Wednesday, October 31, 2012

News Nuggets 1094

DAYLEE PICTURE: The burned-out devastation in Breezy Point, Queens.  See the story below.

Firefighter Community Devastated by Huge Blaze: How FDNY Fought to Save their Own Homes in Inferno that Engulfed 111 Houses from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"New York City fire crews fought neck-deep water and battering winds as they battled a raging inferno that reduced 111 homes to ash in a neighborhood that is home to hundreds of their fellow firefighters. The massive, uncontrollable blaze in Breezy Point, Queens, was sparked by a downed power line about 11pm on Monday and was not brought under control until daybreak on Tuesday."

Minnesota Mirror (Thomas Friedman) from the New York Times
"I thought it might be useful to look at this election through the window of my hometown of St. Louis Park. I have not been disappointed. I found in this little suburb of 45,250 people outside of Minneapolis — which was memorialized in the movie, “A Serious Man,” directed by the Coen brothers, who also hail from here — all the key trends impacting America."

When Christianism Bites Back (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast 
"... that is why they will vote for Romney not as Christians as such, but as Christianists, willing to overlook the bizarre theology of Mormonism (and, of course, all theology is in some respects bizare) in order to promote the policies most fundamentalists of all types favor"

The Sleeping Giant of Texas’s Latino Vote from Politico
"This might be the last presidential election during which Texas is not considered a swing state. We know that the Latino vote matters in this year’s election. And the sleeping giant of the Texas Latino vote is poised to awaken and alter the fate of every future election."

President Obama Seizes the Moment as Hurricane Sandy’s Savior (Howard Kurtz) from the Daily Beast
"The president has suspended campaigning to lead the federal response to a devastating hurricane. Howard Kurtz on why the crisis gives Obama a big edge over Romney."

Hurricane Sandy Exposes Mitt Romney’s Self-Made FEMA Problem (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"Mitt Romney’s suggestion during the primary season that he might do away with FEMA has come back to haunt him in the wake of Sandy, writes John Avlon."

How Sandy Changed The Campaign (Alec MacGillis) from the New Republic 
"... this big thing is, on one level, not at all helpful to Mitt Romney. A campaign striking for its relative stasis—both in the state-by-state landscape and the nature of the argument—has been turned on its head in the closing days, and how it affects the race probably depends on what stage one believes the race had arrived at by this point."

1 Week -- 2 Versions of Reality (Jonathan Martin) from Politico
"As if Hurricane Sandy weren’t doing enough to muddle the presidential race a week before the election, the two campaigns now seem to be embracing two sharply different versions of political reality."

NPR Poll Finds Presidential Race Too Close To Call (Ron Elving and Mara Liasson) from NPR
"The latest and last NPR Battleground Poll for 2012 shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holding the narrowest of leads in the national sample, but trailing President Obama in the dozen states that will decide the election."

Romney Camp Going Off The Fact Checking Rails In Ohio from Talking Points Memo
"In the final days of the 2012 race, Mitt Romney’s campaign is really making good on its pollster’s August promise to ignore fact checkers. To close the deal in the Ohio, Team Romney is blitzing the state with a series of wildly deceptive statements and ads suggesting that Chrysler is moving local jobs to China."

Romney’s Jeep-to-China Lie Earns Brutal Headlines in Ohio (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Polls have shown that large numbers of Ohioans don’t think Romney cares about their needs and problems. And the Obama campaign views the auto bailout, and Romney’s dishonesty about it, as central to their closing case against Romney’s character, integrity, and true priorities. So these are exactly the headlines the Obama team wants."

A Vote for the Future or for the Past? (Harold Meyerson) from the
Washington Post
"The 2012 presidential election is fundamentally a contest between our future and our past. Barack Obama’s America is the America that will be; Mitt Romney’s is the America that was. And the distance between the two is greater, perhaps, than in any election we’ve had since the Civil War."

Disney Buys Lucasfilm; Eyes Release Of 'Star Wars: Episode 7' For 2015 from the Huffington Post
"During a conference call announcing the merger, it was reported that Disney executives said they wanted to release an "Episode VII" and "Episode IX" as well. The films would ideally reach theaters every two or three years."

Monday, October 29, 2012

News Nuggets 1093

DAYLEE PICTURE: A lion in the grass as a storm rages in the distance in the Kalahari.  From the Atlantic.

Advantage Obama in Hunt for 270 Electoral Votes (Thomas Beaumont) from the Associated Press via Yahoo News
"President Barack Obama is poised to eke out a victory in the race for the 270 electoral votes needed to win re-election, having beaten back Republican Mitt Romney's attempts to convert momentum from the debates into support in all-important Ohio, according to an Associated Press analysis a week before Election Day."

How President Obama Will Handle Hurricane Sandy (James Warren) from the Daily Beast
"Top aides say the storm comes first, the campaign second. Even Romney fans admit the hurricane presents a great opportunity for the president to assert command."

Hurricane Sandy Is a Nasty October Surprise for Mitt Romney (Howard Kurtz) from the Daily Beast
"Romney was on a roll until Hurricane Sandy upended the campaign. Howard Kurtz on why the storm hurts him far more than the president."

Romney is Captive to the Far Right : The GOP has Become a Party of Extreme Views (Sean Wilentz) from the New York Daily News
"The 2012 presidential campaign may seem like it’s all about the economy, but it’s really being driven by the chief political development of the last 30 years: the Republican Party’s movement further to the ideological right."

The GOP's Geography And The Confederacy (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast
"I think America is currently in a Cold Civil War. The parties, of course, have switched sides since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The party of the Union and Lincoln is now the Democratic party. The party of the Confederacy is now the GOP."

Democrats Hold Early-Voting Advantage Over Republicans (John McCormick) from the Bloomberg News Service
"In two of the most competitive states in the U.S. presidential race -- Iowa and Nevada -- Democrats are building a significant advantage in early voting. Who has the edge is more muddled in the bigger swing states of Ohio and Florida, while Republicans have a narrow lead in Colorado. Early, in-person voting started in Florida over the weekend, and dozens of Democrats in Tallahassee marched five blocks from a church to an early-voting site yesterday, chanting “Vote early.”"

People Who Can't Do Math Are So Mad At Nate Silver from the Atlantic 
"The New York Times' Nate Silver has created a model to predict the outcome of the presidential election that's watched by just about every pundit, and yet Silver's model refuses to perfectly reflect the
conventional wisdom spouted by just about every pundit. The pundits do not like this!"

