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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

News Nuggets 1021


DAYLEE PICTURE: An early morning on Keech Pond, Chepachet, Rhode Island.  From Smithsonian Magazine.

Dissent Grows Among the Voters of Europe from the Editorial Board of the Daily Telegraph [of the UK]
"The eurozone’s political leaders are grappling with this crisis without any democratic mandate to shore them up."

Bo Xilai: Power, Death and Politics (Jamil Anderlini) from Financial Times Magazine
"The alleged murder of Neil Heywood has brought down one of China’s most powerful politicians – and exposed a power struggle that has rocked the Communist party"
A very good longform profile and exploration of this still-developing scandal.

States of Confusion: John Roberts, Unwitting Health Care Visionary (Timothy Noah) from the New Republic
"Out of this jumble of warring impulses, Roberts crafted a ruling that inadvertently strengthens the liberal case for further consolidating health care policy at the national level. The Court is practically begging Washington to take over the state-federal Medicaid program."

GOP Leaders’ Dilemma: Rebuff Conservatives Or Risk A Government Shutdown from Talking Points Memo
"... less 100 days away from the election, he is trying to bury a spending bill that rank and file members want to use as a vehicle to gut ‘Obamacare’, end family planning funds, and slash spending on longstanding programs. The conundrum illustrates GOP leaders’ wariness of reigniting volatile political battles and potentially alienating voters ahead of the November election."

The Conservative Case For Obama - Again (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast
"I'd be dissembling if I did not argue that on a whole array of issues, Obama is simply and unequivocally the more conservative candidate."

Real Obama vs. Fantasy Obama (Kevin Drum) from Mother Jones Magazine 
"The fact is that modern presidents simply don't have the party leverage that some past presidents have had, and Obama in particular simply didn't have a big enough majority to get his way."

Obama Confident He'd Win if Election were Today (Jennifer Epstein) from Politico
For what it's worth...
"With 99 days until Election Day, President Obama is confident he's in a winning position."

The World as Seen by Republicans, in a Land of Myth and Amnesia (Gary Younge) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"US conservatives are increasingly keen to interpret their country's woes primarily in terms of threats from abroad."

Conservatives Turn Against GOP Moderates In Effort To Achieve Policy Goals from the Huffington Post
"Frustrated by their inability to achieve some policy goals, conservatives in Republican states are turning against moderate members of their own party, trying to drive them out of state legislatures to clear the way for reshaping government across a wide swath of mid-America controlled by the GOP."

Why Sarah Palin’s Reputation Has Plummeted as Bill Clinton’s Has Grown (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"Once the darling of conservatives, the former vice-presidential candidate is now seen as something of an embarrassment—even as the previously vilified 42nd president has grown in stature. The reassessments show the perils of hyper-partisanship, says John Avlon."

First Thoughts: Judging Romney's Overseas Trip (Chuck Todd et al.,) from MSNBC
"Judging Romney’s overseas performance… If you compare it to a floor exercise in gymnastics, then you’d have to say it was marred by two big unforced errors…"
The entire analysis plus other items in the column are worth checking out!

Mitt Romney Should Have Stayed Home (Roger Simon) from Politico
"Romney’s trip abroad in the waning months of this presidential campaign had three goals: establish his credibility on foreign policy while in England, woo the Jewish vote while in Israel and entice Catholic voters while in Poland. In retrospect, he should have spent the time in Ohio, Virginia and Florida ..."

Romney’s Foreign Policy May Haunt the US Later (Gideon Rachman) from the Business Day [of South Africa]
"US President Barack Obama’s emphasis on diplomacy, even if it is
difficult, is preferable to Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s foreign policy based on biffing ‘bad guys’"

Mitt Romney’s Foreign Trip Didn’t Go Well. Does it Matter? (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake) from the Washington Post
"“I find this entire trip borderline lunacy,” said one senior Republican strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly. “Why on earth is he seeking to improve his foreign policy cred when there will not be a single vote cast on that subject?”"

Desperately Seeking Mitt (Wells Tower) from GQ Magazine
"What is Mitt Romney's true personality? And can joining the press on his campaign bus for five months shed any light on it?"

Republican Moderates Tire of Leaders' Tea Party Tilt (John Stanton) from BuzzFeed
"Speaker John Boehner has been trying to keep the right happy. Now he's facing restive moderates, House Republicans say."

HOLLYWOOD NUGGET!!
Hitchcock’s Girl (Rosie Millard) from the Financial Times Magazine 
"Alfred Hitchcock sabotaged Tippi Hedren’s movie career after she rejected his advances. But the heroine of ‘The Birds’ and ‘Marnie’ says she has no regrets."
I have long wondered what happened to the career of this very good actress.

Monday, July 30, 2012

News Nuggets 1020


DAYLEE PICTURE: From Florida, a peacock's feathers.  From National Geographic.

A Lovefest Between Milton Friedman and J.M. Keynes (Nicholas Wapshott) from the Daily Beast
"Libertarians worship Milton Friedman, and liberals lionize John Maynard Keynes. But a long-lost essay shows that the champion of small government admired the prince of the New Deal."

The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic (Richard Muller) from the New York Times
"My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases."

Swing States Give Obama the Edge from The Hill
"President Obama "has an overall edge in the 12 decisive battleground states that is measurably greater than his advantage in national polling, ... The dynamic, which may reflect a combination of lower swing-state unemployment rates and demographic advantages for the president, is causing stirrings of unease among Republicans, even as they emphasize that it is important not to read too much into the state of the race right now."

Romney's World View (James Zogby) from the Huffington Post
"George W. Bush's rhetoric often conflated the good/evil world view of neo-conservatism with the Manichaeism of right-wing Christian Fundamentalism. In Romney's case there is a disturbing mix of
neo-conservative hawkishness and militaristic American supremacy with Mormonism's narrative of divinely ordained American exceptionalism. Just as Bush's interpretation of Christianity was not shared by most Christians, Romney's America-on-steroids is a minority view among Mormons."

Romney: Israel’s Superior Economy To Palestinians Result Of ‘Culture,’ ‘Providence’ (Benjy Sarlin) from Talking Points Memo
"“It is a racist statement and this man doesn’t realize that the
Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation,” Saeb Erakat, a senior Palestinian Authority official, told the AP. Romney attributed the gap in success in part to Israel’s “culture.”"

Romney's Rules of Diplomacy: Some Slipped Out of the Briefing Book (James Kitfield) from the National Journal
"In Israel, he interjects God and cultural superiority into an ethnic-religious conflict."

Romney Versus the World Bank (Hussein Ibish) from the Daily Beast
"Trying to solidify his “pro-Israel” bona fides, Romney compared the GDPs of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Hussein Ibish on the candidate's latest failure abroad. Plus, Dan Stone on the faux pas."

Exclusive: John McCain Stages Romney Intervention (Howard Kurtz) from Newsweek
"John McCain is dying to help Mitt Romney. But is his advice wanted? Howard Kurtz reports exclusively on the 2008 nominee’s failed efforts to counsel Romney, his frustration at a behind-the-scenes role in the campaign—and his damning faint praise for Romney’s foreign-policy
instincts."

