Thursday, May 31, 2012

News Nuggets 985

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
" 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?)" 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?

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 ..."

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

News Nuggets 984

DAYLEE PICTURE: A male Bornean Orangutan in the Moscow Zoo.  From the Atlantic.

Iran Confirms Attack by New Virus That Mines Data from the New York Times 
"The computers of Iranian officials appear to have been penetrated by a data mining virus called Flame, in what may be the most destructive cyberattack since the Stuxnet virus."

Newly Identified Computer Virus, Used for Spying, is 20 Times Size of Stuxnet from the Washington Post
"esearchers have identified a sophisticated new computer virus 20 times the size of Stuxnet, the malicious software that disabled centrifuges in an Iranian nuclear plant. But unlike Stuxnet, the new malware appears to be used solely for espionage. Variously dubbed Flame, Skywiper and Flamer, the new virus is the largest and possibly most complex piece of malware ever discovered, which suggests it is state-sponsored, researchers said."

Is ‘Flame’ The Latest Weapon In A Cyber War Against Iran? from Talking Points Memo
"Iran’s own cyber security agency on Monday released a bulletin confirming that the trojan had been detected in the country, saying that the malware could be behind recent “incidents of mass data loss.” "

Stability Trumps All Other Concerns in China (Yu Jie) from the Washington Post
"Our three fates should remind the world that, contrary to myths and assumptions, economic liberalization and development will not inevitably lead to corresponding political liberalization and development. Economic power has only reinforced an increasingly absurd state power in China."

Before China's Transition, a Wave of Nationalism from the New York Times via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"...there is a simmering sense among educated Chinese that something is missing. The self-doubts are fed by corruption, censorship and the widening gap between the haves and have-nots. Even with their weakened economies, Western countries -- with their rule of law and sense of security -- still have an enduring appeal when contrasted to the vagaries of authoritarian rule."
They have a dangerous nationalistic brew percolating in China these days, a mix of hubris only thinly covering a deep sense of self-doubt and insecurity.  There will be no way for the US to win rhetorically in the face of these attitudes.  If the US is modest and soft-spoken, it is immediately interpreted as a sign of weakness and decline ... and if the US asserts itself than it will be slammed for its anti-Chinese
neo-colonialism and for trying to "keep China down."  And of course, if you are the Chinese authorities in Beijing, anytime you're in trouble (which seems to be most of the time these days), it's really easy to play on this domestic schizophrenia to divert attention away from your own failings in an effort to "save face."  If they aren't careful, though, they could inadvertently whip their own population into an anti-US rage that will actually leave them with no alternative but to do something hasty, ill-conceived and freighted with all kinds of long-term consequence.  

Crackdown on Chinese Bloggers Who Fight the Censors With Puns from the New York Times via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"One of China's largest hosts of Twitter-like microblogs decreed new punishments on Monday for users who post comments that its editors -- and by extension, China's government censors -- deem inappropriate."

Young Men in China Struggling to Catch Up in Class from the New York Times via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"He and his male friends, who have similar experiences, have grown to resent both school and their female counterparts, who Mr. Wan says are smarter and often favored by teachers. "When I go to school, I feel that teachers always encourage girls, not boys," Mr. Wan said. "They say that girls always study harder and have good handwriting and that boys are always naughty and noisy and are troublemakers. I think that boys are suppressed." Educators say that the academic rift between boys and girls in China is apparent, and statistics indicate that it is quickly growing wider."

The Euro's Democratic Deficit (Peter Sutherland) from the New York Times 
"The euro is an undeniable economic achievement, but it needs greater political legitimacy."

The Multifaceted President (Steven T. Dennis) from Roll Call
"It’s a tale of two presidents — the ice-cold killer who orders drone attacks against a secret “kill list” of targets as young as 17, and the peacemaker winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and resisting calls to start new ones."

Will A Hard-Power-Loving Obama Sell? (Michael Hirsh) from the National Journal
"In a powerful one-two punch, The New York Times and Newsweek have just come out with extensively reported articles demonstrating how personally and deeply involved Obama is with killing terrorists--a lot of terrorists. Even to the point of occasionally taking out innocents. ... The question is, now that the image of a Obama-as-hard-power-president seems to be settling in as conventional wisdom, how will that play at the polls?"

College Dropouts Have Debt but No Degree (Ylan Q. Mui and Suzy Khimm) from the Washington Post
"As the nation amasses more than $1 trillion in student loans, education experts say a vexing new problem has emerged: A growing number of young people have a mountain of debt but no degree to show for it. Nearly 30 percent of college students who took out loans dropped out of school, up from fewer than a quarter of students a decade ago"

Conservative Groups Call the Shots on Obamacare Repeal (Joan McCarter) from Daily Kos
"Here's one of the reasons congressional Republicans are in such a mess over what to do about replacing Obamacare if the Supreme Court decides to strike the law down: The extremist groups pulling the strings are out for blood, and damn public opinion. Elected Republicans are starting to talk about the possibility of keeping some of the popular parts of Obamacare; coverage guarantee regardless of pre-existing conditions, young people remaining on their parents' plans up to age 26, the closed Medicare prescription drug "doughnut hole." None of that, say the groups who got a good chunk of them elected."

