DAYLEE PICTURE: The Neversink vertical cave in Alabama. From the Daily Mail of the UK.
How China Flouts Its Laws (Chen Guancheng) from the New York Times
"The fundamental question the Chinese government must face is lawlessness. China does not lack laws, but rather the rule of law."
China Is No Longer Predictable (Robert D. Kaplan) from Stratfor
"...a less predictable period in Chinese politics lies ahead. Bo was something not seen in China since Mao Zedong: a leader with real charisma. Bo may indicate that the age of the technocrats will give way to the age of politicians -- and politicians, even in liberal democracies, exploit people's emotions. That could lead to more erratic, nationalistic rulers."
Does Anybody Still Need Aircraft Carriers? from BBC Magazine
The response here is QUITE telling. Britain doesn't need a carrier ... because the US has plenty. YOUR defense dollars at work! Note: I rarely check the reader comments of the articles I post, but the comments section of this article is quite interesting.
"A major piece of Britain's new one has arrived at a dockyard, China is testing one, but 100 years after the concept was invented, does anybody still need aircraft carriers? ... there will be those who would suggest the UK's diminished military power makes carriers unnecessary. "Any major conflict in the Straits of Hormuz or the Gulf won't be decided by Britain," argues Parris. "It will be decided by the US.""
Iran Confirms Attack by Virus That Collects Information from the New York Times
"The computers of high-ranking Iranian officials appear to have been penetrated by a data-mining virus called Flame, in what may be the most destructive cyberattack on Iran since the notorious Stuxnet virus, an Iranian cyberdefense organization confirmed on Tuesday."
With Plan X, Pentagon Seeks to Spread U.S. Military Might to Cyberspace from the Washington Post
"The Pentagon is turning to the private sector, universities and even computer game companies as part of an ambitious effort to develop technologies to improve its cyberwarfare capabilities, launch effective attacks and withstand the likely retaliation."
The Chinese will love this. Much easier to infiltrate 20+ different private US subcontractors than to get into 1-2 highly fortified US installations.
Italian University Switches to English from the BBC
"...it even more of a cultural earthquake that one of Italy's leading universities - the Politecnico di Milano - is going to switch to the English language. The university has announced that from 2014 most of its degree courses - including all its graduate courses - will be taught and assessed entirely in English rather than Italian."
UK Students Switch to US Universities from the BBC
"Within four years, a quarter of sixth formers at a leading UK independent school will be heading for universities in the United States. ... The lure of well-funded US universities, with more broad-based course options, is proving increasingly attractive to youngsters in the UK, he says. ... So what's it like to go from a school in England to an Ivy League institution?"
College Gap Grows, Leaving Manufacturing Cities Behind from the New York Times
"Cities that once depended on manufacturing jobs are finding it hard to compete with already highly educated areas for college graduates, a key ingredient in a transformation."
Job Recovery is Scant for Americans in Prime Working Years (Peter Whoriskey) from the Washington Post
I guess "scant" is better than nothing -- which is what we see for those workers under 25 or over 54.
"By this measure, the jobs situation has improved little in recent years. The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst, according to federal statistics. Before the recession the proportion hovered at 80 percent."
Paying Rent on Minimum Wage (Andrew Rosenthal) from the New York Times
"There is no state in the country where it's possible to work a 40-hour week at minimum wage and afford a two-bedroom apartment."
The Polarizing Impact of Science Literacy and Numeracy on Perceived Climate Change Risks from the journal, Nature
" Members of the public with the highest degrees of science literacy and technical reasoning capacity were not the most concerned about climate change. Rather, they were the ones among whom cultural polarization was greatest. This result suggests that public divisions over climate change stem not from the public’s incomprehension of science but from a distinctive conflict of interest:..."
The Most Useless University In America (Carl Hiaasen) from the National Memo
"At a time when Florida’s 11 state universities are financially gasping, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott are throwing $50 million away on a whimsical new school that might as well be called Useless State."
After Obama: Democratic Jockeying Begins for 2016 (Howard Kurtz) from the Daily Beast
"The president has no obvious successor. Let the 2016 jockeying begin."
Hmmm. The 2012 Election Reminds Me Of Something (Linton Weeks) from NPR's It's All Politics blog
"Which presidential election in American history most resembles the coming election between President Obama and Mitt Romney — and why?"
Obama Continues to Lead Big in Battleground Polling (Markos Moulitsas) from Daily Kos
"The national polls may still have this race neck and neck, but down at the state level, President Barack Obama maintains a comfortable lead."