Battleground Tracking Poll: President Obama Retakes Lead from Politico 
"With eight days to go until the election, President Barack Obama has recaptured a narrow national lead over Mitt Romney, riding increased support from women and an edge in early voting."

Elections Polling Wrap: Obama with Strong Day in the Swing States to Close Out the Week from Daily Kos
"Friday-lite is somewhat of a thing of the past, as we get 43 polls to close out the week, and clear conclusions remain elusive, though the clear message from Friday's data is that you'd much rather be the president than his opponent."

In Polls, Romney’s Momentum Seems to Have Stopped (Nate Silver) from the New York Times
"Mr. Romney clearly gained ground in the polls in the week or two after the Denver debate, putting himself in a much stronger overall position in the race. However, it seems that he is no longer doing so."

TIME Poll: Obama Leads by 5 in Ohio (Alex Altman) from Time Magazine 
"Obama has clearly received a boost from Ohio’s early voting period, which began on Oct. 2 and runs through November 5. Among respondents who say they have already voted, Obama holds a two-to-one lead over Romney, 60% to 30%."

Cell Phones: Why We Think Obama Will Win the Popular Vote, Too from Democracy Corps
"...we want to share why we think the national tracking averages likely underrepresent Obama’s vote.  The main issue is cell phones and the changing America that most are under-representing."

Inside Romney World (Mark Halperin) from Time Magazine
""The Romney high command did a Thursday afternoon conference call with some of their biggest donors and bundlers from around the country, urging them to push hard for the next week to bring in more dough." "According to a source familiar with the call, Romney national finance chair Spencer Zwick and pollster Neil Newhouse gave the group a briefing on the state of the race and pressed them to raise more more more in the next week. Newhouse told the group that the battleground states are within 2-3 points in their data and they need more money for additional last-minute
television ads, direct mail, and other forms of voter contact.""

Thursday, October 25, 2012

News Nuggets 1092

DAYLEE PICTURE: The Mong Kok district of Hong Kong.  From National Geographic.

The Nuggetsman will be involved in moving over the next several days so postings may be spotty -- as they have been earlier this week.  Normal posting will resume next monday at the latest.

Catholics Want More Focus on Poverty than Abortion, Survey Finds from the Chicago Tribune
"Most U.S. Catholics believe the church should focus more on social justice and the obligation to support the poor, even if it means focusing less on issues like abortion, according to a new poll released Monday by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute."

GOP Rep Says Strike On Iran’s Nuclear Facilities Would Not Be An Act Of War (Ben Armbruster) from Think Progress
"Rogers said that he believed there are options “short of war” that could prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and, strangely, CNN host Erin Burnett wondered if bombing suspected nuclear weapons facilities would be an option that is “short of war.” While Rogers at first appeared taken aback by Burnett’s odd question, he then went a bit further, saying definitively that such an attack would indeed be “short of war” and the Iranians would see it that way too:..."
This GOP representative is on the House Intelligence Committee.  This guy seems dangerously lacking in a more basic type of intelligence!

How the Right Wing Lost in 2012 (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post 
"The right wing has lost the election of 2012. ... If conservatism were winning, does anyone doubt that Romney would be running as a conservative? Yet unlike Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, Romney is offering an echo, not a choice. His strategy at the end is to try to sneak into the White House on a chorus of me-too’s."

So, Who's Going to Win? (David Gergen) from CNN
" Coming off clear, back-to-back victories in the final two debates, President Obama has now shored up his campaign, and -- given what appears to be a superior ground game -- is again an odds-on favorite to win. ... Obama has proven once more that he is better when behind, in the clutch, looking for a three-point basket. He was too complacent going into the first debate and almost threw away the election."

First Thoughts: Battleground Blitz (Chuck Todd et al.) from MSNBC
"Obama could still lose Ohio and get to 270 electoral votes, and the path is not a nutty path. He does it by winning Wisconsin (a state that hasn't gone GOP since 84), Iowa (a state Gore carried), New Hampshire (a state Kerry carried), and Colorado. That gets him to 272. Sorta stunning that with all of our focus on FL-OH-VA that they all three could get rendered meaningless by the Rodney Dangerfield of the battleground: Colorado. And this is why, despite some national polls showing Romney either tied or slightly ahead, the narrative has never held that Obama is behind - due to all of his different paths to 270."

The Latest View from One Prudential Plaza: Why the Obama Campaign Is (Still) So Confident About Beating Romney (Mark Halperin) from Time Magazine
This item from a right-of-center pundit who has been consistently critical of Obama.  
"It doesn’t well serve either the incumbent or the challenger to sugarcoat the situation by producing poll results that overstate support (as some pollsters are famous for doing). The key differential between the Chicago and Boston methodologies appears to be assumptions about the final makeup of the electorate in the nine battleground contests. If the President’s internal data is correct, he is indeed likely to win, pushing off a floor above 47%..."

They Can't Both Be Right: 'Savvy' Experts vs. Polls (James Fallows) from the Atlantic
"But about the state and the trend of the race, at this moment, they are in fundamental disagreement. The "pros" tell us that Romney is catching up, the quants say he is falling behind. "

From another conservative pundit:
Obama's Edge: The Ground Game That Could Put Him Over the Top (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
"In a close election, the president's sophisticated organization -- which Republicans don't seem to have matched -- could make all the difference."

Richard Mourdock Rape Comment Reveals Stark Divide, Harsh Question For GOP from the Huffington Post
"Republicans scrambled Wednesday to respond to Republican Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's assertion that even pregnancies caused by rape are intended by God, putting a harsh light on an issue that divides the party and has benefitted Democrats nationally and locally."

Romney Surrogate Trump Takes Another Swing at Proving his Party has Gone Completely Off the Rails (Hunter) from Daily Kos
This commentary on The Donald is quite hilarious!
"Trump was deeply engaged in the publicity stunt of pretending he might possibly run for the presidency himself—a pretense that, Lord help us all, a goodly number of Republicans were actually excited about. Because Bachmann, Santorum, Gingrich, Cain and Ron Paul were not nearly crazy enough, or were crazy, but not in the right way, or merely because in the current era Republicans seem to not be able to tell the difference between a political contest and a three-ring-circus filled from bleacher to crowning flag with nothing but clowns."

Extraordinary Photos Show Millions of Joyful Muslims Descending on Mecca's Grand Mosque for Start of Islam's Annual Haj Pilgrimage from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"These breathtaking pictures show how millions of pilgrims are arriving in Mecca for Islam's annual haj pilgrimage which starts tomorrow, as Saudi authorities warned they will stop any disruptive protests over the conflict in Syria."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

News Nuggets 1091

DAYLEE PICTURE: A seagull off of Canary Wharf in London.  From the Atlantic.