The Truth About American Politics (George Packer) from the New Yorker 
"A diverse lineup of authors agrees: the extremism of the Republican Party is destroying American politics…"

Sidney Barthwell, Former Classmate, Predicts Trouble For Romney When Debating Obama from the Huffington Post
"Sidney Barthwell, perhaps the only former classmate of both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, thinks the former Massachusetts governor doesn't stand a chance when facing the incumbent president in debates prior to their November electoral contest."

Sarah Palin's Legacy (Markos Moulitsas) from Daily Kos
This look at Rob Portman as Romney's VP pick is pretty hilarious!
"...what does this say about Sarah Palin and her legacy in the GOP, when four years later, Republicans are so traumatized by her existence that they're headed toward the other extreme?"

Next Tea Party Target: Texas (Alex Seitz-Wald) from Salon
"Will another far-right candidate score an upset in the Lone Star State's GOP Senate primary?"

How Did Wisconsin Become the Most Politically Divisive Place in America (Dan Kaufman) from the New York Times
"Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald and the coming recall vote in the land of cheese and rancor."

IL-Sen: Kirk's Ex-wife Files FEC Complaint Questioning Campaign Payments from the Chicago Tribune
These Republicans, Man!!  What is with them and the sordid rancid marital relations they have?  "Please, honey, don't say anything about my other live-in honey ... and I'll pay you big money."   
"Soon after Mark Kirk's ex-wife announced she would no longer support his 2010 run for the U.S. Senate, he brought her onto his campaign team, then quietly paid her after his victory. But Kimberly Vertolli, a lawyer who received $40,000 from the campaign, again is at odds with her ex-husband, filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Kirk and his then-girlfriend may have broken campaign finance law."

The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era from Taegan Godard's Political Wire
Sadly, this book is not due out until August.
"A must-read book out later this summer: The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era by Michael Grunwald. ... Summary: Time senior correspondent Michael Grunwald tells the secret history of the stimulus bill, the purest distillation of Change We Can Believe In, a microcosm of Obama’s policy successes and political failures. Though it is reviled by the right and rejected by the left, it really is a new New Deal, larger than FDR’s and just as transformative. It prevented an imminent depression, while jump-starting Obama’s long-term agenda."

Happy 200th Birthday, War of 1812! (James M. Lundberg) from Slate
"A primer on America’s most bumbling, most confusing, and most forgotten conflict."

The Beach Boys’ Crazy Summer (Andrew Romano) from the Daily Beast
"He heard voices, did drugs and fell apart. Can the band’s reunion tour help put Brian Wilson back together again?"

ROBOT NUGGET [of a sort]!!
"Imagine a tiny snake robot crawling through your body, helping a surgeon identify diseases and perform operations. It's not science fiction." 

Eldad from Hope for Paws (the News Nuggets' officials charity) has been at it again, really showing how unreasonable he and his organization can be in their efforts to get stray dogs off the street and into good homes.  From LA, he flew to Florida to save this one dog.  As I've noted here before, what makes Eldad's mission distinct is his patience and willingness to take often an incredible amount of time and effort to capture a stray -- and to do so with extraordinary compassion for the animal.  It turns out very few organizations or individuals take the time with strays.  They simply give up -- and the smart ones call Eldad.  Here's the video of the rescue.  If you want to see others, he has 100+ at his youtube channel HERE.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

News Nuggets 983

DAYLEE PICTURE: The Roussanou monastery in Meteora, Greece.  From the Daily Mail of the UK. See the other evocative images of remote monasteries HERE.

Russia Condemns Syria Over Massacre of 108 At Houla from the Associated Press via the Huffington Post
"A weekend massacre of more than 100 people emerged as a potential turning point in the Syrian crisis Monday, galvanizing even staunch ally Russia to take an unusually hard line against President Bashar Assad's government."
What hard line?!  Was the Syrian army using someone else's weapons shipment and not the kalashnikovs and armor that they just sent over not TWO DAYS ago? I think the "international community" has to stop barking at Assad and start hurling epithets at the Russians and calling them out in as public a way as possible.

Meet ‘Flame’, The Massive Spy Malware Infiltrating Iranian Computers (Kim Zetter) from Wired Magazine
"A massive, highly sophisticated piece of malware has been newly found infecting systems in Iran and elsewhere and is believed to be part of a well-coordinated, ongoing, state-run cyberespionage operation. The malware, discovered by Russia-based anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab, is an espionage toolkit that has been infecting targeted systems in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, the Israeli Occupied Territories and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa for at least two years."

Merkel's Stubborn March of Folly (John Vancour) from the New York Times 
"Short of a head guillotined into a basket, change puts no letter of official confirmation in the mail. All the same, this assertion: Last week, when Angela Merkel’s government was preparing position papers on how to insert prospects of growth into Germany’s bleak covenant for resolving the European Union’s debt crisis via massive economic and financial constraints, it signaled the dilution of Europe’s strongest swig of unchallenged German leadership since World War II. A single, inflexible and fairly unpalatable German idea that the European Union’s salvation lay alone in making Lisbon function like Ludwigshafen has had its day."