The Pollsters: Who's Good, Who's Not, and How Bouncy They All Are from Daily Kos
"... for a heavily polled contest like the national presidential numbers, you can, if you like, preserve your sanity by ignoring individual polls, and follow a polling average instead..."

Mitt Romney's Wimp Factor (Michael Tomasky) from Newsweek
"Dodging reporters, fearing his base, hiding his taxes—is Mitt Romney just too insecure to be president? In Newsweek, Michael Tomasky surveys a history of presidential manliness and asks just where Mitt would fit amid the studly swagger of Dubya and Reagan."

Why Mitt Screws Up (Justin Frank) from Salon
"Let's put Romney on the shrink's couch: His disastrous London gaffes reveal a deep-seated anxiety."

Mitt Romney and the Go-for-Broke Election (E.J. Dionne Jr.) from the Washington Post
"...this is a moment when abnormal levels of economic turmoil are feeding a profound mistrust of government. Conservatives are making a large bet that if ever there was a year when they could mainstream out-of-the-mainstream ideas, this is it."

URBAN TECHNOLOGY NUGGET!!
Pictures: 10 Green-Tech City Solutions for Beating the Heat from National Geographic
"Using plants and trees in a unique way, Singapore officials opened Gardens by the Bay this year. The 11-million-square foot (1-million-square-meter) complex—the size of nearly 250 U.S. football fields—aims to curb the heat island effect while bringing botanical bliss to urbanites."
Each one of these structures is quite interesting!!

HIDDEN TREASURE NUGGET!!
Priceless Pot of Gold Discovered in 13th Century Castle of Richard the Lionheart and his Crusaders... and There May be More from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A thousand-year-old pot of gold coins has been found hidden under the floor of a 13th century Crusader castle on the spot where Richard the Lionheart defeated Saladin.  The 108 ancient coins, one of the biggest collections found in Israel, were in a ceramic pot buried beneath a tile floor of the clifftop coastal ruins at Arsuf."

Friday, July 27, 2012

News Nuggets 1019


DAYLEE PICTURE: A lava lake in Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Glasnost in North Korea? (John Delury) from Yale Global
"The ghost of Deng Xiaoping may lurk in Pyongyang, with signs that the world's youngest head of state is trying to shake up his isolated and impoverished nation. From the sudden dismissal of his top military leader, on grounds of "illness," to a pop music show featuring American icons Mickey Mouse and Rocky Balboa, to a novel guest- worker program allowing North Koreans to earn hard currency in China, Kim Jong-un is taking a firm grip on power even as he loosens strictures and tells officials to try new things."

What China Learned from the Soviet Union’s Fall (A. Greer Meisels) from The Diplomat
"Why the process of assessing blame for the collapse of the USSR is still a hot topic in Beijing."

Mitt Romney’s Commander in Chief Problem (Michael Crowley) from Time Magazine
"For decades, Republican presidential candidates enjoyed a predictable advantage over Democrats on foreign policy. But not in 2012. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows President Barack Obama holding a steady 10-point lead on the question of who would make a better Commander in Chief. A recent Pew poll showed Obama with a 12-point edge on the question of who would better protect Americans from terrorist attacks. In a Pew poll four years ago, John McCain led Obama on that same question by 15 points — a whopping 27-point swing. That’s an amazing turnaround."

Romney Book: Britain is a Tiny Island that Makes Stuff Nobody Wants (Joshua Keating) from Foreign Policy Magazine
""England [sic] is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn't make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn't been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler's ambitions.""

Mitt Romney Visits London While Stumbling on Almost Every Front (Nicholas Watt) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"The Obama campaign could scarcely have thought of a better outcome for Mitt Romney's first UK visit as presumptive nominee."

Mitt Romney's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in London (Tony Hardon) from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"... the incorrigible Mayor Boris Johnson turned the day into what one American reporter on the trip aptly described as a 'Cat 4 manurestorm' when he mocked Romney before 60,000 people. 'I hear there's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we're ready,' Johnson shouted, in a performance more Viking than Anglo-Saxon. 'Are we ready? Yes we are!' He then led the crowd in a chant of 'Yes We Can', Obama's famous campaign slogan from 2008."

Fox News' Charles Krauthammer: Mitt Romney's Olympics Gaffe Was 'Unbelievable,' 'Beyond Human Understanding,' 'Incomprehensible' (VIDEO) from the Huffington Post
""All Romney has to do, say nothing," Krauthammer said. "It’s like a guy in the 100-meter dash. All he has to do is to finish, he doesn’t have to win. And instead, he tackles the guy in the lane next to him and ends up disqualified. I don’t get it.""

Mitt’s British Blunders: How It Played In The UK Press from Talking Points Memo
"Mitt Romney is off to a spectacularly bad start in London, at least according to the British press ridiculing the Republican candidate on his first major foreign trip."

Mitt Romney Gets Cold Reception from UK Media after Olympic Gaffe from the Guardian [of the UK]
"'Romneyshambles', 'party-pooper', 'worse than Palin' – British papers are unimpressed by Republican's charm offensive."

If Mitt Romney Doesn’t Like Us, We Shouldn’t Care (Alex Spillius) from the Daily Telegraph [of the UK]
"Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive."

Romney Abroad: Candidate Obama Did It Better in 2008 (Caren Bohan) from National Journal
"Mitt Romney's clumsy start to his overseas trip is shaping up as a stark contrast to candidate Barack Obama's tour of the Middle East and Europe in July 2008, when he managed to strike perfect pitch at press conferences and in visits with foreign leaders."

Romney’s Anchor (Charlie Cook) from the National Journal
"What seems to be holding Romney back are voters' personal feelings toward him, which are more negative than those faced by any of the past six nonincumbent nominees... In my judgment, Romney's poor numbers go back to his campaign's obsession with talking only about the economy and not attempting to define who Romney is as a person, as a way to build trust and strong positive personal feelings toward their candidate. "

A case in point: Romney's interview with Haaretz:
Romney to Haaretz: Military Option on Iran Should Not be Ruled Out (Ari Shavit) from Haaretz [of Israel in English]
""He radiates old-fashioned American warmth. But when the recording device is turned on, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate immediately becomes tense. He is careful not to say anything superfluous. He refrains from making any commitments. Like a diligent student at an oral exam, he carefully weighs every word he is about to utter. But the interviewee is even more focused on what he is not allowed to say than on what he is about to say.""

Lindsey Graham Defies Party Line as Defense Cuts, GOP Primary Loom (Michelle Cottle) from the Daily Beast
"He committed Republican heresy by saying revenue needs to be part of any deficit solution. Why the outspoken senator may not have anything left to lose in South Carolina."

