) from the Asia Times [of Hong Kong in English]
"Zhou Yongkang, a member of China's ruling Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) and head of the country's 1.5 million-strong police force, is the latest and most senior leader to fall in the battle for control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) if rumors of his downfall have any
substance. It was certainly a fall foretold. "

Strauss-Kahn Charged in Alleged Prostitution Ring from CNN
"Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged in France on Monday with "aggravated pimping" for his alleged participation in a prostitution ring, prosecutors said."
Does anyone still doubt this guy assaulted the Sofotel maid?

Stag Party: The GOP’s Woman Problem (Frank Rich) from New York Magazine 
"But the problem wasn’t that Limbaugh confused the issue. His real transgression was that he had given away the GOP game, crystallizing an issue that had been in full view for weeks. That’s why his behavior resonated with and angered so many Americans who otherwise might have tuned out his rant as just another sloppy helping of his aging shtick. It’s precisely because there is a Republican war on women that he hit a nerve. "

President Obama Embraces ‘Obamacare’ Label. But Why? (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake) from the Washington Post
"What the White House and the Obama reelection team in Chicago clearly believe is that the Supreme Court case amounts to the opening of a new front of the message wars surrounding the health care law. ... 'Obamacare' currently stands for everything people don't like about the law. The White House has to make it stand for all the good things in the law."
I'm not at all surprised that he has embraced the term -- I believe he and his team will use it with pride in the decades to come.

Did John Roberts Throw A Wrench In Major Argument Against ‘Obamacare’? from Talking Points Memo
"In a little-noticed exchange Monday, conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts may have tipped his hand that he’s entertaining the possibility that the health care law’s individual mandate can be upheld on a constitutional basis that’s different from the one supporters and opponents have made central to their arguments."

Obama’s Health Law Proving Successful (Juan Williams) from The Hill 
"In my world of people and politics there are two relevant issues. First, does the law provide better medical care for Americans? And is it reducing the cost of healthcare?"

Democrats Have No Fear Of Romney (Zeke Miller) from Buzzfeed
"They are afraid of everything from a spike in gas prices to the possibility of war with Iran; from unemployment to the Supreme Court’s striking down the health care law. But one thing Barack Obama’s expensive war machine isn’t afraid of right now is Mitt Romney."
If they have no fear, they need to get some.  Complacency is the last thing the Dems need right now.  They and Democratic voters generally MUST bring their focused A-game to this election!

GOP’s 2012 Primary Plan Creates a Colossal Mess (Joseph Curl) from the Washington Times
"t doesn’t have a dynamic out-of-the-blue-first-black-man-for-president citizen of the world with ties to every part of it versus a former first lady/senator who works 70 hours a week and is destined - destined - to smash the glass ceiling. No, instead, Republicans have a dog strapped to the roof of a car and two mutts chasing him down the highway - and the two mutts have no idea what they’d do if they actually caught the car."
What Curl misses is that the primary plan the GOP copied from the Dems was one that created a RIGOROUS primary season that would expose weak, problematic and otherwise unprepared-for-the-presidency types of candidates.  I have the growing suspicion that if ANY of the other A-list GOP candidates (Bush, Christie, Barbour et al.,) had thrown in their hats they would soon have seen their stature substantially reduced in the face of a hard-right primary electorate.  What they would face is the same thing that Romney is facing: any candidate who came close to giving that hard-right constituency what they wanted would (In short order) be shown to be manifestly unqualified for the presidency.  Romney is barely hanging on to the "qualified" part of his ingredients label.

Santorum's Alternate Reality (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
"Everyone is telling the GOP presidential candidate the contest is over and he can't win it. But he's not quitting."

Seven Furniture Pieces and Home Accessories That Are Becoming Obsolete from
"In light of the possible extinction of the coffee table, I've rounded up a few other home items that seem to be on their way out."

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