Asia Exposed (Stephen Roach) from Project Syndicate
"For the second time in less than four years, Asia is being hit with a major external demand shock. This time it is from Europe, where a raging sovereign-debt crisis threatens to turn a mild recession into something far worse: a possible Greek exit from the euro, which could trigger contagion across the eurozone. This is a big deal for Asia."

The Closing of the Indian Mind (K. Shankar Bajpai) from The Hindu [of India in English]
"The instruments of state have become increasingly dysfunctional, the failure to implement policies or perform even routine duties now aggravated by the failure to take any decisions. There is one root cause: our decisions and behaviour are shaped by considerations unworthy of a serious people."
Boy, they sound just like Americans!

Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will from the New York Times
"Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be."

The Truth About Uncertainty Is That It’s (Mostly) Untrue from the Editorial Board of the Bloomberg News Service
"Many executives blame Obama’s health- care overhaul for the uncertainty. The law has multiple parts that take effect over many years and, yes, it can be confusing. But the law is the law; it’s been passed. If there is uncertainty, it’s from what Obama’s political opponents are doing: challenging its constitutionality. The possibility that the Supreme Court will overturn the law’s centerpiece, the individual mandate, is driving much of the uncertainty."

How Far We’ve Come on Bigotry (Richard Cohen) from the Washington Post 
"I did not know that schools in some parts of the country, but especially in the South, were segregated. I did not know that blacks and whites could not marry. I did not know that the balconies in movie theaters were reserved for blacks only — as were seats in the back of the bus. I did not know about black and white state parks, water fountains, motels, hotels, funeral homes, churches, bar associations, cab associations, medical associations, cab stands, lunch counters and so much more, including a whole system of justice. ... What I did not know, I fear others do not now know."

Are Liberals Trying to Intimidate John Roberts? (Jeffrey Rosen) from the New Republic
"I suggested that this is a moment of truth for Chief Justice Roberts because I’ve been a staunch supporter of the vision of bipartisanship that he articulated when he became Chief Justice, and have continued to defend him during the past six years when others have denounced him for failing to live up to the standards he set for himself."

Hope: The Sequel  (John Heilemann) from New York Magazine
"the months ahead will provide a bracing revelation about what he truly is: not a savior, not a saint, not a man above the fray, but a brass-knuckled, pipe-hitting, red-in-tooth-and-claw brawler determined to do what is necessary to stay in power—in other words, a politician."

The Next Step in Obama's Attack on Bain Capital (Jamelle Bouie) from the Washington Post
"What’s important to remember about the attack on Bain Capital is that it isn’t the sum total of the Obama campaign’s assault on Mitt Romney. Instead, it’s an opening gambit meant to center the debate on what Romney says is his chief qualification for the presidency — his ability to create jobs using his private-sector know-how."

Romney’s Safest VP Pick, Portman, Plus 9 Safeties, From Ryan to Rubio (Mark McKinnon) from the Daily Beast
"Solid character, plenty of experience, zero risk—that’s why Mitt Romney will choose Rob Portman as his running mate. But nine more, from Chris Christie to Jeb Bush, will at least get an interview, says Mark McKinnon."
It's interesting.  Conservatives and GOP pundits seem to have moments where they seem to epically forget that W's administration ever happened.  Yeah, Jeb Bush is a "safe" VP pick.

Could Latino Voters Turn Deep-Red Texas Democratic by 2020? (Jason Margolis) from the Atlantic
"Some Republicans worry that the party, which goes to the polls Tuesday, could suffer from alienating the state's fastest-growing demographic."

America’s Highways from Hell 2012, From Los Angeles to New York City from the Daily Beast
"Wanting to get out of the city this summer for a weekend or week away? If you’re a commuter in Los Angeles or New York City, you face a daily fight. For the third year, The Daily Beast crunches the numbers to find America’s Highways from Hell."
Pittsburgh's 376 East comes in at No. 10.  Having lived in DC, San Francisco, and NYC -- and the east end of Pittsburgh, all I can say is "no way."  There are easily 3-4 other routes near DC alone that are by orders of magnitude worse than anything seen in Steeler Nation.

Traffic Jam at 30,000 Feet: Chilling Photo Shows Bottleneck on Mount Everest from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A chilling photo of dozens of climbers making their way up Mount Everest shows a deadly traffic jam at 30,000 feet. Mountaineering experts believe a similar bottleneck at the Hillary Step, a 40-foot rock wall at 28,740 feet, was at least partially responsible for the deaths of four climbers last weekend."
What an incredible image!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

News Nuggets 982

DAYLEE PICTURE: Placing flags at Arlington Cemetery. From Foreign Policy Magazine.

Iran Confirms Sending Troops to Syria from YNet News [of Israel in English]
"Islamic Republic admits its forces are aiding Assad's regime in crackdown on pro-democracy protesters; UN's tally of fatalities in Syrian uprising is at 13,000."

Drones: How Obama Learned to Kill (Daniel Klaidman) from Newsweek
"The Obama campaign touts a commander in chief who never flinches, but the truth is more complex. ... Sometimes called “crowd killing,” signature strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan. Obama struggled to understand the concept. Steve Kappes, the CIA’s deputy director, offered a blunt explanation."
A very interesting story on many levels!