DAREDEVIL NUGGET!!
One Giant Plunge for Mankind: Skydiver Fearless Felix Leaps from 18 MILES above the Earth from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Skydiver 'Fearless' Felix Baumgartner today leapt into the stratosphere more than 18 miles above the Earth - nearly three times higher than cruising jetliners. The Austrian daredevil landed safely near Roswell, New Mexico, after reaching an phenomenal estimated top speed of 536mph during his free fall descent."

OUTER SPACE NUGGET!!
Attack of the Vampire Sun! Astronomers Spot Binary System Where One Star Sucks the Life Out of Another from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"An international team has used the Very Large Telescope in Chile to study what are known as O-type stars, which have very high temperature, mass and brightness. These 'vampire stars' have a smaller companion star sucks matter off the surface of its larger neighbour."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

News Nuggets 1018


DAYLEE PICTURE: A baby macaque in India.  From National Geographic. 

UP-FRONT CULTURE NUGGET!!
Storytelling: Summer in the '60s: When Kids Grew Up Simply on Their Own (Kate Flaherty Podkul) from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"In the 1960s, you got up early because it was too hot to sleep in. Your breakfast was sugared cereal along with orange juice, with sugar added by both the manufacturer and by you."

Syria Is Iraq (Thomas Friedman) from the New York Times
"Lord knows I am rooting for the opposition forces in Syria to quickly prevail on their own and turn out to be as democratically inclined as we hope.  But the chances of this best-of-all-possible outcomes is low.  That's because Syria is a lot like Iraq."

Iran Nuclear Plants Hit By Virus Playing AC/DC, Website Says (Ladane Nasseri) from Bloomberg News via the San Francisco Chronicle
"Iran’s nuclear facilities have suffered a cyber attack that shut down computers and played music from the rock band AC/DC, the F-Secure Security Labs website said. A new worm targeted Iran’s nuclear program, closing down the “automation network” at the Natanz and Fordo facilities, the Internet security site reported, citing an e-mail it said was sent by a scientist inside Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization."

The End of China's Rise (Amitai Etzioni) from the National Interest 
"If major trends continue to unfold, those who wrote that we are about to enter a Chinese century will soon discover that it ended before it started."

Europe is Sleepwalking Towards Imminent Disaster, Warn Top Economists (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard) from the Daily Telegraph [of the UK]
"The euro has completely broken down as a workable system and faces collapse with “incalculable economic losses and human suffering” unless there is a drastic change of course, according to a group of leading economists."

Experts: Some Frackling Critics Use Bad Science (Kevin Begos) from the Associated Press
"Critics of fracking often raise alarms about groundwater pollution, air pollution, and cancer risks, and there are still many uncertainties. But some of the claims have little — or nothing— to back them."

Insurance Companies are Slow to Cover Risks of Gas Drilling from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"One company has written an exclusion that forces clients working with oil and gas companies to obtain additional coverage. An industry group drafted a memo encouraging brokers to brush up on potential liabilities, even including knowledge of the rare earthquakes said to be a byproduct of some industry practices. The changes represent another form of growing pains for the far-reaching drilling industry and the ancillary businesses it involves."

Scouts' Dishonor: The BSA Continues to Blaze a Trail of Intolerance from the Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Although the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 upheld the Boy Scouts' First Amendment right as a private organization to exclude homosexuals from membership and leadership, it is astonishing that a dozen years later the group that widely professes to build character has decided to cling to such an archaic view."

Romney's Trans-Atlantic Policy Needs a Reboot (Annette Heuser and Tyson Barker) from Der Spiegel [of Germany in English]
"Likely Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will visit the United Kingdom and Poland at a time when the GOP's policy toward Europe seems to be trapped in the days of the Cold War. It will be a chance for him to update his outdated views."

Mitt Romney Would Restore 'Anglo-Saxon' Relations Between Britain and America from the Daily Telegraph [of the UK]
"Mitt Romney would restore "Anglo-Saxon" understanding to the special relationship between the US and Britain, and return Sir Winston Churchill's bust to the White House, according to advisers."

Hiding in Plain Sight (Maureen Dowd) from the New York Times
God, it seems like ages since Dowd had anything worthwhile to say. 
"So far, Mitt’s casting a shadowy silhouette, hiding his fortune in foreign tax havens, hiding tax returns, destroying and hiding records as head of the Olympics and as governor, hiding a specific sense of where he would take the country. Americans don’t want to play hide-and-seek with their presidential candidates. Romney should listen to himself: The time for stonewalling is over."

Obama's Character Edge Offsets Romney's Economic Advantage: Obama Continues to be Viewed as the More Likable Candidate (Jeffrey M. Jones) from Gallup
"Americans tend to see Mitt Romney as better able to handle key issues than President Obama is, particularly those relating to the economy. However, Americans give Obama the edge on most character dimensions, especially basic likability."

NBC/WSJ Poll: Negative Campaign Takes Toll on Candidates; Obama Up Six Points (Mark Murray) from MSNBC
"Both presidential candidates have seen their “very negative” ratings increase to all-time highs in the poll. And Romney’s overall favorable/unfavorable score remains a net negative – a trait no other modern presumptive GOP presidential nominee (whether Bob Dole, George W. Bush or John McCain) has shared."
Markos Moulitsas has some interesting analysis of these numbers HERE.

Mitt Romney Still Fighting Cold War (Trudy Rubin) from the San Jose Mercury News
"...this week, he's off to Europe and Israel in hopes of burnishing his image as the future leader of the "free world." Unfortunately, the world Romney seeks to lead no longer exists. Romney's foreign affairs statements have a Rip Van Winkle quality, as if he had just emerged from a sleep of two decades. His Cold War language suits the bipolar world of the 20th century, not the current era."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

News Nuggets 1017


DAYLEE PICTURE: A Mwanza flat-headed agama lizard in Kenya.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Grand Strategy of the Authoritarian Axis: How Will the West Respond? (William C. Martel) from The Diplomat
"Recent events – like those in Syria – show increasing coordination among some of the world’s most dangerous states."

New World Coming: America the Energy Superpower (David J. Karl ) from the Foreign Policy Association
"America’s strategic prospects are dramatically brightening due to an unexpectedly improving energy outlook and the looming revitalization of its manufacturing base.  This thesis cuts against the reigning anxiety about the nation’s economic course as well as the torrent of prophesying about how China is poised to eat America’s lunch.*  A subsequent post extended this theme to suggest that among the foreign policy implications of the U.S. energy boom would be the denouement of Russia’s great power aspirations and the restoration of U.S. soft power."

Mayberry R.I.P. (Frank Rich) from New York Magazine
"Declinist panic. Hysterical nostalgia. America may not be over, but it is certainly in thrall to the idea."

Joe Paterno Was A Dictator: Penn State Deserved Its Punishment (Buzz Bissinger) from the Daily Beast
"Buzz Bissinger says Penn State alumni will whine and wallow in self-pity after the NCAA punishment, but the culture of college football needs to be banished—too bad it’s too late. Plus, Michael Tomasky calls for more punishment."