President Obama’s Executive Power Grab (Romano and Klaidman) from Newsweek 
A very interesting inside look at what sounds like a key moment in Obama's administration!
"The Obama power play that could forever change the way Washington works. ... For months, Obama had been frustrated with congressional gridlock, which had intensified after Republicans took control of the House in January. And yet he’d always held out hope. Not anymore. The Old Obama had pledged to usher in a golden age of bipartisan cooperation, then spent the first two and a half years of his tenure trying to meet the opposition in the middle. But the New Obama was fed up. Disillusioned. And he was done letting Congress stonewall his agenda."

Former Israeli Spymaster: We Need To Talk to Iran (Laura Rozen) fro Al Monitor
"[For Romney and Republicans] Negotiating with Iran is perceived as a sign of beginning to forsake Israel. That is where I think the basic difference is between Romney and Obama. What Romney is doing is mortally destroying any chance of a resolution without war. "

Europe’s ‘Lost Generation’ Costs $200 Billion per Year and Growing from Americablog
"There’s a serious and growing problem in Europe among the under thirty year olds who are not working. In what is referred to as not in employment, education or training (known as Neets) the financial cost is enormous, but as we know, the financial costs are only part of the problem."

A Country United, for a Change (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post 
"There are moments when you can glimpse an emerging bipartisan consensus on foreign policy, and Monday night’s presidential debate was one of them: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney knew they were speaking to a war-weary country and talked in nearly identical terms about bringing troops home, avoiding new conflicts — and countering terrorism without embracing a “global war.”"

How Romney Avoided a Real Foreign Policy Debate (Fred Kaplan) from Slate 
"He knew he was in over his head. So he decided not to play."

Romney Says He’s Winning — It’s a Bluff (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"Obama’s lead is narrow — narrow enough that the polling might well be wrong and Romney could win. But he is leading, his lead is not declining, and the widespread perception that Romney is pulling ahead is Romney’s campaign suckering the press corps with a confidence game."

Obama Holds Narrow Edge Over Mitt Romney With Presidential Election Two Weeks Away: Poll from Reuters via the Huffington Post
"Obama maintains a larger advantage in the state-by-state battle that will determine the outcome of the election. Ipsos projects that Obama holds an edge in the most hotly contested states, including Florida, Virginia and Ohio, and is likely to win by a relatively comfortable margin of 322 electoral votes to 206 electoral votes."

Uncertainty Clouds Polling, but Obama Remains Electoral College Favorite (Nate Silver) from the New York Times
"There is bad news for Mr. Romney as well, however. The “new normal” of the presidential campaign is considerably more favorable for him than the environment before the first debate, in Denver. However, it is one in which he still seems to be trailing, by perhaps 2 percentage points, in the states that are most vital in the Electoral College."

Why Registered Voter Screens Matter—They've Been More Accurate (Markos Moulitsas) from Daily Kos
"... there's another factor—much of that deadlocked national polling is among likely voters. Among registered voters, most of those polls gives President Barack Obama decent advantages. Thus, the operating theory is that a significant portion of Democrats will sit out the race because of a lack of intensity. So for example, the latest NBC/WSJ poll yesterday had the presidential race deadlocked 47-47 among likely voters, but gave Obama a comfortable 49-44 lead among registered voters. Different pollsters have different ways to filter out those they deem unlikely to vote. But bottom line, the registered voter screens have historically been more accurate."

Crucial News for Obama on Ohio (Josh Marshall) from Talking Points Memo 
"We’ve only had a few premium, live caller, cell/landline polls. And this is one of them. This is a significant tightening against CBS/Quinnipiac’s last poll. But it points to Obama holding on to a real lead in this critical state."

Obama draws 70 percent of Latinos from Politico
"Two polls show the president's support among Latino voters continues to hover at the high mark."

Monday, October 22, 2012

News Nuggets 1090

DAYLEE PICTURE: The skyline of Astana in Kazakhistan.  From National Geographic.

U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks from the New York Times
"The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran."

Iran Talks Surprise Has Observers Mystified Ahead Of Foreign Policy Debate from the Huffington Post
"At first, the news from The New York Times Saturday evening that the U.S. and Iran had agreed "in principle" to one-on-one nuclear negotiations, had every appearance of an "October surprise" -- a last-second international event designed to tip the scales toward the commander in chief."

The Boy Scouts’ ‘Perversion’ Files Detail Abuses, Convictions—and a Shocking Cover-Up from the Daily Beast
"Over decades, the Boy Scouts kept secret files of more than 1,200 alleged and convicted pedophiles. When were they planning to tell anyone? Winston Ross on what the files show."

Anti-Gay Group Finds "Homosexual Agenda" in School Lunch Room (Stephanie Mencimer) from Mother Jones Magazine
"Mix It Up Day, this year on October 30, consists almost entirely of forcing kids to sit with someone new at lunch. That's it. The idea behind it is that forcing kids to interact with kids they don't normally hang with helps break up cliques that form in schools and which foster bullying. But behind this rather innocuous project, the AFA sees the "homosexual agenda.""

State of the Race: Obama is Slightly Ahead (Jonathan Bernstein) from the Washington Post
"It’s getting close to Election Day, and perhaps it’s a good point to step back and assess where the presidential race is right now. Despite some premature spiking of the football from those who favor Mitt Romney, the race remains very close and could easily go either way. But at even odds right now, it’s pretty clear that your money belongs on Barack Obama."

The Final Push (Ryan Lizza) from the New Yorker
"In recent years, as the electorate has become more polarized, campaign tacticians have become more focussed on getting their own voters to the polls than on persuading others to change their allegiance. This year, the Obama campaign has a two-part strategy. First, they made what the campaign manager Jim Messina calls a 'grand bet,' spending heavily on a summer airwave blitz, with ads designed to soften up Mitt Romney in the eyes of voters; second, they have created a volunteer army on the ground to carry victory home.""

Applying the 'Ground Game' (Doyle McManus) from the Los Angeles Times 
""There's lots of research … that talking to people face to face makes them more likely to vote," an Obama campaign official told me. "It helps to have their own neighbors talk with them. It helps to ask them when they plan to vote, and how they plan to get there; that way, they visualize themselves doing it. It helps to ask them to make a commitment." Does that sound a little Orwellian? Maybe. But it's being done by both sides. And it's encouraging, in an odd way, that it works best face to face, by volunteers from your own neighborhood. There's something refreshingly low-tech about that."

