Friday, November 30, 2012

News Nuggets 1118

DAYLEE PICTURE: A one-year-old bear in a tree in Alaska.  From National Geographic.

Fox And Unfriends (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast
Sullivan weighs in on his experience of being blackballed on Fox News. 
"... the strategy of simply ignoring dissent worked - and helped secure the GOP's current nadir. What happened in the Bush-Cheney years was a ruthless attempt to nullify as far as possible the reach of the
dissidents. We live with the consequences. ... Why not have the author on to defend his own work? Why not have at me and let me fight back? Because they were never interested in a real debate, just phony ones. ... Roger Ailes has helped kill conservatism in America, by never allowing it to criticize itself. When journalism puts power above truth it isn't, to coin a phrase, "actual journalism". It's propaganda."

Mr. China Comes to America (James Fallows) from the Atlantic
"For decades, every trend in manufacturing favored the developing world and worked against the United States. But new tools that greatly speed up development from idea to finished product encourage start-up companies to locate here, not in Asia. Could global trade winds finally be blowing toward America again?"

The Obama Doctrine from the Economist [of London]
"Senior officials say that Mr Obama aims to be “present but not deeply involved” around the globe. They call America an “indispensable catalyst” and the cornerstone of a rules-based international order centred on economic competitiveness (deals on free trade and climate change may get a look-in on those grounds). By winding down the Bush legacy of an all-consuming military response to the September 11th attacks, Mr Obama has freed up “national security bandwidth” to engage with the world in all its complexity. It is an experiment..."

Class Wars of 2012 (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"This was very much an election pitting the interests of the very rich against those of the middle class and the poor. And the Obama campaign won largely by disregarding the warnings of squeamish “centrists” and embracing that reality, stressing the class-war aspect of the confrontation. ... The important thing to understand now is that while the election is over, the class war isn’t. The same people who bet big on Mr. Romney, and lost, are now trying to win by stealth..."

Six Nominees to Succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"With opposition to Susan Rice mounting daily, Michael Tomasky proposes six alternative nominees for the top post at Foggy Bottom. Head of the list? The winner of the 2000 election."

Dems Laugh Off GOP Demand That They Make First Move On Medicare Benefit Cut from Talking Points Memo
"Faced with the reality that taxes are going up, either automatically or with their tacit assent, Republicans are hoping that they can bank an ideologically suitable down-payment on a broader deficit reduction package in the form of cuts to Medicare spending. The problem is, unlike the Democrats’ calls for higher taxes on rich Americans, the GOP’s preferred Medicare cuts are deeply unpopular."

Why Conservatives Must Surrender on 'Redistribution' (Josh Barro) from the Bloomberg News Service
"But the key problem in this debate isn't that liberals' ideas are bad, though many of them (especially on trade) are. It's that conservatives have no serious proposals of their own on rising inequality. ... "

Boehner's Inability to Bargain Helps Dems from the Democratic Strategist 
"Chait goes on to explain that some Republicans are still entertaining delusions of having big leverage in the negotiations, but the smarter ones are accepting the reality: "At least some Republicans understand that this isn't a gun aimed at Obama's head. It's a gun aimed at their own."

Politico: Fiscal Framework Emerging (Jed Lewison) from Daily Kos
"Assuming that's accurate, then (a) the Obama team is taking the right negotiating posture and (b) it seems like putting a number on Medicare cuts or describing the form in which those cuts would come is pure speculation (or, perhaps, wishful thinking, given the Beltway's preoccupation with cutting Medicare)."

How 'Trojan Horse' Strategy Strengthened Obama's Current Edge from the Democratic Strategist
"All of which puts the President in a stronger position to challenge the Bush tax cuts this time around."

Exclusive: The Internal Polls That Made Mitt Romney Think He'd Win (Noam Scheiber) from the New Republic
"Newhouse and some of his colleagues have said that the biggest flaw in their polling was the failure to predict the demographic composition of the electorate. Broadly speaking, the people who showed up to vote on November 6 were younger and less white than Team Romney anticipated, and far more Democratic as a result."
WHO CALLED IT!?  Scheiber frames this story as one that explains why the Romney folks were confident they were going to win on election day (which the author does well).  The flip side of this story shows why the Obama folks were so confident they would win ... and that they were confident all through the summer and fall.  As I had mentioned several times here during the campaign, most polling groups were using the demographic breakdown of the 2008 presidential election as their "filter" for weighing their polls.  Obama and his people knew those weights were incorrect and adjusted their own internal polling to reflect higher turnout of Democratic voters.  Their is a second shoe to this story.  Both the African American vote and the Latino vote went up in 2012 by about 1-2 percentage points compared to '08.  This may not seem like a huge increase -- and normally it might not be.  But the key for the Obama people was that they carried the AA vote north of 95 PERCENT and they carried the Latino vote by approximately 75 PERCENT!  As I noted in the last months of the campaign, Obama basically had a hidden 1-2 percent advantage in the state and national polls all along -- and he and his team knew it.  

Can This Party Be Saved? (Mike Murphy) from Time Magazine
"Identifying the problem is easy. The Republican challenge is not about better voter-turnout software; it is about policy. We repel Latinos, the fastest-growing voter group in the country, with our nativist opposition to immigration reform that offers a path to citizenship. We repel younger voters, who are much more secular than their parents, with our opposition to same-sex marriage and our scolding tone on social issues. And we have lost much of our once solid connection to the middle class on
kitchen-table economic issues."