Russia Ships Arms to Syria Just Days After Massacre (Andre Tartar) from New York Magazine
"Just two days after government shelling killed 116 people, including at least 32 children, in the central town of Houla, Russia blocked a harsh UN denunciation of the Assad government and (more alarmingly) OK'ed an arms shipment to Syria that should arrive by next weekend."

West Point Is Divided on a War Doctrine’s Fate from the New York Times 
"Faculty at the United States Military Academy are debating what a counterinsurgency strategy gained in Iraq and Afghanistan and whether the doctrine has a future."

Republicans and the Military: No Longer BFFs? from The Week
"A provocative Democracy Arsenal article suggests that some conservatives who claim to be pro-military are routinely throwing obstacles in the Pentagon's way."

OECD Warns Risk of Severe Recession in 17-Country Eurozone is Rising as it Cuts Forecasts from the Washington Post
"The 17-country eurozone risks falling into a “severe recession,” the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned on Tuesday, as it called on governments and Europe’s central bank to act quickly to keep the slowdown from dragging down the global economy ... The report forecasts Europe falling further behind other countries, particularly the United States, whose economy is expected to grow 2.4 percent this year and 2.6 percent next.."
Daily Kos has an interesting analysis of this article HERE.

British Abortion Providers Fear for Safety in Face of U.S.-Style Protests from the Guardian via Raw Story
"Tony Falconer, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, described the American-style protests outside abortion clinics as distressing and humiliating for those preparing to have a termination."

Are Most Americans Really 'Pro-Life'? (Jessica Valenti) from the Nation 
"Basically, when researchers take the time to ask more complicated questions, they get more accurate answers. Reducing the nuance of women’s reproductive health and rights to a political label just minimizes the complexity of the issues and of people’s feelings about them."

An Overdue Abortion Access Expansion (Irwin Carmon) from Salon
"Will Congress let the military cover abortions in the cases of female soldiers who suffer rape or incest?"

Patients Find Each Other Online To Jump-Start Medical Research (Gretchen Cuda-Kroen) from NPR's Morning Edition program
"People with extremely rare diseases are often scattered across the world, and any one hospital has a hard time locating enough individuals to conduct meaningful research. But one woman with an extremely rare heart condition managed to do what many hospitals couldn't. Katherine Leon connected with enough people online to interest the Mayo Clinic in a research trial."

Victory, Unprecedented (Linda Hirshman) from Salon
"How the gay movement's successes surpassed feminism and civil rights -- and became a model for a new era."

Why You Vote the Way You Do from The Week
"Genes play a role, says Jonathan Haidt, but your political outlook is also determined by six moral values."

Democratic Leaders Back Obama’s Bain Strategy vs. Romney, Acknowledge Risks Form the Washington Post
"The Democratic leaders, in numerous interviews over the last week, said they are hearing little or no resistance among the party faithful in their states to a strategy that Republicans have characterized as
anti-capitalist. And Obama has no plans to back off..."

Give ’Em Hell Barry (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post
"Progressives have yearned for President Obama to follow Harry Truman’s strategy from the 1948 campaign by giving his Republican opponents hell. Now that Obama is doing just that, his critics say he’s not looking presidential. As a longtime advocate of the Truman approach (and a fan of Give ’Em Hell Harry and his way of doing politics), I think Obama is doing the right thing."

Mitt Romney Not into ‘Vision Thing’ from Politico
"Mitt Romney has made it clear what he’s against. What he’d be for as president is another question. The presumptive GOP nominee has some Republicans worried he lacks the “vision thing” that has hurt previous presidential candidates and haunted George H.W. Bush in his quest to succeed Ronald Reagan."

Mars Rover Rolls Along from the Washington Post
"The rover used the panoramic camera (Pancam) between about 4:30 and 5 p.m. local Mars time to record images taken through different filters and combined into this mosaic view. Most of the component images were recorded during the 2,888th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's work on Mars on March 9."

Sunday, May 27, 2012

News Nuggets 981

DAYEE PICTURE: Monsoon rain in southern Bangladesh.  From National Geographic.
1.  Britain Fears 'Lost' Generation of Jobless Youth in Europe's Crisis from the McClatchy News Service
"Europe’s economic crisis has fueled a spiraling problem of unemployment among young people, with job seekers aged 15-24 more than twice as likely to be out of work as the average European. Policy makers and experts are warning that a growing number of them could remain locked out of the economy for years to come, posing a long-term challenge to growth and raising questions about the fundamental health of the continent’s labor force."

2.  Charting Obama’s Journey to a Shift on Afghanistan from the New York Times 
"It was just one brief exchange about Afghanistan with an aide late in 2009, but it suggests how President Obama’s thinking about what he once called “a war of necessity” began to radically change less than a year after he took up residency in the White House. ... “Well,” Mr. Obama responded that day, “I’m not going to give them more time.” A year later, when the president and a half-dozen White House aides began to plan for the withdrawal, the generals were cut out entirely. There was no debate, and there were no leaks. "

3.  Iranians Taking Solace in the Past (Camelia Entekhabifard) from the New York Times
"Iran's youth and their elders are praying for progress at the nuclear talks in Baghdad."