First Weekend Of Early Voting Favors Obama In Battleground Nevada (Reid Wilson) from National Journal
"Obama's campaign, and Democrats across Nevada, depend on the constituency politics at play in this largely African American neighborhood. More specifically, Democratic hopes depend on getting those voters most likely to back the president to the polls, and an early voting station is set up in the Buy Low store. ... After two days of early voting in Nevada, Democrats boast that figures released by county elections officials show they hold a significant lead."

Taxing My Patience (Frank Bruni) from the New York Times
"Romney’s bunk, like his pension, is bigger. Or at least seems to be. We can’t know for sure, because he won’t give us details. He says that his proposed 20 percent cut in marginal rates won’t sap the Treasury because of all the tax loopholes he’ll close, but then he won’t name which loopholes. His vagueness serves a dual purpose. It prevents voters from panicking about a lost deduction and analysts from checking his math. There’s no math to check."

He Carries a Big Shtick (Brian Katulis) from the New York Daily News 
"Rhetorically, Romney presents himself as the reincarnation of Theodore Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan — as a strong, proud, principled leader in a turbulent world. He contrasts this with a ridiculous caricature of President Obama as a shrinking Jimmy Carter clone with muddled ideas and a shaky belief in America. This cartoon script is little more than a ploy to divert voters’ attention from the reality that Romney's foreign policy is an empty shell lacking a solid inner core. The closer you look beneath the rhetoric, the less you see."

The Tea Party is Helping Democrats (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post 
"There are those who say that the tea party is fading in influence, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the movement is on the cusp of achieving what once seemed nearly impossible: keeping the Senate Democratic."

Fiona is "The Dog of the Year 2012" by the ASPCA from Hope for Paws
"Just one day after it was announced that Fiona is "The Dog of the Year 2012" by the ASPCA (see post below), I am posting a NEW VIDEO for you guys."

The latest rescue video from Eldad Hagar and Hope for Paws!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

News Nuggets 1089

DAYLEE PICTURE: A storm & double rainbow over Crater Lake in Oregon.  From the National Geographic.

Fidel Castro Suffered a Stroke, Venezuelan Doctor Says from the Miami Herald
"A Naples doctor said former Cuban leader Fidel Castro is near ‘a neurovegetative state’ after suffering a stroke."

DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Appeals Court In New York from the Huffington Post
"A divided federal appeals court in Manhattan struck down the Defense of Marriage Act Thursday as unconstitutional, joining an appeals court in Boston in rejecting the law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court is expected to take up the case in the next year."

The Burden of a Black President (Ta-Nehisi Coates) from the Atlantic 
"Losing is always a bitter pill, but the taint doubles when the loss belongs not merely to you, but to that nation you represent. The taint triples when your nation is held as a pariah class, for your advances represent the possibility of their own advance out of degradation, and your regressions are ever held as affirming the logic of their status."

The Libya Moment (Steve Coll) from the New Yorker
"President Obama has over the last four years become a national-security practitioner in that intense, confining sense, and he had an authentic moment of succinct, controlled fury when Mitt Romney—who has never written condolence letters to the families of fallen soldiers—pressed some conspiracy-tinted, ill-conceived talking points about the attack last month at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, too far. The result was the most vivid moment—perhaps the most lasting moment—of Tuesday night’s Presidential debate. It exposed, too, a limitation of Romney’s that has not attracted much scrutiny: he evidently does not know very much about terrorism or Al Qaeda-related groups in Libya or anywhere else."

Ground Game: Obama Opens Up Big Lead in State Headquarters (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"As of mid-October, the Obama campaign has 755 offices nationwide for its get-out-the-vote effort—nearly three times as many as the Romney

Obama Resilient in Swing State Polls (Nate Silver) from the New York Times 
"Of the 13 polls of swing states released on Thursday, President Obama held leads in 11 of them."

About that Gallup Poll: Is Romney Really Up by 7? And Will Obama Win the Election Anyway? (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"If Gallup is right, then that looks to me like we’re headed for an electoral college/popular vote split. Last night, I spoke with Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, to ask him if I was missing something. He said I wasn’t. “That’s certainly what it looks like,” he says. But Newport was cautious in interpreting his numbers."

Romney’s Facts are Curious Things (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post 
"A key part of his message is thoroughly discredited."

Obama courts female voters, accuses GOP rival Romney of suffering from a case of ‘Romnesia’ from the Associated Press via the Washington Post 
"President Barack Obama offered a mocking medical diagnosis Friday for what he considers rival Mitt Romney’s bout with shifting positions: “Romnesia.” Making a direct gender-pitch in hotly contested Virginia, Obama told a crowd of women and college students that when it comes to issues important to women’s health and jobs, Romney has conveniently overlooked his past stands."

What Mitt Romney Learned from his First Race (Jason Horowitz) from the Washington Post
"The Republican presidential nominee’s initial foray into the political arena, a challenge against Ted Kennedy, was a race he told family members he could not win. That cautious first step mirrors his current uncharted spot in politics."

CT-SEN: New UConn/Courant Poll Shows Murphy Ahead of McMahon from the Hartford Courant
"After emphasizing women's issues and increasing his support among females, Democrat Chris Murphy has pulled ahead of Republican Linda McMahon by 6 percentage points in the U.S. Senate race in the latest University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant poll."

A Dog's Grace (Kimberlee Auerbach Berlin) from the New York Times
"This is why it's scary to love anything."

From androgynous trousers with a 20-inch waist to showstopping goddess gowns, Katharine Hepburn's style celebrated in new exhibition from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Hollywood legend, Katharine Hepburn was an early pioneer of androgynous fashion, appearing on set dressed in high-waisted pants and button-down shirts. And now a new exhibition, which opened in New York today, pays homage to the late actress' chic sense of style, which was decidedly unconventional in the Thirties and Forties, when feminine dresses were the order of the day."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

News Nuggets 1088

DAYLEE PICTURE:A forest of coraline algae and kelp stalks swaying in the current around Cortes Bank in California.  From National Geographic.

China's Growth Continues to Slow from the Wall Street Journal [partial subscription wall]
"Growth in China's gross domestic product fell to 7.4% in the third quarter compared with a year earlier, China's National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday, down from 7.6% in the second quarter and the weakest since the beginning of 2009."

Hunted: A First-hand Account of Gaddafi’s Desperate Last Days from the Washington Post
"Gaddafi’s final days are detailed in a new report from Human Rights Watch, which painstakingly reconstructs his movements — and those of the citizen militia that captured and executed him — over his final weeks. At many points, the story rests on the account of loyalist fighters who were with him and sometimes on the recollection of a single associate whose information is difficult or impossible to verify, but it is so far the most complete account we have of the final days of the “mad dog of the Middle East.”"