Penn State's Ex-President Fights Back; Says He Was a Victim of Child Abuse (Dashiell Bennett) from the Atlantic
"Former Penn State President Graham Spanier is fighting back against the allegations made against him in the Freeh Report, but his defense isn't much of a defense at all."

How to Out a Rapist (Jessica Valenti) from the Nation
"In one of my favorite feminist movies—the 1996 flick Girls Town—a group of fed-up young women write the names of the men who raped them on their high school’s bathroom wall. Other students join in, listing their attackers from schoolmates to teachers—warning other women and reclaiming public space. Today, a Kentucky teen is facing jail time for doing much the same thing: naming her rapists on Twitter. "

Philadelphia Church Official Sentenced to at Least 3 Years in Prison from the New York Times
"Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Roman Catholic official in the United States to be convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision, was sentenced to three to six years in prison on Tuesday."

Ahead Of Voter ID Trial, Pennsylvania Admits There’s No In-Person Voter Fraud from Talking Points Memo
"In that case, Pennsylvania might have handed those groups and their clients (including 93-year-old Viviette Applewhite) a bit of an advantage: They’ve formally acknowledged that there’s been no reported in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and there isn’t likely to be in November."

Obama Attacks on Taxes and Bain Hit Romney Ratings (Gabriel Debenedetti) from Reuters via the Chicago Tribune
"Sustained attacks by President Barack Obama's campaign on Republican rival Mitt Romney's business history and refusal to release more tax records appear to be working, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday."

Obama Ad Showing Romney Singing Off-Key Was Very Effective With Independent Voters (Elizabeth Flock) from US News & World Report
"After showing independent voters the negative ad of Romney singing "America the Beautiful" off-key, for example, approval of Romney by those voters fell sharply from 16 points to 3 points. Obama's numbers, on the other hand, barely moved after independents watched a negative ad about the president. "People have made up their minds about Obama," John Geer, political science professor at Vanderbilt and head of the project, told Whispers. "Whereas Obama's ads have extracted a price for Romney. They are what's moving the dial for the Obama camp. And the Obama campaign knows that.""

Romney's Defense Argument Misfires (Howard Kurtz) from the Daily Beast 
"There is a curious omission in Mitt Romney’s speech to the VFW today. He warns against the dire consequences of the massive Pentagon budget cutbacks scheduled to take effect at the end of the year. And that’s an absolutely legitimate issue, prompting concern in both parties. But here’s the rub that Romney neglects, at least based on excerpts released by the campaign: The Republicans agreed to these cuts."

The GOP’s War Against Facts (Dahlia Lithwick and Raymond Vasvari) from Slate
"The truth became dangerous for the Republican Party when it ran out of arguments."

The Secret in Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns (Richard Cohen) from the Washington Post
"By and large, the tax filings tell you nothing you don’t already know. But the refusal to release them is a different matter. In Romney’s case, this is his one and only stand on principle, an odd example of political bravery."

The Divine Miss M (Frank Bruni) from the New York Times
"What I find most fascinating about Michele Bachmann — and there are many, many more where she came from — is that she presents herself as a godly woman, humbly devoted to her Christian faith. I’d like to meet that god, and I’d like to understand that Christianity."

ELECTION HISTORY NUGGET!!
Hasty and Ruinous 1972 Pick Colors Today’s Hunt for a No. 2\ (Lawrence Altman) from the New York TImes
"...a few days after the convention that nominated Mr. McGovern and his running mate, Senator Thomas F. Eagleton of Missouri, Mr. Lilly said, he came to a realization. “It suddenly struck me out of the blue that they didn’t know,” he said, that the decision to pick Mr. Eagleton had been made without some crucial facts. And he was right."

HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTERS NUGGET!!
What's Next for Superhero Movies? (Daniel Snyder) from the Atlantic 
"With Batman finished for now, the future belongs to Marvel."

Monday, July 23, 2012

News Nuggets 1016


DAYLEE PICTURE: An explorer of the Mutnovsky Volcano on Russia's Kamchatka peninsula.  From National Geographic.   

The Fog of Civil War: What's Really Going on in Syria is Too Complicated to Fit in a Headline (Stephen Starr) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Living in this town for the first 11 months of the uprising, I tried, and failed, to get articles published questioning why the regime tolerated protests or allowed free assembly in some areas, but not others. These incidents didn't fit the narrative that all protests were being violently quashed. The majority, of course, were -- and often brutally -- but the full picture was unnervingly complex."

As Assad Regime Totters, The Kremlin And Beijing Shudder (Paul Gregory) from Forbes Magazine
"Two other constrained dictatorships, Russia and China, want to keep Assad in power. Both shudder at a fellow totalitarian regime falling to a disorganized opposition. They will abandon him (with great fanfare) only when it is clear that he has lost."

In Syria, the Powers Play Hardball (Michael Bell) from the Globe and Mail [of Toronto]
"The hardball players that really count are relying on traditional raw power mechanisms.  ... Washington is acting covertly with hard-core regional allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar to support the Free Syrian Army on the ground. ... the shared concern of this trio is countering Shia Iranian dominance, and such co-operation is persuasive, given Iran’s revanchist agenda."

ACA a Bigger Victory Than We Knew (Ronald Dworkin) from the New York Review of Books
"So the United States has finally satisfied a fundamental requirement of political decency that every other mature democracy has met long ago, and that a string of Democratic presidents, from FDR to Bill Clinton, tried and failed to secure for us. We finally have a scheme of national health care provision designed to protect every citizen who wants to be protected."

NCAA Hits Penn State With $60 Million Fine, Postseason Ban, Loss Of Scholarships And Wins from the Huffington Post
"On Monday, Emmert presided over a press conference in Indianapolis and revealed sanctions, including a hefty fine, a postseason ban, and loss of scholarships and previous wins. "Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people," Emmert said during a press conference that lasted approximately 45 minutes."

Penn State’s Life Sentence: Beyond the NCAA Sanctions (Kevin Cirilli) from the Daily Beast
"Today’s NCAA punishments, while crippling, are only the beginning. Kevin Cirilli on the battle brewing off the field—impending legal action against ousted president Graham Spanier."

Republican Party in California Is Caught in Cycle of Decline from the New York Times
"... the state party... is caught in a cycle of relentless decline, and appears in danger of shrinking to the rank of a minor party... Registered Republicans now account for just 30% of the California electorate, and are on a path that analysts predict could drop them to No. 3 in six years, behind Democrats, who currently make up 43%, and independent voters, with 21%."

Obama Job Approval Up Slightly in 14th Quarter from Gallup
"Obama appears in much better shape now than the two recently elected presidents who were denied a second term -- Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush -- both of whom averaged below 40% approval their 14th quarters in office."

In Swing States, Economic Picture a Little Brighter for Obama (Chris Cillizza) from the Washington Post
"Nationally, the economic picture is decidedly dismal — a sullen state of affairs that has led many political observers to conclude that President Obama is an underdog in his bid for a second term. But in the 12 (or so) swing states — where Democrats and Republicans will spend the lion’s share of their time and money in the 100 or so days between now and Nov. 6 — the economic picture is considerably sunnier."