4.  Obama Spending Binge Never Happened: Government Outlays Rising at Slowest Pace Since 1950s (Rex Nutting) from the Wall Street Journal 
"Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree. ... Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s."

5.  Why a 'Record Low' Number of Americans are 'Pro-Choice': 5 Theories from The Week
"Gallup reveals a surprising drop in the number of people who call themselves "pro-choice," even as more Americans back gay marriage and the legalization of pot."

6.  Does Tough Love Work With Third Graders? (Michel Martin) from NPR's Tell Me More program
"Most passed but the ones who didn't have to retake it this summer and if they fail a second time, state officials say that they will likely be held back in the third grade. The rule is new in Indiana but other states like Florida have been testing third graders with similar consequences for some time now."

7.  The Ph.D. Now Comes With Food Stamps from the Chronicle of Higher Education
"Ms. Bruninga-Matteau is part of an often overlooked, and growing, subgroup of Ph.D. recipients, adjunct professors, and other Americans with advanced degrees who have had to apply for food stamps or some other form of government aid since late 2007. Some are struggling to pay back student loans and cover basic living expenses as they submit scores of applications for a limited pool of full-time academic positions."

8.  The "Vetting" Obsession (Paul Waldman) from American Prospect
"Conservatives are still hoping to uncover Barack Obama's deepest, darkest secret."

9.  GOP to Modernity: Stop (Andrew Leonard) from Salon
"For House Republicans, the less we know about our country and our planet, the better."

10.  Texas Marches Toward Swing State Status. Only Question is 'When?' (Markos Moulitsas) from Daily Kos
"PPP's latest poll of Texas showed Mitt Romney beating President Barack Obama 50-43 in the presidential head-to-head. That the Republican was winning isn't surprising, but the single-digit margin was. John McCain won the state 55-44 in 2008, and it has obviously served as the GOP's
electoral stronghold (and breeding grounds) for several decades, both at the state and national levels. The GOP's mid- to long-term problem, however, is that there's not enough white people to offset the state's explosive demographics."

Now, to our regular news nuggets for Sunday, May 27th.

Egypt's Election Hands Liberals a Pivotal Voice from the Editorial Board of The National [of the United Arab Emirates in English]
"... in fact, the weeks until the run-off vote on June 16 and 17 promise to be a period of intense political horse-trading, in which the loose alliance of secular liberal democratic elements has a precious pivotal position. If they use it wisely, they can greatly influence the way Egypt is governed, through the new president's six-year term and beyond."

New Spanish Finance Horrors Shock The World (Walter Russell Mead) from the American Interest
"It may be a holiday weekend in the United States and much of Europe (where the Monday after the feast of Pentecost is often celebrated as a holiday), but the world’s politicians, central bankers and financiers are too busy quaking in their boots to bask in the sun. The problem is Spain, which dropped two stink bombs on the world. "

Can China Escape the Low-Wage Trap? (James Fallows) from the New York Times
"... the events of 2012 have made accounts of an all-capable and problem-free China, which were so common just before and after the triumphant 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, seem quaintly credulous. While each of these problems is likely to prove surmountable, together they are clues to a question that will take much longer to answer: Can China make it as a fully modern economy and society?"

When Modern Cities Become Ghost Towns (Kate Katharina Ferguson) from Der Spiegel [of Germany in English]
"Urban researchers in Berlin are exploring an eerie phenomenon -- the modern ghost town. From a deserted Cypriot holiday resort to a brand new Chinese city devoid of inhabitants, they are asking why people abandon their communities and exploring the stories that make these empty places so compelling."

A Power Vacuum Is Killing the Euro Zone (Tyler Cowen) from the New York Times
"AS problems mount in the euro zone, it’s increasingly evident that we’ve been witnessing an institutional failure of monumental proportions."

Building the Next Facebook a Tough Task in Europe (Eric Pfanner) from the New York Times
"In the United States, promising Internet start-ups can expect venture capitalists to come calling at an early stage. Fat checks often follow quickly. In Europe, many entrepreneurs have to wait longer; to get their businesses up and running, they sometimes have to rely on unorthodox sources of funding, including France’s generous welfare benefits."

Home Is Where They Let You Live (Jasmin Darznik) from the New York Times 
"Immigrants will draw their notions of “home” not only from what is familiar and desirable, but also from what is permitted and denied them."

Penn State and Catholic Church Child Sex-Abuse Trials Divide Penn. Public (Marci Hamilton) from the Daily Beast
"Which side are you on? The parallel sex-abuse trials of Msgr. William Lynn and former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky are revealing deep differences among those who once revered both men, writes Marci Hamilton."

The Emotional Tug of Obama (Frank Bruni) from the New York Times
"FORGET your political affiliation. Never mind your assessment of his time in office so far. If you have any kind of heart, you’re struck by it: the photograph of Barack Obama bent down so that a young black boy can touch his head and see if the president’s hair is indeed like his own. It moves you. It also speaks to a way in which Obama and Mitt Romney, whose campaigns are picking up the pace just as polls show them neck and neck, are profoundly mismatched."