Officials: Obama Ready to Veto a Bill Blocking ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Without Tax Hike for Rich from the Washington Post
"President Obama is prepared to veto legislation to block year-end tax hikes and spending cuts, collectively known as the “fiscal cliff,” unless Republicans bow to his demand to raise tax rates for the wealthy, administration officials said. Freed from the political and economic constraints that have tied his hands in the past, Obama is ready to play hardball with Republicans, who have so far successfully resisted a deal to tame the debt that includes higher taxes, Obama’s allies say."

Voters say Obama Beat Romney in Second Debate from Reuters
"Forty-eight percent of registered voters gave the victory to Obama, while 33 percent say Romney prevailed in the Tuesday debate, the online poll found. The poll reflects the broad consensus of debate observers who said Obama's forceful approach gave him the upper hand over Romney, who was widely seen as the victor in their first matchup on October 3."

The Hofstra Debate Through the Eyes of the Pundits (Daniel Politi) from Slate
"Before the second presidential debate kicked off, the conventional wisdom among many political pundits was that the town hall format did not lend itself well to political attacks. Boy, were they proved wrong."

Obama's Epic Debate Performance and Romney's Implosion (Bob Cesca) from the Huffington Post
"Not only did President Obama significantly redeem himself from his lackluster first debate, but he delivered one of the top two or three finest debate performances I've ever witnessed. That's a big statement, but indeed Barack Obama and Bill Clinton can certainly enjoy the same debate-master company after Tuesday night."

Romney Goes from Etch a Sketch to Sketchy (EJ Dionne) from the Washington Post
"For Obama’s supporters, the fact that the president played offense, had a strategy and seemed happy in his work was reason enough for elation. But the most electorally significant performance was Romney’s. Under pressure this time, the former Massachusetts governor displayed his least
attractive sides."

Group Behind Romney’s ‘Binders Full Of Women’ Doesn’t Remember Story The Way Romney Does from Talking Points Memo
"The binders of prospective female appointees that Romney claimed to have had compiled upon being elected to the top job in the Bay State a decade ago were actually made without his guidance before he won, officials with MassGAP, an advocacy group focused on getting more women into top
Massachusetts government jobs, said Wednesday."

Team Romney Won't Rein in GOP Nominee During Third Debate (Justin Sink) from The Hill
"Mitt Romney's campaign indicated Wednesday they have no plans to rein in the GOP nominee during the third and final presidential debate. Romney's aggressive performance Tuesday night — directly challenging President Obama and quarreling with moderator Candy Crowley — had Democrats and even some Republicans arguing he came across as too assertive, which could turn off undecided voters."
Romney finds himself in a box.  The GOP base desperately wants him to be aggressive and assertive in the debates -- but as Tuesday's performance shows, Romney is prone to be petty, quarrelsome and "unpresidential" when he really goes there, characteristics that not only turn off moderate and many independent voters but also tend to turn off most of the pundit class, even many conservatives.  It's unclear to me whether this little missive from The Hill is really what Team Romney plans -- or just some red herring thrown out for their base.  Given Romney's relative weakness on foreign policy and Obama's skill as political counter-puncher, a "not-reined-in" Romney could be Obama's best friend in debate #3.

Leaked Audio Captures Romney Asking Employers To Tell Their Employees How To Vote from Think Progress
"Romney: I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. ..."

GOP’s Problems Exposed in Struggle for Senate from Politico
"In 2010, when Republicans stumbled on what had been a clear path to winning control of the Senate, GOP operatives comforted themselves with a defiant vow: Just wait ‘til next time. Now, next time is here — and the GOP is in danger of blowing its shot at a majority for the second cycle in a row."

Islamic Inscriptions On Obama’s Wedding Ring, And Other Things I Learned At A Romney Debate Watch Party from Think Progress
"If I learned anything from watching last night’s presidential debate in a room full of Mitt Romney supporters, it’s that President Obama cannot speak English, wanted Americans in Benghazi to die, hopes America will be taken over by the Islamic world, carries a literal Communist Party card, and should be sent back to Mexico. These were among the accusations flying at a Romney debate watch party Tuesday night ..."
The folks at this party are so dauntingly stupid, it takes one's breath away!

MA-SEN: Poll: Warren Up By 9 In Massachusetts Senate Race from Talking Points Memo
"Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren has built a 9-point lead over Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) in the closely watched Massachusetts Senate race, a poll released Wednesday shows."

'The Hobbit': Peter Jackson Replaced Guillermo Del Toro, But Kept Some Of His Ideas from the Huffington Post
"Del Toro, who co-wrote the film with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, was eventually replaced by Jackson, and the rest is history: Three Jackson-directed "Hobbit" films will arrive between now and July of 2015."
I had not heard that this prequel series had evolved into THREE films!  Check out the trailer that accompanies this story!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

News Nuggets 1087

DAYEE PICTURE: A 1-year-old gibbon in a zoo in Thailand.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Saudi Textbooks Incite Hate, Say Leaders in American Publishing (Harold Evans) from the Daily Beast
"Despite promises to reform their textbooks, the Saudi education system continues to indoctrinate children with hatred and incitement. Seven current and former heads of major publishing houses address the critical importance of words."

Power of the Court: The Next President Could Appoint Two New Justices from the Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Four members of the court are in their 70s -- Antonin Scalia, 76, Anthony M. Kennedy, 76, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 79, and Stephen G. Bryer, 74. So it's a fair bet that the candidate who wins on Nov. 6 will make at least one, maybe two appointments to the court."

Obama Leads 51-46 in Ohio from Public Policy Polling
"The key finding on this poll may be how the early voters are breaking out. 19% of people say they've already cast their ballots and they report having voted for Obama by a 76-24 margin. Romney has a 51-45 advantage with those who haven't voted yet, but the numbers make it clear that he already has a lot of ground to make up in the final three weeks before the election."

Did Liberal Hysteria Sink Obama? (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine 
"It’s hard to figure out just how the first presidential debate turned into such an overwhelming political debacle for President Obama. ... It seem as though a seismic wave of panic and demoralization spread out from the liberal elite during the debate and continues to wash over the campaign."

Now -- for lots of reactions to last night's debates!!
Tripping Over the Threshold Of an Actual Issue (Ed Kilgore) from the Washington Monthly
"Conservatives are beside themselves today attacking Crowley for
intervening, and also claiming that although she was technically right, Romney was ultimately correct in accusing the administration of insufficient clarity in blaming the killings on jihadist terrorist groups. To which I reply: too bad. This is what can happen when demagogues make a slip."