The Scariest Chart for the Romney Campaign on Bain Attacks (David Graham) from the Atlantic
"Although there's some polling evidence and Mitt Romney's allies are getting worried, it's a little early to tell how effective President Obama's attacks on the Republican nominee's time at Bain Capital will be -- or how much that will affect the ultimate result of the campaign. But we can say with some confidence that the attacks are getting Americans' attention."

Nuke ’Em (Frank Rich) from New York Magazine
"Why negative advertisements are powerful, essential, and sometimes (see “Daisy”) even artistic."

GOP's Obama Obsession Will Lose it the Election (Maria Cardona) from CNN 
"Obama won 67% of the Latino vote in 2008. A few months ago, I would have said it would be a big challenge for him to repeat those numbers, especially given some disappointment among Latinos about the president's not being able to deliver on immigration reform, as well as his record on deportations. But he is now on track to gain the same amount, if not more, of the Latino vote."

Mitt Romney’s Overseas Trip Smacks of Cold War Nostalgia (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast
"The GOP’s presidential hope heads overseas with an agenda that’s hopelessly out of date. Peter Beinart on Mitt’s Cold War worldview—and what he’s missing."

Mitt Romney, Beware the Ghost of John Kerry (Dick Polman) from the Philadelphia Inquirer
"The president is a polarizing figure whose reelection is imperiled by his handling of the nation's No. 1 issue. However, he's blessed with an opponent who is easy to attack — a rich Massachusetts patrician with seemingly flexible convictions and a personality that impedes any visceral connection with voters. But enough about George W. Bush and John Kerry."

Taking the Wisconsin Senate Mattered (Markos Moulitsas) from Daily Kos 
"During the redistricting process, Republicans kept a tight lid on any information related to their gerrymandering efforts. ... The citizens of Wisconsin will now get to see the documentation Republicans fought so hard to keep from the public eye."

LOCAL BEAR NUGGET!!
Bear Enters Mall Through Automatic Doors In Pennsylvania (VIDEO) from the Huffington Post
"The frightened creature headed towards the mall and entered a Sears Grand store through the automatic doors, according to WTAE."

Friday, July 20, 2012

News Nuggets 1015


DAYLEE PICTURE: A rocky mountain goat in Colorado.  From National Geographic.

UP-FRONT FOREIGN POLICY NUGGET!!
Where Obama Shines (David Brooks) from the New York Times
"It won’t help him win many votes this year, but it should be noted that Barack Obama has been a good foreign policy president. He, Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the rest of his team have created a style of policy making that is flexible, incremental and well adapted to the specific circumstances of this moment. Following a foreign policy hedgehog, Obama’s been a pretty effective fox."

Syria's Dictatorship is in Tatters from the Editorial Board of the Australian
"THE bomb blast at security headquarters in Damascus has blown a hole in the heart of the Syrian regime, killing key members of the ruling inner circle. It should leave President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies in no doubt about the utter failure of their responses since the uprising against the dictatorship began 17 months ago."

Russia Official: Assad Ready to Step Down from Power; Syria Denies from Al Haaretz [of Israel in English]
"Russia's ambassador to France says Syrian president accepted a deal to transition country into democratic regime, resign."

What Comes After Assad in Syria? (Bruce Reidel) from the Daily Beast 
"President Bashar al-Assad’s regime may soon collapse. Bruce Riedel on what that means for the Middle East."

4th Member of Assad Regime, Syria Security Chief Gen. Hisham Ikhtiyar, Dies after Damascus Bombing from CBS News
"The others killed in the blast were Gen. Assef Shawkat, the deputy defense minister who was married to Assad's elder sister, Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha and Hassan Turkmani, a former defense minister."

Sorry, Iran. I Didn’t Mean to Invade You (Eli Lake) from the Daily Beast 
"A new type of malware is attacking computers in Iran, Israel, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. The delivery device? An emailed attachment of MY story!"

Exclusive: Kim to Reform North Korean Economy after Purge: Source from Reuters
"Impoverished North Korea is gearing up to experiment with agricultural and economic reforms after young leader Kim Jong-un and his powerful uncle purged the country's top general for opposing change, a source with ties to both Pyongyang and Beijing said."

Comeback Kid: America’s Economy is Once Again Reinventing Itself from the Economist [of London]
"America’s economy is certainly in a tender state. But the pessimism of the presidential slanging-match misses something vital. Led by its inventive private sector, the economy is remaking itself (see article). Old weaknesses are being remedied and new strengths discovered, with an agility that has much to teach stagnant Europe and dirigiste Asia."

Democrats Gain the Upper Hand on the Budget from the Editorial Board of the New York Times
"It’s only been a year since Congressional Republicans, bent on cutting spending, manufactured a financial crisis by threatening not to raise the debt ceiling. Now, apparently thinking the public has forgotten that debacle, they’re furious that Democrats have figured out a way to turn the tables."

Nancy Pelosi Plots to Retake House, 1 Seat at a Time from Politico 
"Since relinquishing the speaker’s gavel 18 months ago, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hasn’t spent any time wallowing in the loss. Many thought she’d stoically step aside — as had her predecessors — after her party suffered historic loses. Instead, she has ricocheted across the country raising nearly $60 million in a frenetic effort to get that gavel back."

Is Obama Alienating Rich Voters? (Nate Cohn) from the New Republic 
"While the assumption that these tactics would alienate upscale voters is superficially appealing, most polls tell a different story."

Romney's Tax Returns Are Only the Beginning (Lincoln Mitchell) from the Huffington Post
"In the bigger picture, the troubles Romney is encountering in his presidential campaign this week around both his unwillingness to release his tax returns and his record at Bain indicate that the businessman turned politician model is not going to be as successful as many in the Republican Party hoped."

On the National Circus: Mitt Can’t Wait Out His Tax Storm (Frank Rich) from New York Magazine
"What Mitt doesn’t seem to realize is that whatever embarrassments are in his tax returns, the bigger problem is that his secrecy keeps accentuating all the mysteries in his resume: the erased hard drives he left behind when leaving office as Massachusetts governor; what exactly he did as a longtime lay official in the Mormon church; and, of course, what exactly he did and didn’t do at Bain and, for that matter, when he was there and not there."

The Pain in Bain: Why Romney’s So Afraid of Talking About What He Did at Bain (Jacob Weisberg) from Slate
"Here are five reasons why the Obama campaign wants this subject—what Romney did at Bain, when he left, what he had for lunch when he worked there—to stay front and center for as long as possible."

Joe Lieberman’s Slow-Motion Divorce From the Democratic Party (Howard Kurtz) from the Daily Beast
"He has been driving Democrats crazy for nearly 25 years. Howard Kurtz talks to the retiring senator about why he believes his party abandoned him."