Still fighting on GOP turf (Chuck Todd et al.,) from MSNBC
" The race is still being fought on GOP turf -- all states that George W. Bush carried in 2004 (and three that John Kerry never contested). Six of the top 10 advertising markets are in North Carolina and Virginia, according to NBC/SMG Delta. (Still don’t think that North Carolina is a true battleground?)"
http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/30/11955307-first-thoughts-still-fighting-on-gop-turf?lite Senate Republicans Signal Big Shift On ‘Obamacare’ from Talking Points Memo
"Despite the blowback from conservatives, who want nothing less than to wipe out the law in its entirety, top Senate Republicans are signaling that they’re behind the strategy of resurrecting some aspects of the Affordable Care Act."
They know that if Obamacare is struck down, they are on the hook for all aspects of its demise. If it goes this way, the GOP risks completely giving away the "big deficit spending liberal" argument against Obama. If they come forward with legislation with "just the goodies", Obama can come back and simply say -- with ample justification, mind -- that "the Republicans struck down a deficit reduction healthcare reform and now put forward an out-of-control deficits-forever program -- that provides only a fraction of what the original reform measure provides." The Tea Party will go thermonuclear against ANY GOP lawmaker who seriously pushes a "goodies" package later this year. And one can only speculate the contortions Romney will have to go through to come out on a winning side of this debate -- if it goes this way.
Some G.O.P. Foreign Policy Giants Are Tepid on Romney from the New York Times
"Republican foreign policy figures have been slower than others in the party to embrace Mitt Romney, reflecting unease over some of his positions."
Mitt Romney Wants the Biggest Military Ever, Regardless of Cost (Erik Kain) from Mother Jones Magazine
"Notice the obligatory reference to Europe. In the parlance of the modern-day right, Europe means several things: weakness, socialism, un-Americanism. Europe is not so much a swear-word as it is a sneer-word. Notice also the implication that in order to pay for "social needs" Romney believes we would have to cut military spending."
How to Pick a Veep: Eight Historical Criteria (Carl Cannon) from Real Clear Politics
"When Mitt Romney chooses a running mate, it will be the first significant command decision the U.S. electorate sees him make. While few Americans will base their vote on it, the process of choosing a running mate is an act that helps define a candidate, stamps an administration, and often leaves its mark on history."
Mitt Romney’s Stockholm Syndrome Behavior (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"Now that he’s finally won the GOP presidential nomination, Romney should be moving toward moderation, but he’s still captivated by extremists like birther Donald Trump—and acting as if his captors are his friends."
Romney Clinches Nomination, Attacks Obama on Solyndra, but Trump Steals the Spotlight from the Washington Post
"Candidate’s historic feat and economic message were overshadowed by the real estate magnate’s “birther” argument."
Incredible. How is this even possible? A gas-bagging clown UPSTAGES the GOP presidential nominee on the night he clinches the nomination!? I still remember the sense of celebration and completion when Obama clinched the nomination after the Montana & South Dakota primaries in '08. No such thing for Romney. As I've noted here before, this further reinforces my view that Romney's team is a second-rate team who continues to be plagued by stumbles and gaffes that the primary process should have ironed out long ago -- especially given that this is Romney's second times around as a candidate. Sadly, there is still the very real prospect that Romney can win in November -- and then usher this same less-than-stellar team into power. Scary.
Donald Trump Can't Be Controlled, Causes Major Headache For Mitt Romney (Jon Ward) from the Huffington Post
""I don't imagine this is distraction at all," Trump said. "In fact, we have a fundraiser that's going to take place in a couple of hours, and I'm just walking through the lobby of Trump international and this place is packed." And that, in a nutshell, is the problem for Mitt Romney."
Trumped (Ross Douthat) from the New York Times
"Given the bad publicity he’s obviously capable of generating for Romney’s campaign, then, giving Trump the stiff-arm would not only be the right thing to do but the crafty thing as well. The fact that Romney thinks otherwise suggests that underneath his public cynicism lurks something more troubling: A deep miscalculation about which votes he needs to win and how."
I had two responses to Douthat's commentary: first, that Romney should indeed tell Trump to go away but that he (Romney) lacks the requisite courage to do this. My second response was: what a time we live in where it takes the GOP presidential nominee ANY courage to tell off a transparent charlatan like Trump. Moreover, what does it say about these times when the nominee lacks even THAT modicum of courage?
SOUTH AFRICAN HISTORY NUGGET!!
Paul Simon Takes Us Back (Thomas Friedman) from the New York Times
"Of all the raw and compelling voices in Joe Berlinger’s must-see documentary, “Under African Skies,” about the making of Paul Simon’s classic “Graceland” album in South Africa in 1985 — and his reunion with the same African artists 25 years later — my favorite is that of Graceland bass player Bakithi Kumalo. He tells about that day in 1985 when he met Simon in a Johannesburg recording studio ..."