Mitt Romney's Missteps in Libyan Exchange Produce Viral Video Moment He Can Never Erase (Meteor Blades) from Daily Kos
"It was a major miscalculation. You could see from Mitt Romney's demeanor in the Tuesday night exchange over Libya that he saw himself catching President Obama in a "gotcha" moment. Instead he got got, producing one of the debate moments that has since gone viral to his campaign's detriment."

Live-Blogging The "Strangers With Candy" Debate (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast
" To my mind, Obama dominated Romney tonight in every single way: in substance, manner, style, and personal appeal. He came back like a lethal, but restrained predator. He was able to defend his own record, think swiftly on his feet, and his Benghazi answer was superb. He behaved like a president."

The Re-Emergence of dick Romney (Markos Moulitsas) from Daily Kos
"I watched CNN's feed because of their dial focus group of undecided voters. ... One thing you see very clearly is that these undecideds really hate personal attacks. ... By the middle of the debate, the dial group had decided they didn't like Romney and punished him with tepid responses to even his better answers. See what had happened here?  People realized that Mitt Romney is a dick."

Obama Had Everything On the Line and Delivered, While Romney Sputtered (Robert Shrum) from the Daily Beast
"Sit down, Mitt—the president just passed you by. Robert Shrum breaks down Romney’s mistakes, Obama’s success—and why Republicans are already trying to turn the public against Candy Crowley."

Round 2: Obama (Marc Ambinder) from The Week
"What I thought: Obama killed it. He outdebated Romney, he never once seemed churlish, he had a better command of the facts, and he conveyed the aura of a man who is confident about his choices. Romney kept hitting bumps."

Obama's Triumph (Robert Wright) from the Atlantic
"My instant reaction to the debate: I'm kind of amazed at how well Obama did. Granted, I'm an Obama supporter and a pessimist, so I guess I went into the debate with low expectations. Still: ... Republican flacks had invested hugely in this issue going into the debate, clearly seeing it as a major vulnerability, and I assumed the best Obama could hope for here was a draw. But he actually prevailed."

Mitt Romney's Peevish, Prickly Debate Flop (Joshua Green) from Businessweek
"I thought Mitt Romney’s second debate was nearly as bad as Barack Obama’s first debate. ... Obama greatest strength was that he showed up prepared. Romney relied heavily on brute assertion. ... Romney, too, came equipped with plenty of facts. But in his answers, he seemed to be mentally shuffling through his talking points, often without managing to pull the right one."

Barack is Back: Calms Base, was 'Coiled Like a Cat' -- Romney Misses Opportunities but Stays in Game -- Race Back to Jump Ball for Moms (Mike Allen) from Politico
"Last night was Governor Romney’s last, best chance, because the next debate is foreign policy, where President Obama is strong. ...  But at least in obvious rewards, Obama got a ton more out of last night than Romney did."

Obama Finally Fights -- and Wins (John Cassidy) from the New Yorker 
"Even Charles Krauthammer and Laura Ingraham said that he won on points. With this type of unanimity, the media narrative for the next few days, which is at least as important as the debate itself, will run in favor of Obama and against Romney. The G.O.P. candidate, rather than being praised for having delivered a strong indictment of Obama’s economic record—the CBS News poll showed that sixty-five per cent of viewers thought he won the economic exchanges, against just thirty-seven per cent who thought Obama did—will be criticized for his blunders on Libya, guns, and women."

Romney Somehow Manages to Bungle His Biggest Opportunity to Attack on Foreign Policy (Daniel Larison) from the American Conservative
"Romney has no foreign policy experience, and tonight everyone clearly saw that. He is superficially conversant with foreign policy issues, but hasn’t taken the time to learn enough about them to speak about them effectively or persuasively. Romney’s bad judgment and his lack of preparation on this front were on display, and it has probably become clear to a much wider audience that Romney lacks important qualifications for the Presidency."

2 Points on the Second Debate (James Fallows) from the Atlantic
"1) Obama was as strong and "on" tonight as he was weak and flat the first time.  2) In debate #1, Romney illustrated one of the main points about his debate performance: how good he can be when prepared. In debate #2, he illustrated the other: that he can be rattled, off-message, and
error-prone when caught in a surprise move."
Fallows then goes on to explain these two points.

Understanding the Undecided (Brian McFadden) from Daily Kos

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

News Nuggets 1086

DAYLEE PICTURE: Chile's Torres Del Paine National Park.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Student Loan Mimics Subprime Mortgage Industry (Natasha Lennard) from Salon
"Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report shows all too familiar complaints from besieged borrowers."

Why the Early Vote Looks Good for Democrats (Aaron Blake) from the Washington Post
"It’s still very early in the early voting process, but at least for now, Democrats can be optimistic that they are building a lead in the 2012 presidential race. Absentee and early voting data from nine states that are generally viewed as competitive at the presidential level show Democrats requesting and returning more absentee ballots than they did in 2008 in Florida and Iowa."

Supreme Court Approves Ohio Early Voting On Final Weekend Before Election Day (Dan Froomkin) from the Huffington Post
"Ohio Republican leaders said their motivation was to make things easier for election administrators. But the appellate court noted that some Ohio election administrators actually preferred having those extra days of voting -- and that in either case, the "proffered interest in smooth election administration" wasn't sufficient reason."

2012 Polls Continue To Show Close Race Nationwide, Obama Edge In Battleground States (Mark Blumenthal) from the Huffington Post
"Although the national vote estimate has been slightly narrower over the past week and has tipped slightly to Romney at times, Obama has maintained an advantage in these crucial battleground states."

Blumenthal gets a two-fer:
2012 Polls Explained: The Truth Behind Obama And Romney's Scattered Numbers (Mark Blumenthal) from the Huffington Post
"Over the last two weeks, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney closed the gap on President Barack Obama in pre-election polls, but the sometimes inconsistent numbers have been confusing. Why do polls seem to be all over the place? And how could Romney be leading in some national polls while Obama holds an advantage in polling in the battleground states?"

Against Our Debate Obsession (Alec MacGillis) from the New Republic 
"Yeah, those are big stakes. And you know what? That's nuts. It's nuts that through some combination of media obsession and voter behavior (good luck distinguishing between those two -- it's the ultimate chicken and the egg conundrum) we've found ourselves in a situation where we believe the election of the next president, a process we've been engaged in for the better part of the past year, resides to a great degree on what happens over the course of a few remaining hours of television."