Obama Should Seize the High Ground (Thomas Friedman) from the New York Times
Friedman nails the conundrum Obama finds himself in.  It's worthy of a big excerpt.
"Think about this: Is there anyone in America today who doesn’t either have a pre-existing medical condition or know someone who does and can’t get health insurance as a result? Yet two years after Obama’s health care bill became law, how many Americans understand that once it is fully implemented no American with a pre-existing condition will ever again be denied coverage? “Obamacare is socialized medicine,” says the Republican Party. No, no — excuse me — socialized medicine is what we have now! People without insurance can go to an emergency ward or throw themselves on the mercy of a doctor, and the cost of all this uncompensated care is shared by all those who have insurance, raising your rates and mine. That is socialized medicine and that is what Obamacare ends. Yet Obama — the champion of private insurance for all — has allowed himself to be painted as a health care socialist."

Cut It Out, Internet Bullies! (Meghan McCain) from the Daily Beast 
"After Meghan McCain spoke out on TV about the GOP’s extremists, Twitter and the blogosphere blew up with personal attacks. What will it take to stop name-calling and focus on the issues?"

Get Ready for the Election with 'Presidential Campaign Posters' from the LosAngeles Times Book Review
This looks AWESOME.  Check out the gallery that accompanies the article. 
"With "Presidential Campaign Posters" (Quirk Books, $40), the Library of Congress takes a look back at two centuries of memorable election art." 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

News Nuggets 980

DAYLEE PICTURE:  A hibiscus in Honolulu.  From Smithsonian Magazine. 

Center of Gravity in Oil World Shifts to the Americas (Juan Forero) from the Washington Post
"From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production is booming, with the U.S. emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East."

Downturn Catches Up to China from United Press International
"The global economic slowdown has begun to take a serious toll on the Chinese economy, a senior official said this week. ... A recent survey concluded that more than half of China's 70 largest cities were experiencing falling property values. Both the construction and retail sectors have suffered from slowdowns. Further, the country's purchasing managers index in April fell to 49.3 with figures under 50 representing a contraction -- a sobering statistic for an economy that relies heavily on exports. A slowdown in China can quickly haunt other economies, as well."

The Vietnam Solution: How a Former Enemy Became a Crucial U.S. Ally in Balancing China’s Rise (Robert Kaplan) from the Atlantic
" On my visit there last year, I found a country seized not only with the imperative of economic development but also with the challenge of finding a modus vivendi with its age-old neighbor and hegemon—a challenge that it increasingly looks to the United States, its onetime adversary, to help meet. That may demand that Americans, at least, shift their historical perspective and try to see the world through Vietnamese eyes."

Jamming Tripoli: Inside Moammar Gadhafi’s Secret Surveillance Network (Matthieu Aikins) from Wired Magazine
"...these activists would suffer greatly at the hands of Gadhafi’s spy service, whose own capabilities had been heightened by 21st-century technology. By now, it’s well known that the Arab Spring showed the promise of the Internet as a crucible for democratic activism. But, in the shadows, a second narrative unfolded, one that demonstrated the Internet’s equal potential for government surveillance and repression on a scale unimaginable with the old analog techniques of phone taps and informants."
A very interesting long-form story!

Europe's Biggest Fear: A Run They Cannot Stop from the Economist [of London]
"Fears of a full-scale bank run in Greece have not yet materialised. But the possibility of a deposit run in Europe's peripheral states is still very much alive. It is also the thing that policymakers are least prepared for. "

Five World Events That Could Swing the U.S. Election (Uri Friedman) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are slugging it out over the economy, but the world may have a trick or two up its sleeve."

SpaceX via Twitter: the Everyday Miracle of Modern Technologies from the Guardian [of the UK]
"There's so much we already take for granted about the digital revolution that's rocked our world. But it can still strike awe."

President, to President, to President (Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy) from the Los Angeles Times
"POTUS' best confidant may be his predecessors."

Five Issues that Divide Conservatives and the American Military (Heather Hurlbert) from Alternet
"Behold the cognitive dissonance of conservatives who ritually stand up in front of the public and say they want to "listen to the commanders.""

Obama Stumbles? Why the President’s Right to Talk About Bain (Joe Klein) from Time Magazine
"I  suspect that these Bain attacks are working. Indeed, I suspect the reason that the Obama campaign–and the President himself in an extraordinary moment at the NATO press conference last week–are so adamant about pursuing this tactic is that it (a) lays the predicate for the anti-Romney campaign to come and (b) has been extremely effective with focus groups. And so, what we may be seeing here is the exact opposite of a stumble."
Another critique of the Politico "Stumbles" article is HERE from the New Republic.

Dear Washington, Nothing Has Changed About the Election (Jamelle Bouie) from the American Prospect
"It’s an election year, so it’s simply a fact that pundits will latch on to every gaffe as if voters were actually paying attention to the minutiae of presidential politics. But it’s always good to remember that they aren’t, at all."

