TEN BEST NUGGETS OF THE WEEK!!1. 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:..."
2. Etching a Foreign Policy (Paul R. Pillar) from the National Interest
"The choice between Romney and Obama comes down to the choice between a populist and a realist foreign policy."
3. Natural Gas, Fueling an Economic Revolution from (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"The United States now has, at current consumption rates, at least 75 years’ worth of recoverable natural gas. More important, the United States has become the world’s low-cost producer of natural gas. That fact is already changing the future of U.S. manufacturing. Companies such as Dow Chemical and Westlake Chemical are finding that low U.S. energy costs can mitigate the lower cost of labor in Asia..."
4. Stealing Christianity (Ed Kilgore) from Washington Monthly
"TNR’s Tim Noah wrote yesterday about one of my all-time biggest pet peeves: the constant appropriation of the word “Christian” by conservative evangelicals as exclusive to their distinctive and hardly uncontested point of view. What sent Noah off was an NPR story on “Christian films,” which, of course, turned out to be films by a very particular and not at all representative type of Christians..."
5. What if Trayvon Martin Was the One Acting in Self-Defense? (Emily Bazelon) from Slate
"... you can flip the premise and see Martin, not Zimmerman, as the person who was acting in self-defense. Jeff writes: “Trayvon saw someone following him, felt threatened, retreated, was still followed, and then was approached by an armed man who had 100 lbs on him. … Because Zimmerman was acting as an aggressor, Trayvon had the right to defend himself by punching, kicking, tackling, etc. Because Zimmerman was acting as the aggressor, his actions cannot be considered self-defense..."
6. Supremes Won't Save GOP From Itself on Obamacare (David Frum) from the Daily Beast
"Now conservative challengers are hoping the Supreme Court will step in. And who knows? Maybe the justices are feeling bold. Maybe they are ready to expose themselves again to the fiercest partisan criticism since Bush v. Gore, or even fiercer. I'm not a Court-watcher, and have no expertise to offer, but just going with my gut: I doubt it."
7. Obama vs. Boehner: Who Killed the Debt Deal? (Matt Bai) from the New York Times
"What emerged from these conversations is a clearer and often surprising picture of exactly how close Obama and Boehner came to finalizing a historic agreement, what exactly was in it and why it ultimately fell apart — including a revelation that illuminates Boehner’s thinking in those final hours and directly contradicts a core element of the version he has told, even to some in his own leadership. The truth here matters for more than its historical value."
8. Obama 2012: Built to Broadcast (Tim Dickinson) from Rolling Stone Magazine
"When Obama 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe likened the campaign's email list to a television network in his campaign memoir, it was a rough analogy. But for the revamped Obama 2012 campaign, the meaning is quite literal. ... The Road We've Traveled is remarkable for its glitz and directorial pedigree—the filmmaker is Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim, who directed Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. But the same media strategy is evident throughout the 2012 campaign."
9. A Daunting Obama Ground Game Awaits Romney from the Los Angeles Times
"A GOP primary fight devours time and money while the president's campaign pours millions into a national field effort."
10. Fiona's Amazing Story from YouTube via Americablog
Fiona's amazing story - please share on Facebook & Twitter. Thanks! More on Fiona can be seen here.
Now, to our regular nuggets for Sunday, April 1.
UP-FRONT REFLECTION ON TRAYVON MARTIN CASE!!
In Florida, a Death Foretold (Israel Wilkerson) from the New York Times
"Americans tend to think of the rigid stratification of caste as a distant notion from feudal Europe or Victorian India. But caste is alive and well in this country, where a still unsettled multiracial society is emerging from the starkly drawn social order that Dollard described. Assumptions about one’s place in this new social order have become a muddying subtext in the case of Trayvon Martin"
Burma: The Land of Lady Liberty (Geoffrey Hiller) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"A photographer returns to Burma to find a nation transformed."