Will Obama Bounce Back or Fall Below His Floor? (Michael Scherer) from Time Magazine
"At the time, a senior Obama adviser told me that whatever bad things happened, they could take comfort in one thing: The campaign had polled enough in the swing states to know Obama had a high minimum level of support. He could dip, his campaign believed, but he wasn’t going to collapse. The last two weeks seem to have born that out."

Obama, Romney Look to Channel Bill Clinton in Next Debate from The Hill 
"Both Mitt Romney and President Obama are looking to channel one man at Tuesday night's debate: former President Bill Clinton. According to political consultants on both sides of the aisle, Clinton's 1992 performance against then-President George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot serves the gold standard of the town-hall format."
If both are looking to channel Bill Clinton, I look to Obama to do that more effectively -- but the debate is made up of an audience of "undecided" voters.  This DOES NOT favor Obama.  Why?  Undecideds tend to lean to the right.  Said another way, people on the right side of the spectrum are much more likely to describe themselves as "undecided" even though they are (ultimately) way more likely to vote for the GOP candidate than the Democratic candidate.  Second, undecideds tend to be low information voters; they tend to rely on snippets of headlines and whatever the latest meme is from one side or another.  As a practical matter, more hard, well articulated information from or about the candidates rarely impacts these people.  Whatever the latest story line or dominant media narrative is carries much more weight with most of these folks.  Having said that, I've seen Obama do AWESOME town hall Q & As.  Not so much from Romney.

Romney Is Attacked by His Father’s Longtime Aide from the New York Times 
"“While it seems that Mitt would say and do anything to close a deal – or an election,” he wrote, “George Romney’s strength as a politician and public officeholder was his ability and determination to develop and hold consistent policy positions over his life.”"

Koch Sued by Executive Claiming He Was Held Captive from the Bloomberg News Service
"William Koch held a senior executive of his Oxbow energy company captive for almost two days after discovering his concerns about a plan to avoid U.S. taxes on $200 million in profit, the now ex-employee said in a lawsuit."

Monday, October 15, 2012

News Nuggets 1085

DAYLEE PICTURE: Close-up of the teeth of a crocodile.  From National Geographic.

Benghazi: The October Mirage (Joe Klein) from Time Magazine
"For the life of me, I can’t understand why the Republicans are harping so hard on the Benghazi security debacle–except, maybe, you know…politics. There is no reason, or evidence, that the request of a consulate–or even an embassy–for beefed up security would ever get anywhere near the President’s desk."

China's High-Speed Crash (Evan Osnos) from the New Yorker
"A deadly train wreck exposes the dark side of China's economic boom."

Asking the 3 a.m. Question (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post 
"Any presidential election is in part a referendum on the 3 a.m. question: Whom do you trust to answer and make a wise decision if the red phone rings in the middle of the night with a nuclear crisis? ... And it should help concentrate our minds that this month marks the 50th anniversary of the most dangerous moment in modern American history, the Cuban missile crisis."

The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent (Chrystia Freeland) from the New York Times
"Elites that have prospered from inclusive systems can be tempted to pull up the ladder they climbed to the top. Eventually, their societies become extractive and their economies languish. That was the future predicted by Karl Marx, who wrote that capitalism contained the seeds of its own destruction. And it is the danger America faces today..."

The GOP’s Demographics Problem from the Boston Globe
"If demographics is destiny, the Republican Party has a rendezvous with irrelevance — unless its policies change. This is the message some Republican leaders have been sending in the closing weeks of the presidential campaign. “The demographics race we’re losing badly,” Senator Lindsey Graham recently told the Washington Post with characteristic bluntness. “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”"

Obamacare Gets My Vote: Romney and Ryan's Alternative Nearly Killed Me (Clancy Sigal) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"I'm critical of Obama's presidency, but my medical emergency convinced me that for Obamacare alone we must re-elect him."

Obama Campaign Hypes Expectations For Second Debate from Talking Points Memo
"Reeling from an admittedly lousy performance in the first presidential debate, President Obama’s reelection team is building up expectations for Round Two against Mitt Romney this Tuesday evening in Long Island."

Democrats Say Obama Will Be More Aggressive, Energetic in Second Debate Tuesday (Daniel Politi) from Slate
"David Axelrod, another Obama adviser, told Fox News that the president would be making “adjustments” and voters can expect the president to be “aggressive in making the case for his views of where we should go as a country.” Yet CNN’s Kevin Liptak points out that Obama may not be able to be as aggressive as some Democrats would like because of the debate’s town hall format, “which requires a likability factor not completely compatible with aggressive attacks.”"
Obama faces a tough choice tomorrow evening -- does he basically try to re-do debate #1 and be more aggressive/assertive/combative OR does he try to play to the town hall format and emphasize the Bill Clinton "feel your pain" side"?  All the prep in the world won't matter if he chooses wrong on this fundamental question.  My guess: he should Bill Clinton this crowd -- and A LOT of pundits out there are saying the opposite, that he should really "bring it" to Romney.  The danger there lies in making Romney look like the cool/calm/collected moderate with Obama flailing and attacking in ways that turn off the audience.  Obama should play to his strength, that he DOES feel people's pain and that he connects in ways that Romney rarely does.  Unfortunately, after Debate #1, Obama cannot play it safe this time around.  Whichever he does, he really needs to go for it and pull it out.

PPP: Obama Weathers Post-Debate Fallout, Leads Ohio By 5 from Talking Points Memo
"The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows Obama leading Mitt Romney among likely Ohio voters, 51 percent to 46 percent. That’s little change from PPP’s pre-debate poll of Ohio two weeks ago, which showed Obama up 4."

Don't Worry, Obama's Still Got This (Toure) from the New York Daily News
"Despite a bad debate and some rough polls, the President remains in the driver's seat."

Bill & Hillary Forever (John Heilemann) from New York Magazine
"If Obama wins, it may be because the former president saved his presidency—but what exactly do the Clintons get in return?"

How the GOP Destroyed its Moderates (Jonathan Chait) from the New Republic 
"Thus the “debate” in the Republican Party is entirely between genuine ideological warriors and unwilling conscripts, with intraparty skirmishes generally taking the form of hunts for secret heresies. In this sense, Romney’s capture of the nomination is perfectly emblematic of the state of the party."

HONEY BEE NUGGET [of a sort]!!
Colored Honey Made by Candy-Eating French Bees from National Geographic 
"Beekeepers in northeastern France found themselves in a sticky situation after bees from their hives began producing honey in shades of blue and green (pictured). ... An investigation by beekeepers in the town of Ribeauville (map) uncovered the cause of the problem: Instead of collecting nectar from flowers, local bees were feeding on remnants of colored M&M candy shells, which were being processed by a biogas plant roughly 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) away."
Were they shells from plain or peanut M&Ms? Inquiring minds want to know!  For real, bakers and candy makers AROUND THE WORLD are taking notes about this!!