Obama's Last Line of Defense: Women (Ronald Brownstein) from the National Journal
"The new round of national and state surveys this week generally showing President Obama clinging to a tenuous advantage over Republican Mitt Romney reinforce the conclusion that socially liberal, upscale white women may stand as the president's indispensable line of defense in his struggle for reelection. "

Billionaire Finds New Role in Effort to Defeat Obama (Rutenberg & Zeleny) from the New York Times
"{Ricketts] is involved in another effort slated for this summer, a documentary film based on a widely criticized book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” by Dinesh D’Souza, which asserts that Mr. Obama is carrying out the “anticolonial” agenda of his Kenyan father."
This guy just can't take a hint.  Like Ricketts' other fiasco involving Rev. Wright, this one has even more potential to completely backfire.  Another appropriate gift from Citizens United to its parents, the GOP.

How to Cure the Crazy (Jonathan Bernstein) from Salon
"The return of Donald Trump forces the question: Is there anything the GOP can do to recover from insanity?"

The Conception of the Birther (Todd S. Purdum) from Vanity Fair
"The “birther” controversy is newly in the headlines, but its umbilical cord stretches deep into our history."

Obama Has a Mean Streak and He Turned It on Romney This Week (Lloyd Grove) from the Daily Beast
"The president, for all his cool, has a mean streak—just ask Hillary Clinton—and this week he turned it on Mitt Romney, writes Lloyd Grove."
I have heard a lot of conservative critics' bogus story lines about our president -- but this is a new one: "Oh, Obama is SO mean!"  He sort of called Mitt Romney a "cow pie" and other nasty things! Boo hoo.  When the GOP whine-o-meter gets this high, it tells me that Obama's attacks must be landing. I guess now Obama can morph into a fascist, marxist, muslim, atheist, MEAN wimpy totalitarian -- who is just like Jimmy Carter!   As an aside, I actually think Obama could benefit from the perception that he really IS mean.  

AZ-Sen: ‘Political Greek God’: Even Republicans Think Carmona Has a Chance In Arizona (Pema Levy) from Talking Points Memo
"“Political Greek god,” “amazing” and “tremendous” are all words used to describe Arizona Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona — by Republicans."

Friday, May 25, 2012

News Nuggets 979

DAYLEE PICTURE: Springtime ... on Mars.  The NASA Rover Opportunity 
shoots a distinctly blue landscape on the red planet.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Israel Gives Qualified Okay to Obama’s Interim Deal with Iran from the Debka File [of Israel in English]
"Netanyahu and Ehud Barak have decided to stand back for Barack Obama to put his interim deal with Iran to the test, DEBKAfile’s sources report. They decided to go along with it despite their reservations after receiving assurances from the White House that any Iranian violations would result in the immediate termination of all negotiations and bring military action forward as the sole remaining option for stopping a nuclear Iran."

The Detention of Chinese Fishermen Fuels Anger with North Korea from Time Magazine
"As maritime tensions with neighbors including Vietnam and the Philippines continue to simmer, China has a fresh grievance with a somewhat unexpected antagonist: North Korea."

China’s Economic Crisis (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"What caused these slowdowns? Success. In each case, the economy had produced a middle-income level. It becomes much more difficult to grow at a breakneck pace when you have a large economy and a middle-class society."

Syria’s Neighbors are Growing Restless (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"The Middle East sometimes resembles a string of detonators wired to explode together — and this seems especially true now of Syria and its neighbors. There is political instability nearby in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, as the Arab uprising moves through its second year. In each of these countries, the leadership maintains power in a balancing act. Only Turkey, with its triad of a strong economy, army and political leadership, seems genuinely stable. Fear of blowing up the region — and spawning even more Sunni-Shiite sectarian war — is one reason the Obama administration has refused to arm the Syrian opposition."

The Choice in Europe from the Economist [of London]
"A limited version of federalism is a less miserable solution than the break-up of the euro."

Utopia Lost?: European Dream is Over Without Greater Federalism from Diario Economico [of Portugal in English] 
“The Germans, still traumatized by the hyperinflation that brought Hitler to power, won’t allow for additional inflation. … Will people and politicians leave their existing trenches and follow a common path? Or will the European Union fail to amount to anything more than a utopia? At this point there are more doubts than certainties.”

Britain Fears 'Lost' Generation of Jobless Youth in Europe's Crisis from the McClatchy News Service
"Europe’s economic crisis has fueled a spiraling problem of unemployment among young people, with job seekers aged 15-24 more than twice as likely to be out of work as the average European. Policy makers and experts are warning that a growing number of them could remain locked out of the economy for years to come, posing a long-term challenge to growth and raising questions about the fundamental health of the continent’s labor force."
Yes -- Britain and just about everywhere else!

VatiLeaks Exposes Internal Memos of the Catholic Church (Barbie Latza Nadeau) from the Daily Beast
"A massive information dump nicknamed ‘VatiLeaks’ has the Catholic Church sweating. Barbie Latza Nadeau talks to Gianluigi Nuzzi, the journalist exposing Pope Benedict XVI’s internal memos."

The Battle Among Catholic Bishops (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post 
"There is a healthy struggle brewing among the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops. A previously silent group, upset over conservative colleagues defining the church’s public posture and eagerly picking fights with President Obama, has had enough."
I will believe it when I see it.  Where are they hiding out?!  Aside from the nuns, moderate and liberal voices have been silent for so long on so many issues, I have little faith that they will genuinely step into the public/political arena and really speak up.