George W. Bush Talks About Life After the White House at Memphis Hospital Celebration (Andy Meek) from the Daily Beast
"At a hospital anniversary celebration, the former president talked about his life since leaving the White House, and politics was barely an issue, Andy Meek reports."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

News Nuggets 1014


DAYEE PICTURE: Giraffes and gazelles in Namibia.  From National Geographic.

China's "Heart Attack" In June: Beijing Overstated Q2 Growth (Gordon Chang) from Forbes Magazine
"China’s economy faltered in June, showing definite signs of contraction.  The downturn last month almost certainly means Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics overstated growth when it announced on Friday that the country’s economy expanded 7.6% in Q2 from the same quarter last year."
Should anyone be surprised at this point?  

Where is the Political Savvy Hiding in China? (Tom Plate) from the Japan Times [in English]
"China does not need any more problems, particularly self-created ones. And this is why I — who like many Americans sincerely wish China good fortune — am worried: Some of the new problems seem largely self-created. Here are a few problems that China doesn't need and which it could ease by unilateral action:..."

North Korean Military Chief is Removed in Possible Sign of Power Struggle from the Guardian [of the UK]
"Official reason is illness but analysts suspect Ri Yong-ho, a key mentor of Kim Jong-un, was sidelined for political reasons."

Are Millennials the Screwed Generation? (Joel Kotkin) from Newsweek 
"‘Boomer America’ never had it so good. As a result, today’s young Americans have never had it so bad."

Democrats Threaten GOP with ‘Fiscal Cliff’ (Lori Montgomery) from the Washington Post
"Senior party members say they are prepared to weather an event that could plunge nation back into recession if 2013 arrives without a compromise on taxes."

GOP to the Uninsured: Drop Dead (Matt Miller) from the Washington Post 
"Fifty million uninsured Americans would be the immediate casualties of the GOP’s “let them eat the emergency room” mentality. But all of us would be at risk. In America — alone among wealthy nations — everyone is a pink slip or job change or new illness away from finding they have lost coverage or are uninsurable. This is the shameful reality behind the GOP’s rhetoric on health care. Republicans don’t want to spend a penny to insure the uninsured."

Mitt Romney's Painfully Bad Week (David Frum) from CNN
"By any measure, the Mitt Romney for president campaign has had a painfully bad week. What went wrong?"

Red Alert for Romney (Charlie Cook) from the National Journal
"The Romney campaign risks defeat by not promoting its candidate as a three-dimensional, trustworthy human being."

Obama Campaign Goes For The Jugular On Romney's Taxes (VIDEO) (Sam Stein) from the Huffington Post
"All three videos hit at the same theme: Romney's obstinacy on tax returns has become a crippling problem for his campaign and one that Democrats are intent on compounding."

Status of Bain and Romney’s Tax Returns (Mark Halprin) from Time Magazine 
"Pause for two beats and pay Prizzi’s Honor-style homage to the ruthless killing machine that is the combined White House-Chicago operation. They have parceled out their opposition research in a manner both strategic and tactical, selecting specific news organizations at times of their choosing to maximize the drip-drip-drip of the twin stories."

Conservative Pundits: Is Romney Hiding Something? from Talking Points Memo 
"It’s a bad sign for Mitt Romney when conservatives begin to question why he won’t release his tax returns."
Most likely scenario: the tax returns don't show that he has done anything illegal or out of the ordinary for the super-rich.  What I suspect they will show is that Romney has lied or dissembled about something in his public utterances.  In what area?  I suspect we will know soon enough because I can't see that he will be able to keep those returns hidden for much longer.

Romney’s Problem of his Own Making (Eugene Robinson) from the Washington Post
"Mitt Romney has every right to cloak his personal and professional finances in secrecy — and voters have every right to assume he has something embarrassing to hide. If this seems unfair, Romney has only himself to blame. Through a series of miscalculations, Romney has managed to turn what should have been a minor hiccup into what may be a defining moment, and not in a good way."

Romney’s Bain Yielded Private Gains, Socialized Losses (Anthony Luzzatto Gardner) from the Bloomberg News Service
"Romney was fabulously successful in generating high returns for its investors. He did so, in large part, through heavy use of tax-deductible debt, usually to finance outsized dividends for the firm’s partners and investors. When some of the investments went bad, workers and creditors felt most of the pain. Romney privatized the gains and socialized the losses."

Five Reasons Condi Rice will Not be Mitt Romney's VP Pick (Blake Hounshell) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"... here are 5 reasons why Mitt Romney is not going to pick Condoleezza Rice as his running mate, no matter what Matt Drudge would have us believe. As Red State's Eric Erickson colorfully put it, "I don’t know who is hitting the crack rock tonight in the rumor mill, but bull shiitake mushrooms.""

HANYDMAN NUGGET!!
How to Clean Paint Brushes Using Fabric Softener from Stylist.com
"...we've got a tip on how to clean bristles that have been dipped in latex paint."

GHOSTS NUGGET!!
Nine Most Haunted Places from the Huffington Post
"Here is a small sample of that book--a selection of nine pictures and brief accompanying texts to help us decide, from a scientific approach, whether there really are haunted places--or only haunted people."

ANTHROPOLOGY NUGGET!!
A Bone Here, a Bead There: On the Trail of Human Origins (John Noble Wilford) from the New York Times
"Dr. Stringer, an authority on modern human evolution, calls it “a fantastic time” for the field amid new revelations."

Monday, July 16, 2012

News Nuggets 1013


DAYLEE PICTURE: A crocodile in Queensland, Australia.  From National Geographic.

How Obama’s Middle East Policy Has Worked (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast
"Despite America’s low popularity ratings in the Middle East, the president has succeeded in the region through actions like killing bin Laden, imposing sanctions on Iran, and withdrawing from Iraq."

Military Mentor to North Korean Leader Dismissed from the Associated Press 
"He was the guardian figure always at the side of North Korea's young new leader. As the top army official, his experience and position lent Kim Jong Un credibility with the troops. Now, Vice Marshal Ri Yong Ho is out, dismissed from several powerful posts because of "illness," state media said Monday in a brief surprise announcement just days after he last appeared in public."

It's Official: China Is Slowing Down (Matthew O'Brien) from the Atlantic 
"The signs of trouble are all too clear in the world's growth engine."

The 2012 Drought Reaches 'Dust Bowl' Proportions (Dashiell Bennett) from the Atlantic
"More than 50 percent of the United States is under drought conditions right now, putting 2012 in the same category with some of the worst droughts in the nation's history. The 54.6 percent figure (not counting Alaska and Hawaii) makes this year's drought the sixth worst on record in terms of area covered, behind only the brutal droughts of the mid-1950s and the "Dust Bowl" era of the 1930s."

Triangulators Panic: Obama Weakening Welfare Reform? (Alex Pareene) from Salon
"Why are conservatives and triangulating Democrats suddenly worried that Obama has killed Clinton's welfare reform? ... During the boom years, welfare reform succeeded largely in making the poor into the working poor. During the busts, welfare reform simply meant that it was effectively impossible for numerous people to receive assistance. The Third Way works again!"

Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do’ (Jason DeParle) from the New York Times 
"They pass their days in similar ways: juggling toddlers, coaching teachers and swapping small secrets that mark them as friends. They even got tattoos together. Though Ms. Faulkner, as the boss, earns more money, the difference is a gap, not a chasm. But a friendship that evokes parity by day becomes a study of inequality at night and a testament to the way family structure deepens class divides."

Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved? (Ross Douthat) from the New York Times 
"Traditional believers, both Protestant and Catholic, have not necessarily thrived in this environment. The most successful Christian bodies have often been politically conservative but theologically shallow, preaching a gospel of health and wealth rather than the full New Testament message. But if conservative Christianity has often been compromised, liberal Christianity has simply collapsed. "

Retired High Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Makes Civics a Personal Mission from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“Civics training is not really part of their learning in our schools today,” said O’Connor, 82, who lives in Washington and Arizona. “We need to tell every succeeding generation how government is structured.”

Richard Posner Bashes Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling (James Warren) from the Daily Beast
"Richard Posner is the most influential conservative judge outside the Supreme Court. And he thinks its campaign-finance ruling encourages bribery. James Warren on Posner's latest shot—and Scalia's gun love."

We’re Getting Wildly Differing Assessments (Tom Goldstein) from the SCOTUS blog
"A minute-by-minute account of the Supreme Court's ruling on the American Care Act, and how some news organizations got it initially wrong:"

How Big is 50.7 Million Uninsured? (Dylan Matthews) from the Washington Post
"...what else could we compare the insured population count to, to give a better sense of its sheer scale? The following infographic is the result of our extensive research."

White House to States: Time to Get on Board with Healthcare Reform (Sam Baker) from The Hill
"The Obama administration is aggressively pushing states to implement the healthcare reform law now that the Supreme Court has upheld it. In the two weeks since the court issued its decision, the Health and Human Services Department has pushed out new grants, new policies and a new rhetorical standby: It’s time to get onboard."

Texas' Poll Tax in Disguise (Bruce Ackerman and Jennifer Nou) from the Los Angeles Times
"A law requiring a photo ID to vote attacks a key achievement of the civil rights era."

14 Reasons Why This is the Worst Congress Ever (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"Hating on Congress is a beloved American tradition. Hence Mark Twain’s old joke, “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” But the 112th Congress is no ordinary congress. It’s a very bad, no good, terrible Congress. It is, in fact, one of the very worst congresses we have ever had. Here, I’ll prove it:"

Why Obama May Be Stronger Than His Approval Ratings (Nate Silver) from the New York Times
"...there is a small slice of the electorate, about 4 percent, that has a favorable view of Mr. Obama, but does not approve of his job performance. Given how close the election is, the way they behave in November could be decisive."

Romney’s Palin Problem: Where’s Her Convention Invite? (Peter Boyer) from Newsweek
"Mitt still hasn’t invited Sarah to the GOP’s nomination assembly in Tampa, and the Tea Party is livid. Peter J. Boyer on how the snub could sabotage Romney’s tenuous ties to the grassroots—and why Palin is keeping the week open, just in case."

LGBT HISTORY NUGGET!!
The Chickens and the Bulls (William McGowan) from Slate
"The rise and incredible fall of a vicious extortion ring that preyed on prominent gay men in the 1960s."

BABY NAME NUGGET!!
Baby Names 2012: The Hottest Baby Names Of The Year (So Far) from the Huffington Post
Virtually all of these names seem to me to be just awful!!
"The hottest baby names 2012 -- those attracting the biggest spikes in views on Nameberry for the first six months of this year -- are an astonishing group: Highly unusual yet strangely familiar, heavily
influenced by pop culture yet boldly individualistic."

Friday, July 13, 2012

News Nuggets 1012


DAYLEE PICTURE: Canada Geese in the Netherlands.  From National Geographic.

UP-FRONT ROMNEY NUGGET!!
Mitt Romney's 'Big Lie' on Bain: 6 Ways it Hurts Him from The Week 
"Romney caps off a bad week with a big fight over whether he lied about when he left Bain Capital. Here's why such a small dispute matters so much."

The Predicaments of Chinese Power (Minghao Zhao) from the New York Times 
"China increasingly realizes the predicaments it faces while its power has been growing rapidly. Indeed, the disturbance of China’s regional diplomacy in recent years suggests that it is encountering daunting challenges on exercising and securing power."

Floating Base Gives U.S. New Footing in the Persian Gulf from the New York Times
"One of the Navy’s oldest transport ships, now converted into one of its newest platforms for warfare, arrived in waters off Bahrain late last week, a major addition to the enlarged presence of American forces in the Persian Gulf designed as a counter to Iran."

Iran Nuclear Talks Are Working (Robert Dreyfuss) from The Diplomat 
"Despite hawks' chest thumping, what the ongoing talks have shown is a path to success, says Robert Dreyfuss."

Why Israel Won’t Bomb Iran: At least Until the U.S. Presidential Election, Netanyahu Won’t Risk Angering Obama (Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman) from The Tablet
"Although the decision rests in the hands of only two men, and ultimately in Netanyahu’s alone, it can be said with confidence that there will be no Israeli military strike on Iran before America’s Election Day this year. ... What makes us so confident?"

Youth Unemployment in Europe: The Scariest Chart in Europe Just Got Even Scarier (Derek Thompson) from the Atlantic
"In March this year, for the first time on record, more than half of the young people in Spain and Greece were counted as unemployed by the OECD, which provided the chart above. Three months later, the situation is still getting worse."

The World Desperately Wants to Loan Us Money (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"...And it means we have the opportunity to get capital for almost nothing and invest it productively.
Actually, I got something wrong there. I said “almost nothing.” But that 1.459 percent doesn’t account for inflation. And so when you do account for inflation, it’s not “almost nothing.” It’s “less than nothing.”"

Democrats Think the Tables Are Turning on the ACA, and Some Predict a Public Option (George Zornick) from the Nation
"“Ultimately you’re going to get to controlling cost. And one of the ways to do it is a public option. And so I think that will come onto the agenda when we get into the 2013 session..."

Massive Coalition Fights Congress Over Looming Domestic Cuts from Talking Points Memo
"...nearly 3,000 organizations that benefit from non-defense discretionary spending, including heavy hitters like AARP, have aligned to push Congress to sort out not just the tax and defense issues, but across the board cuts that threaten medical research, border security and everything in
between."

Was There An Eyewitness To The Trayvon Martin Killing? from Talking Points Memo
"In the raft of evidence made public Thursday in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, one woman appears to be the closest thing prosecutors have to an eyewitness in their second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman."

Evangelicals Struggle to Address Premarital Sex and Abortion (David Sessions) from the Daily Beast
"Their theological line against premarital sex is falling on the deaf ears of young believers, some of whom get pregnant and have abortions, thanks to their ignorance about contraception. Now, evangelicals are debating whether churches can embrace contraception as a backup plan."