Osama bin Laden in Pakistan from the Editorial Board of the Dawn [of Pakistan in English]
"Is it possible that both civilian and military intelligence were unable to track down one of the world’s most recognised faces as he made his way from one Pakistani town to another? Or does this new information point to something more sinister? Who facilitated his movement and his stops, and were they ordinary citizens or members of law enforcement or intelligence agencies? What is clear is that the judicial commission looking into his presence and the raid in Abbottabad can no longer limit its probe to those topics."
Why Nations Fail (Thomas Friedman) from the New York Times
"I’M reading a fascinating new book called “Why Nations Fail.” The more you read it, the more you appreciate what a fool’s errand we’re on in Afghanistan and how much we need to totally revamp our whole foreign aid strategy. But most intriguing are the warning flares the authors put up about both America and China."
Will Greece Abandon the Euro? Markets Say Yes, Within 3 Years. (Florian Teschner ) from Yahoo News
"Presently, the markets place an 83 percent likelihood on the odds that a country leaves the eurozone by 2015, adopting its own currency instead. Greece is the most likely country to cause this breakup, with Italy ranking a distant second:"
Plenty to Go Around: A Review of Abundance, by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler (John Gertner) from the New York Times
"It seems self-evident that things are getting worse, doesn’t it? Well, maybe. In Silicon Valley, where the locals tend to be too busy starting companies to wallow in gloom, Peter Diamandis has stood out as one of the more striking optimists."
This Week at War: The Navy's Pacific Problem (Robert Haddick) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Does the U.S. military have the resources for an Asian century?"
Orlando Sentinel: Forensic Voice Identification Expert Says Screaming is Not George Zimmerman's (Meteor Blades) from Daily Kos
"The claim goes to the key issue in the case, the fact that Zimmerman claims he shot the unarmed Trayvon in self-defense because the boy punched him to the ground and smashed his head into a concrete sidewalk. The Orlando Sentinel called in an expert. He says the voice is NOT George Zimmerman's:..."
It should be noted that, accoding to my sources, voice identification software is still pretty sketchy -- look for Zimmerman's attorneys to come up with their own expert saying it was Zimmerman's voice.
Angela Corey, Prosecutor In Trayvon Martin Case, Known As Tough from the Huffington Post
"The special prosecutor leading the investigation into the shooting death of an unarmed black teen by a neighborhood watch volunteer is known for her tough tactics aimed at locking up criminals for long sentences and making it difficult to negotiate light plea bargains."
A Guide To The Night George Zimmerman Killed Trayvon Martin from Talking Points Memo
"... to try to more clearly present what actually happened on the night of Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla., TPM has put together a guide to the events that reportedly took place before, during and immediately after the killing."
Cruelty: On the Hacking of Travyon Martin's Emails (Ta-Nehisi Coates) from the Atlantic
"... the attack on the memory of Trayvon Martin began with the exposure of his twitter feed, proceeded apace to the selective posting of pictures, moved with great energy to the faking of pictures, and has now found its natural terminus in unbridled white supremacy:"
Why Do People Bully? A New Documentary Puts the Spotlight on Bullies and the Bullied from Discovery News
"The documentary "Bully," which opens today, shows Alex Libby being pushed, poked and ridiculed. At one point in the film he says, “They push me so far that I want to become the bully." It takes a hard, close look at the bullied and the bullies. Why do people bully?"
The Long-Term Attack on Liberal Legitimacy (Jamelle Bouie) from the Nation
"... this isn’t the story of a well-functioning political system—it’s an attempt to deny legitimacy to one side of the political spectrum whenever it gains power. Short of forfeiting elections–or passing right-wing legislation—there’s nothing that Democrats can do to satisfy movement conservatives."
AI robot: How Machine Intelligence is Evolving from the Observer via Raw Story
"No computer can yet pass the ‘Turing test’ and be taken as human. But, says Marcus du Sautoy, the hunt for artificial intelligence is moving in a different, exciting direction that involves creativity, language – and even jazz."
Washington Nationals May Finally Meet Expectations — On and Off the Field from the Washington Post
"“I have to say, it’s been for the betterment of the community,” she said. “Our crime seems to be under control. The neighborhood looks 100 percent better. The new housing is a great improvement.” As the Nationals begin their eighth season this week, the team is poised to contend for a playoff berth for the first time."