The Crisis This Time from the Editorial Board of the New York Times 
"By this point, there should be no debate: Austerity has been a failure, shrinking economies and making it ever harder for indebted countries to repay their debts. The political costs are also rising."

Egos and Immorality on Wall Street (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times 
"... here’s the thing: If Wall Streeters are spoiled brats, they are spoiled brats with immense power and wealth at their disposal. And what they’re trying to do with that power and wealth right now is buy
themselves not just policies that serve their interests, but immunity from criticism."

When No One Else Will Hire You: Entrepreneurship as a Last Resort (Abby Ohlheiser) from Slate
"If you already have a steady job, those figures make a compelling argument for starting your business as a side project until you’re confident it will actually take off. But for those with no good options, what is there to lose?"

Why a 'Record Low' Number of Americans are 'Pro-choice': 5 Theories from The Week
"Gallup reveals a surprising drop in the number of people who call themselves "pro-choice," even as more Americans back gay marriage and the legalization of pot."
I lean towards explanation #3 -- with a twist.  Since Roe, pro-life groups have NEVER stopped trying to educate the public about why they are pro-life and what it means (in very general terms).  Pro-choice advocates have largely taken a walk on educating the public since Roe.  All you have to do is look at the most prominent public faces for the pro-choice position.  Aside from Sandra Fluke (a media accident in some ways), I cannot think of one that is under 50 years old, and in fact many are pushing 70.  This is one of the few areas where I fear that demographics may not favor the progressive or pro-choice point-of-view in the long term.

Did Obama Just Deliver Marriage Equality in Maryland? (Adam Serwer) from Mother Jones Magazine
"Polls taken since President Obama expressed support for same-sex marriage have shown an astonishing shift in black support on marriage equality. The shift in Maryland is so dramatic that the state may become the first state to actually uphold same-marriage rights in a referendum."

Welcome End of a Pseudotheory from the Editorial Board of the New York Times
"Many opponents of giving equal rights and protections to gay Americans — at the workplace, in the military, in marrying and forming families — make the claim that homosexuality is a chosen way of life. They have long seized on the work of a towering figure in psychiatry to justify their position. But that psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Spitzer, has now renounced a study he did a decade ago that suggested that “reparative therapy” can help homosexuals who are highly motivated to change their sexual
The story about this guy's reassessment can be found HERE.

Does Tough Love Work With Third Graders? (Michel Martin) from NPR's Tell Me More program
"Most passed but the ones who didn't have to retake it this summer and if they fail a second time, state officials say that they will likely be held back in the third grade. The rule is new in Indiana but other states like Florida have been testing third graders with similar consequences for some time now."
I cannot recall the last time I actually found myself in full agreement with GOP lawmakers on virtually any issue -- but here's one!  School districts are not doing their kids ANY FAVOR by promoting them past the third grade when they can't read.  Keeping them back in summer school and even holding them back a grade may hurt their self-esteem somewhat in the short run, but the impact can't compare to the landscape of Ds and Fs that await the kids they just pass on to the next grade with the problem unaddressed.  As that old advertisement used to say: reading IS fundamental.

Several George Zimmerman Witnesses Change their Accounts from the Orlando Sentinel
"Evidence released last week in the second-degree-murder case against George Zimmerman shows four key witnesses made major changes in what they say they saw and heard the night he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford."
This is why we have trials.  

Conservatives Used to Care about Community. What Happened? (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post
"Romney is simply following the lead of Republicans in Congress who have abandoned American conservatism’s most attractive features: prudence, caution and a sense that change should be gradual. But most important of all, conservatism used to care passionately about fostering community, and it no longer does."

G.O.P. Nightmare Charts (Charles Blow) from the New York Times
"On moral issues, long-term trends for the Republican Party are not good."

Asian-Americans Seize Political Spotlight in 2012 Presidential Campaign (Joie Chen) from the Daily Beast
"Obama is courting them, and their growing numbers could have a strong impact on key states. Joie Chen on why America’s ‘model minority’ has stayed off the political radar—until now."

My Break with the Extreme Right (Michael Fumento) from Salon
"I worked for Reagan and wrote for National Review. But the new hysterical right cares nothing for truth or dignity."

The Boy Who Cried Birther (Alex Koppelman) from the New Yorker
"...birtherism inspires a whole lot of anger on the left. That’s why, when there are more birther outbursts as Election Day draws closer, you’re likely to see the Romney campaign running for the hills—and people from the Obama campaign gladly talking about them."

A Robo-Housekeeper: The Secret to Advanced Tidiness? (VIDEO) from The Week 
"Cornell researchers successfully configure a robot to clean up messy rooms. But Rosie from The Jetsons, this bot isn't."
Ten years from now, say sayonara to millions of restaurant staff jobs!!

Boy, mom and dad will have a little surprise waiting for them on the patio when they get home!!

When a Boy Found a Familiar Feel in a Pat of the Head of State from the New York Times
"...the photo is tangible evidence of what polls also show: Mr. Obama remains a potent symbol for blacks, with a deep reservoir of support. As skittish as White House aides often are in discussing race, they also clearly revel in the power of their boss’s example."