The Fastest Thing That Ever Flew Takes Two Days to Cover 12 Mile Journey Through LA Streets to Museum from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight on Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar to the California Science Center.  Operators are walking beside Endeavour - top speed two miles per hour - maneuvering the craft over freeways and through residential neighborhoods, and some spots are narrower than Endeavour's wingspan."

Friday, October 12, 2012

News Nuggets 1083

DAYLEE PICTURE: A close-up of a hummingbird.  From the Daily mail of the UK.

Report Says Forced Evictions Rise in China from Al Jazeera English 
"Demolitions of residential areas have become common in China due to a surge in real estate prices. ... A rapid construction boom has led to a rise in people being forcibly removed from their homes and land, according to a rights group. A report released by Amnesty International on Thursday says the escalation of evictions in the past three years has been driven by massive stimulus spending after the global financial crisis."
A real estate surge -- on top of what already looks like a real estate bubble in China?!

A Conservative Split Over the Middle East (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"Romney’s moderation is partly a continuation of his pivot to the center. But it also reflects the lack of consensus among conservatives on what to do about the turmoil in the Middle East."

The Story of Obama (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast
"I think the GOP recognized the profound threat Obama represented, the magnitude of their failure, and have done all they could to stop him getting the second term he always needed to fulfill his promise and check them for a generation. They have failed, by and large."

Biden Bites Back! Finger-jabbing Joe Gives Ryan a Bruising in Electrifying Debate... but Will it Turn Round Obama's Campaign? from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A finger-jabbing Joe Biden gave Paul Ryan a bruising tonight in an
electrifying vice-presidential debate that will delight Democrats after President Barack Obama's poor showdown with Mitt Romney."

Biden Shows Obama How to Debate from the editorial board of the Bloomberg News Service
"If the vice presidency, as John Nance Garner famously said, isn’t worth a bucket of warm spit, then what’s a vice-presidential debate worth? As it turns out, thankfully, something more than a bucket of warm spit. Last night’s sit-down between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican
vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan was useful in both substance and style. It may not have changed many minds, but it clarified a lot of differences."

After Fiery Florida Rally, Obama Heads to Debate School from the New York Times
"With time running short to campaign, the president’s aides have made debate preparation a top priority."

The Generation War (David Brooks) from the New York Times
"The vice-presidential debate provided a look at two different eras in American family life. It was “The Honeymooners” versus “Family Ties.”"

Very Quick Thoughts on the VP Debate (Josh Marshall) from Talking Points Memo
"Biden said it all. And for Democrats around the country that was extremely important. For reasons that are complicated and juvenile, during his vice presidency a caricature has emerged of Biden as some sort of Crazy Irish Uncle, gaffetastic and corny, a risible figure. That left people unprepared for what they saw tonight. Ryan was unprepared too. Biden’s actually one of sharpest guys in Washington and has been for decades."

Robert Shrum on the Vice Presidential Debate: Biden’s Win Was a Big It Was a Big F@$&ing Deal (Robert Shrum) from the Daily Beast
"It’s no contest—Biden nailed it. But Obama still needs to seal the deal. Robert Shrum on the three things that will determine the outcome of the presidential race—and why they all point toward a Democratic victory."

Big Bad Biden (Frank Bruni) from the New York Times
"Seldom have the words “my friend” been laced with so much arsenic. Joe Biden used them again and again Thursday night in reference to Paul Ryan, even as he painted the young Congressman as callow, shallow, mendacious and misinformed. Seldom has a split screen yielded such vigorous facial calisthenics."

GOP Not Smiling Over Biden's Laughter at Debate vs. Ryan (Alicia M. Cohn) from The Hill
"Vice President Biden's laughter during the vice presidential debate Thursday night is still the talk of Twitter on Friday morning, and is turning into one of the most memorable aspects of the first and only VP debate this cycle."
The GOP meme is that Biden "wasn't giving the issues the seriousness they deserved."  No -- the issues  are serious.  It is only republican and conservative solutions that deserve raucous heckling!!

In Vice Presidential Debate, Biden Puts Ryan on the Defensive (E.J. Dionne Jr.) from the Washington Post
"Biden was hot, avuncular, occasionally sarcastic, and always engaged. He laughed a lot, and never let a point slip. I am certain that the cheers in Democratic living rooms around the country were as loud as the sighs of relief. That alone was vital to Obama. Demoralized Democrats themselves contributed to the story line of Obama’s failure in the first debate. The days of demoralization are over."

New Polls Suggest Democratic Freakout May Be Premature from the Talking Points Memo
"While Mitt Romney clearly did some damage in the debate, a raft of swing state polls from major news outlets Thursday indicate President Obama may have put a floor on his drop."

2012 Polls Show Romney Gaining, But Key Swing States Still Tip To Obama (Blumenthal & Edwards-Levy) from the Huffington Post
"With less than four weeks remaining in the race for president, a batch of new polls confirms that Republican nominee Mitt Romney has gained ground since last week's debate, but shows him continuing to lag behind President Barack Obama by narrow margins in some of the key swing states that will decide the election."

Mitt Romney: People Don't 'Die In Their Apartment Because They Don't Have Insurance' from the Huffington Post
Earth to Romney: Yes, they do
""We don't have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don't have insurance," Romney said in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch's editorial board on Wednesday. While it's difficult to tell how many people die each year from lack of health insurance, one study, from a health care advocacy group, puts the number at 26,000 deaths per year."

Did Swing States Hate Romney’s Debate Performance? (John Aravosis) from Americablog
"It looks like the swing states really didn’t like Romney’s debate performance.  It looks like Romney debate “win” was really a “loss” in the states he needs to win in November. Read on."

Obama May be Over-Performing in the Swing States (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Indeed, despite all the headlines you’re seeing this morning, the real story in today’s NBC/WSJ and NYT/CBS swing state polls is how little movement there has been in key battlegrounds, not how much. ... Geoff Garin, the pollster for the Obama-allied Priorities USA, tells me that his polling shows that views of Romney are more fixed in the battlegrounds than nationally. “In the swing states, voters are much more apt and able to quote back the main case against Romney,” he tells me."

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Amid flurry of new polls, Senate Outlook Stays Positive for Dems (David Nir) from Daily Kos
"A ton of Senate polling came out late Wednesday and throughout the day on Thursday. "