A Syrian Defector’s Mission (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"Syria’s most prominent military defector says the key to political transition there is to provide a “safety net” that convinces Alawites they won’t be massacred if they break with President Bashar al-Assad."
U.S. Court Knocks Down Texas Law Requiring Photo ID to Vote (Meteor Blades) from Daily Kos
"A law that would have required Texans to present a photo ID at the polls before being allowed to vote has been rejected by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The law would, the court said,
disenfranchise African American and Latino voters."
Lagging Faith in Romney is GOP Challenge (Charles Babington) from the Associated Press via Yahoo News
"Americans like winners, pollsters say. The "who do you THINK will win" question has a strong — but certainly not infallible — track record of signaling where an election is going. The numbers are startling. Poll after poll shows Obama and Romney roughly even when people are asked the "horse race" question: who do you support for president? But Romney trails Obama badly when the same people are asked: Who do you believe will win?"
NBC News-WSJ Poll: Romney is Not in the Black — Literally (Jonathan Capehart) from the Washington Post
"Rare is the time that a poll number makes me gasp. But there is one in the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll that elicited one. While it was no surprise to see that President Obama snared 94 percent of African Americans surveyed, the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney got nuthin’, zilch, niente, a big fat 0 percent."
WOW! Zero percent!
Republicans Playing Brutus (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"Exploiting the tepid enthusiasm for Romney, up-and-comers in the party are using the convention to put down markers for their own presidential bids in 2016. They haven’t gone so far as to disparage Romney — such flagrant disloyalty would be a turnoff — but they are using their moments on stage as auditions. Unfortunately for Romney, the implied assumption is that he’s going to lose."
Some VERY interesting follow-up to the Babington article. A big excerpt is in order:
No One Thinks Romney Will Win, Because He Won't (Markos Moulitsas) from Daily Kos
"Yesterday, Chuck Todd on MSNBC talked about how Republicans wanted to refocus on Wisconsin as they see Ohio slip away. They. See. Ohio. Slipping. Away. I'm not sure how Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes makes up for Ohio's 18, or Pennsylvania's 20. Even if Republicans surrender both those states, winning Colorado, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia—states Obama won in 2008—that wouldn't be enough for Mitt Romney to get to 270. Fact is, Republicans are losing. Just watch their convention and note the utter lack of energy. Nothing. We all hated Sarah Palin, sure, but she lit that convention hall on fire. George W. Bush knew how to amp it up. Zell Miller had the place rocking. On Tuesday night, Chris Christie had to order people to stand up."
"Ohio slipping away" -- can that be true? Without Ohio, Romney is going down.
Will They Decipher the Cipher? (Maureen Dowd) from the New York Times
"Mitt Romney doesn’t elicit passion, as Ronald Reagan did in Detroit. Or respect, as Poppy Bush did in New Orleans. Or excitement, as W. did in Philadelphia. Or admiration, as John McCain did in St. Paul. The emotion he evokes is pity."
Paul Ryan and the Post-Truth Convention Speech (James Fallows) from the Atlantic
"I am impressed, in a bad way, that Ryan thought he could just brazen it through. But it is also impressive that, at least in the short run, parts of the press are responding as they must in an era when politicians don't care. That is, they're not simply quoting "critics" about things Ryan made up. They are outright saying that he is telling lies. [MANY examples follow].
An example: this item from FOX NEWS!!
Paul Ryan’s Speech in 3 Words (Sally Kohn) from Fox News
"... [Word No. 2]: Deceiving. On the other hand, to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold."
Turning Point? Media Backlash Continues Against Paul Ryan’s Misleading Speech from Talking Points Memo
"The media’s backlash against Paul Ryan and the factually unsound premises of his Wednesday convention speech continued well into Thursday, and turned what the GOP hoped would be glowing headlines into a less lustrous mix of fawning and criticism."
Major Republican Speakers Avoid Two Words: "Tea Party" (Rosie Gray) from Buzzfeed
"Not a single prime time mention of the movement after two days of the Republican National Convention. Not Romney's crowd?"
GOP Convention, Mitt Romney Haunted By Ghost Of George W. Bush (Dan Froomkin) from the Huffington Post
"... his absence is not just physical; it's metaphysical. That's because Bush's very existence belies two of the most critical selling points of GOP nominee Mitt Romney's presidential campaign: That tax cuts for the rich will create jobs, and that Romney is bringing a fresh new approach that can turn the country's fortunes around."
