Assad's Playbook Is Now Empty (Robin Wright) from the Atlantic
"The last of the three conditions keeping Syria's dictator in power finally collapsed this week."
Under Siege, Damascus Gets Desperate for Food and Fuel (Mikel Ayestaran) from the Daily Beast
"As rebel fighters advance on the Syrian capital, those caught in the middle suffer from food, gas, and power shortages. Mikel Ayestaran on how Damascus residents are struggling to ride out the storm."
American Bull (Roger Cohen) from the New York Times
"... this may seem like an odd moment to be bullish on America. But I am. The main reason is the huge shift already underway in the politics of energy and oil. The change has been underappreciated. It may be summed up in a single sentence buried in the 166-page study just published by the U.S. National Intelligence Council: “By 2020, the U.S. could emerge as a major energy exporter.”"
I am not nearly so optimistic as Mr. Cohen about America's energy future.
Fed Ties Stimulus to Jobs, Inflation in Unprecedented Steps to Bolster Economy from the Washington Post
"The Federal Reserve will take steps to bolster the economy until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent or inflation looks likely to exceed 2.5 percent, the central bank said Wednesday in a historic move that for the first time specifies the Fed’s goals for the nation’s economy."
Jobless Claims Fall Sharply, Recover from Sandy from Reuters
"The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell for a fourth straight week last week, pointing to steady healing in the labor market."
The G.O.P.’s Existential Crisis (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"...what we’re having is a political crisis, born of the fact that one of our two great political parties has reached the end of a 30-year road. The modern Republican Party’s grand, radical agenda lies in ruins — but the party doesn’t know how to deal with that failure, and it retains enough power to do immense damage as it strikes out in frustration."
Rove: Obama Wants Republican “Civil War” (Jillian Rayfield) from Salon
"Obama is playing the long game in the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, Rove says ... In an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove accused President Obama of pushing for a “civil war” within the Republican Party, and using the “fiscal cliff” negotiations to shore up his party’s position for 2014."
Boy, THAT OBAMA! He is SOOO mean!!
On The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ from the National Memo
"Here are five reasons the Republicans have little to no leverage on the “fiscal cliff” other than a threat that the president will begin his second term cleaning up another Republican-sparked economic crisis."
Resisting the 'No Surrender' Temptation (Philip Klein) from the Washington Examiner
A modestly sane conservative expresses his skepticism of fellow right-wingers. "Like most conservatives, I don't want to see Republicans cave in to President Obama's demands for higher taxes. ... At the same time, though, the conservative arguments for how Republicans can get everything they want from Obama -- if only they stand firm -- are thoroughly unconvincing."
Destructive Anti-Tax Fanaticism (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Republicans ran in the last election on a platform hugely tilted towards spending cuts. Republicans, of course, lost that election. Yet here you have a House conservative continuing to insist on an absurdly lopsided imbalance. It’s as if the election never happened."
A Quiet Shove for Susan Rice (Ruth Marcus) from the Washington Post
"... although I do not think this was conscious on the part of her critics, I cannot help but believe that the attack had something to do with Rice’s gender, and her bristly, non-traditionally feminine demeanor. As I wrote a few weeks ago, “The model of female leader has morphed from Iron Lady to soft power. And the controversy over Rice stems in part from the fact that she does not fit comfortably into this model of collegial, nurturing, division-healing woman.”"
I very much agree with Marcus on this. All you need to do is read the next item by conservative Lloyd Grove at the Daily Beast to see this:
Susan Rice’s Personality 'Disorder' (Lloyd Grove) from the Daily Beast
"Brusque. Aggressive. Undiplomatic. The adjectives used to describe the ambassador aren’t kind. Lloyd Grove on Susan Rice’s polarizing temperament—and why that may matter more than Benghazi."
You have to ask yourself: where were these complaints when W appointed John Bolton as US Ambassador to the UN?! Bolton was the most "Brusque. Aggressive. Undiplomatic (and yes, polarizing)" person I have ever seen nominated for a key diplomatic post!! Ah, -- but you see it's not a problem being these things ... if you are a man.
GOP State Leaders Fumble by Ceding Control of Health Exchanges to Federal Officials, Critics Say (N.C. Aizenman) from the Washington Post
"Faced with a deadline today to submit plans for running the insurance exchange at heart of health-care law, vast majority of GOP-led states plan to work with the federal government."
EPA to Tighten Soot Rules by 20 Percent from the Washington Post
Another reason (if one was needed) why it makes a huge difference having Obama in the White House versus some GOPer.
"The Environmental Protection Agency will tighten the nation’s soot standards by 20 percent Friday, a move that will force communities across the country to improve air quality by the end of the decade while making it harder for some industries to expand operations without strict
The Clinton Model: What the Republican Party Can Learn from Hillary (Ana Marie Cox) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"Four years ago she was beaten and bitter, and now she's practically a shoo-in for 2016. GOP contenders, take note."
In Ignorance We Trust (Timothy Egan) from the New York Times
"... history, the formal teaching and telling of it, has never been more troubled. Two forces, one driven by bottom-line educators answering to corporate demands to phase out the liberal arts, the other coming from the circular firing squad of academics who loathe popular histories, have done much to marginalize our shared narratives."
CHRISTMAS TOY NUGGET!!
All They Want for Christmas from the Daily Beast
"In the spirit of holiday nostalgia, The Daily Beast combed the records of Christmases past for a look at the top-selling toy crazes over the last three decades."