Obama Holds Lead, Romney Trails on Most Issues from the Pew Research Center
"Despite the stagnant economy and broad dissatisfaction with national conditions, Barack Obama holds a significant lead over Mitt Romney."

Obama Does Not Always Get Good Job Ratings but His Likeability May Be the Key to a Win (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast
"People often disparage the president in polls, but they like him a lot more than they like Romney, and that could prove crucial in November, writes Peter Beinart."

Mitt’s Self-inflicted Wounds (Joan Walsh) from Salon
"The real problem is that Romney made his qualifications as a business leader his main calling card as a presidential candidate – and immediately began backpedaling away from his career."

Mitt Romney Bain Mess Shows Stonewalling Consequences (Howard Fineman) from the Huffington Post
"It takes perverse talent to turn a two-day mini-story into a major three-week distraction. But that is precisely what Mitt Romney's campaign has done with a June 21 story in the Washington Post. As a result, they're losing valuable media time playing defense..."

Bain Barrage Worries Republicans from Politico
"The problem for the Romney campaign, when it comes to the Bain issue, is that things are reaching the point where the facts don’t really matter. The bigger problem is that the Bain cloud now hanging over the former Massachusetts governor is growing daily, and the Romney campaign still hasn’t found a compelling way to respond to what’s becoming the driving narrative, fairly or unfairly, of the 2012 campaign."

MONKEY NUGGET!!
The Great Ape escape: Panic at German Zoo as Five Chimpanzees Create Makeshift Ladder Out of Branches from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"2,500 visitors evacuated by police and zookeepers armed with pepper spray.  Five year old girl and elderly man hurt in the panic.  Four of the chimps returned of their own accord"


Monday, July 9, 2012

News Nuggets 1011


DAYLEE PICTURE: Deepwater whip coral in Suruga Bay in Japan.  From National Geographic.
Due to lack of regular internet access and moving, the daylee nuggets will not be daily this week or occasionally during the summer.  Your patience is appreciated.

Mitt's Gray Areas (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"...the contrast between George Romney and his son Mitt — a contrast both in their business careers and in their willingness to come clean about their financial affairs — dramatically illustrates how America has changed."

Redefining Success and Celebrating the Ordinary from the New York Times 
"I understand that Mr. McCullough, son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, is telling these high school seniors that the world might not embrace them as unconditionally as their parents have. That just because they’ve been told they’re amazing doesn’t mean that they are. That they have to do something to prove themselves, not just accept compliments and trophies. So where did this intense need to be exceptional come from?"

The Hollowing Out (Thomas Edsall) from the New York Times
"Is technological innovation driving a permanent future of joblessness?"

Obama’s Big Health Care Win: An Incredible Stroke of Luck (Michael Grunwald) from Time Magazine
"Obama has secured an achievement that Democrats have dreamed of since FDR and Truman, extending health insurance to the uninsured, while laying the groundwork for systemic reforms. As Vice President Joe Biden said, it’s a big you-know-what deal. And as the Duke of Wellington once said, it was a near run thing."

What Happens if a State Opts Out of Medicaid, in One Chart (Sarah Kliff) from the Washington Post
"If governors opt their states out of the health law’s Medicaid expansion — as many are now threatening to do — it’s the poorest Americans who would find themselves getting the rawest deal."

Five Basics for Defending Obamacare (Bob Burnett) from Alternet
"President Obama, and all Democrats, needs to do a better job of conveying the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Here are 5 points to remember:..."

John Roberts Health Care Switch Sparks 'Deep' Supreme Court 'Discord' from the Huffington Post
"More than a week removed from the Supreme Court's landmark health care ruling, a new report of dissension among the justices has emerged. ... "The discord is deep and it is personal," said Crawford on the broadcast. "This could affect this court for a long time.""
Who knows?  Maybe it will get Roberts to be the chief justice he said he was going to be during confirmation.  One can only hope.  HERE's the original story from CBS News.

John Roberts’ Trail Of Hints That He’d Uphold ‘Obamacare’ from Talking Points Memo
"After his hostile questioning during oral arguments, most court watchers placed his vote comfortably in the “overturn” column. But in the months leading up to the decision, Roberts left behind a trail of subtle — albeit inconclusive — hints that he may vote in favor of the law."

Supreme Court Health Care Ruling: How CNN, Fox News Ran With The Wrong News (VIDEO) from the Huffington Post
"CNN and Fox producers were scouring the opinion and read that the individual mandate was "not a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause." The statement appeared at the bottom of page two, and producers at CNN and Fox News immediately ran with the information."

The GOP’s Class-Warfare Hypocrisy, From Nixon to Romney (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast
"Romney in the Hamptons, Romney on a Jet Ski at his N.H. estate—conservatives may be crying foul at the Obama campaign playing up these stories, but they’re masters at running on class resentment, says Peter Beinart."

Mississippi Voters' Catch-22 (Joan McCarter) from Daily Kos
"If you don't have acceptable photo identification to vote, you have to have your birth certificate to get a voter ID. But you can't get your birth certificate unless you have photo identification. This is apparently a problem that state officials were well aware of, but not really doing anything about."

Impact of Jobs Report on Presidential Contest Minimal (David Lauter) from the Los Angeles Times
"Obama’s apparent ability to defy economic gravity highlights some key electoral realities: Partisanship trumps statistics, national figures may be tempered by those in battleground states and undecided voters tend to tune out much of what happens in campaigns, at least until the fall’s presidential debates, when the remaining holdouts sometimes take sides."

Swing States Poll: Amid Barrage of Ads, Obama Has Edge (Susan Page) from USA Today
"At this point, Obama is the clear winner in the ad wars. Among swing-state voters who say the ads have changed their minds about a candidate, rather than just confirmed what they already thought, 76% now support the president, vs. 16% favoring Romney."

How Obama Can Really Hurt the GOP: Focus on Its Radical Economic Plan (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"The president can sink Romney by trumpeting the details of the ludicrous economic solutions he’s been backing. How Mitt would turn America into one big Pottersville."

Romney Won't Pick Woman VP Because of Sarah Palin (Rebekah Metzler) from US News and World Report
"Despite hints from Ann Romney, wife of likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney, that her husband is considering at least one woman in his vice presidential search, it's unlikely he'll actually a tap a female for the post. That's because the long shadow of Sarah Palin still hangs over vice presidential politics ..."

When Voters Don't Believe Romney (Jonathan Bernstein) from the Washington Post
"t’s difficult for anyone to know what to take at face value and what to ignore."

SANITATION HISTORY NUGGET!!
Quite Likely the Worst Job Ever (Mike Dash) from Smithsonian Magazine 
"Inside 19th Century London's sewers with "toshers," who made a living by scouring for trash and waste to be resold: "They were mostly celebrated, nonetheless, for the living that the sewers gave them, which was enough to support a tribe of around 200 men–each of them known only by his nickname: Lanky Bill, Long Tom, One-eyed George, Short-armed Jack...."