Ron Fournier: Romney is Playing a Racial Game (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"What makes this all noteworthy is who Fournier is. He’s well respected in Washington journalism, having worked as the Associated Press’s Washington correspondent — where he was called on first in many presidential press conferences — before becoming editor in chief of the National Journal Group. Having him come out and explicitly charge the Romney campaign with race-baiting will make this a safer topic among some of the top-shelf commentator and journalist types who might otherwise have shied away from it."
Ann Romney and Chris Christie (Peggy Noonan) from the Wall Street Journal
Peggy Noonan hasn't made an appearance at this blog in years.
"I want to tell you they marched out of the hall Tuesday night on fire for their side. But I was there and they did not. They walked out like people who weren’t quite sure what to think or how to feel but were hoping for the best.”"
Political Passions are on the Loose Across the Land from the Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"The judge, who is a Republican, the county's emergency management director and head of its commissioner's court, told a local Fox television station that the possibility of "civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war, maybe" existed if Mr. Obama won and then tried "to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N. ... In Texas, no leading Republican so far, including Gov. Rick Perry, a former presidential candidate, has condemned Mr. Head's remarks."
Three States Hold the Keys to the Election (David Rothschild) from the Huffington Post
"If you have limited time to devote to following the presidential election this fall, I suggest you follow the data on just three states: Florida, Virginia, and Ohio. Mitt Romney's only likely path to victory over Barack Obama is to win those three states. Conversely, if Obama can carry just one of those states, he will likely win the election."
SUMMER MOVIE NUGGET!!
‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ ‘Ted,’ ‘Battleship’: Summer’s Biggest Movie Winners and Losers (Chris Lee) from the Daily Beast
"With fall already in the air and popcorn movie season ending next week, we look back at the season’s surprise hits, biggest flops, and career-killing screw-ups, from ‘The Avengers’ to ‘Ted’ to ‘Abraham Lincoln.’"
A few hints on what to put in your Netflix queue -- and what to drop.
CYBORG NUGGET [of a sort]!!
Half Man, Half Machine: Scientists Engineer First 'Cyborg' Tissue from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"It like it’s something out of a science-fiction movie – genius scientists engineer a synthetic skin that’s part living, part electronics. But scientists at Harvard University have done just that, creating meshes of electronic and biological tissue. The end result is cyborg tissue, which is created from electrodes and wires combined on a Nano-scale."
CYBORG DOG NUGGET!!
Dog Who Had its Front Paws Cut Off is Back on its Feet with Prosthetic Limbs (VIDEO) from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Pay de Limon's horrific injuries are believed to have been inflicted by members of a Mexican drug gang Staff at a Mexican rescue centre raised nearly £4,000 to pay for a new pair of prosthetic legs for the mutilated dog"
BOOK READING NUGGET!!
What Kind of Book Reader Are You? A Diagnostics Guide (Jen Doll) from the Atlantic
"...for as many books as exist, there are also any number of different reading types a book lover (or even a book hater) might demonstrate. What kind are you?"
ACADEMIC CHEATING NUGGET [what else can I call it?]!!
Harvard Investigates "Unprecedented" Academic Dishonesty Case from the Harvard Crimson
"Nearly half of more than 250 students in "Introduction to Congress" are under investigation."
OMG!! Now -- I should say, having looked over the article and the exam in question, the professor of this course was ASKING for trouble. His exam instructions were "“The exam is completely open book, open note, open internet, etc. However, in all other regards, this should fall under similar guidelines that apply to in-class exams. More specifically, students may not discuss the exam with others—this includes resident tutors, writing centers, etc.”" GOOD LUCK with that. The professor should dust off his cv. One way or the other, he'll take the fall for such a humiliating story.
LEONARDO DI VINCI NUGGET!!
Remarkable 500-year-old Leonardo Da Vinci Casting of Horse and Rider Unveiled After Original was Lost for Centuries from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Famed artist, scientist, and engineer Leonardo di Vinci created a beeswax sculpture of a man riding a horse in 1508, thought to be a model for a larger commission. But the Italian Renaissance master died before the model could be cast in metal, and mysteriously vanished from public sight for centuries. But after painstaking search, the casting was recovered, and a bronze sculpture of the horse and rider was finally unveiled."
How completely AMAZING!! This bronz is the only surviving work of sculpture of this great Italian master!!