Jon Huntsman Strategist On GOP: 'Alas, We Are Still In The Wilderness' (Sam Stein) from the Huffington Post
"Huntsman argued in his HuffPost interview that if the Republican Party is to be an effective force on the presidential level, it should start by expanding the universe with which it engages. He pointed to the lack of conservative roots on college campuses as an example. "Nobody is there making the sale," he said."

SEN-2014: 2014 Senate Preview: Can Republicans Finally Turn Potential Into Reality? (Larry Sabato andKyle Kondik) from the UVA Center for Politics
Despite a favorable Senate map in 2014 -- Republicans only have to defend 13 seat while Democrats have to defend 20 -- Sabato & Kondik conclude Republicans "will need a national wave, along the lines of what they had in November 2010... For a net six close races to tip to the GOP in two years, it will take more than good candidates and favorable geography; the atmospherics of 2014 will have to be clearly Republican."

PRES-2016: How does a Democratic presidential run in 2016 look for Andrew Cuomo? (Harry Enten) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"New York's governor is already touted as possible presidential material, but he has to do more to impress the Democratic base. ... If these numbers are to believed, the possible 2016 roster of candidates will position Cuomo and Warner as ideologically conservative Democrats, Biden and O'Malley as moderate Democrats, Clinton, Patrick, and Schweitzer as liberal Democrats, and Warren as a very liberal Democrat."

The 'Bling' Planets: Huge Seas of Liquid Diamond Discovered on Neptune and Uranus from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"The massive seas include huge solid diamond chunks similar to icebergs."

Incredible Photographs Show Artist's Amazing Geometric Sandcastles from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"As any parent will know, building the perfect sandcastle is no easy task. But as these incredible pictures show, sandcastle artist Calvin Seibert has managed it to perfection. He has created these astonishing geometric structures out of one of the world's most delicate mediums."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

News Nuggets 1117

DAYLEE PICTURE: The village of Hallstatt in Austria.  From National Geographic.

With Morsi, Obama Diplomacy Better than Under Bush, Mubarak from La Vanguardia [of Spain in English]
"The role played by the Egyptian president, whose membership with the Muslim Brotherhood has facilitated relations with Hamas. But Morsi's military alliance with the United States has helped substantiate Obama's bid for newly-rejuvenated relations with the Islamic world, which were announced in his famous 2009 Cairo speech."

American Democracy Should be Model for Thai Politicians (Kuldep Nagi) from The Nation [of Thailand in English]
"Thailand is a constitutional democracy, but the scenario on the streets makes it look more like anarchy. ... Although not perfect, there is a lot to learn from America's elections, especially how to concede defeat and move on. Perhaps losing factions and opposition parties in Thailand should listen to Mitt Romney's concession speech for little inspiration."

Welcome the Negawatt Revolution (Jeremy Stahl) from Slate
"Finally, the United States is beginning to take energy efficiency seriously."

The Fight Against Fracking (Ellen Cantarow) from The Nation [of the US]
"There’s a war going on that you know nothing about between a coalition of great powers and a small insurgent movement. It’s a secret war being waged in the shadows while you go about your everyday life. In the end, this conflict may matter more than those in Iraq and Afghanistan ever did. And yet it’s taking place far from newspaper front pages and with hardly a notice on the nightly news."

Another GOP Leader Recognizes Reality (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"The showdown over the “fiscal cliff” has taken its first major turn, as Representative Tom Cole — a former minority whip and still a leading House Republican — is now urging his party to extend the Bush tax cuts for income under $250,000 a year. Meanwhile, Ari Fleischer is spinning this move as a big Republican win. It’s not. It’s a recognition by at least some Republicans that their strategy of using the threat of an economic crisis to improve their bargaining position is likely to fail."

In Baseless Persecution Of Rice, Republican Reputations Will Sink (Joe Conason) from the National Memo
"The notion that Rice or any other administration official intentionally misled the public already has been thoroughly debunked by David Petraeus, the resigned CIA director."

Chuck Hagel Being Vetted for National Security Post (Josh Rogin) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is being vetted for a possible top national security post in the Obama administration, multiple sources told The Cable."

The New Populism of the Right (Michael Moynihan) from the Daily Beast 
"While the conservative old guard is busy re-arranging deck chairs in the aftermath of 2012, a younger generation of thinkers is arguing that it’s time to embrace the 47 percent."

Top Romney Adviser Brags About Losing Poor, Minority Voters To Obama from Talking Points Memo
"Mitt Romney can take some solace in his devastating loss on Nov. 6: at least he won the voters who really count. That’s the thesis anyway of top adviser Stuart Stevens, who penned an op-ed in the Washington Post on Wednesday arguing that by winning wealthier and whiter voters, Romney secured the moral victory over Obama."

What Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Should Do Next (Michelle Cottle) from the Daily Beast
"U.N. secretary-general? Women’s advocate? U.S. president? Grandmother? Ed Rendell, David Brooks, Dee Dee Myers, and more offer ideas for Clinton after she steps down as secretary of state."

A Civil War Professor Reviews 'Lincoln' (David Frum) from the Daily Beast 
"Allen Guelzo is the director of the Civil War studies department at Gettysburg College. He is the author of a magnificent new history of the Civil War and Reconstruction (why these periods are always separated into different volumes baffles me) as well as important studies of Abraham Lincoln's religious views and the emancipation proclamation."

Doris Kearns Goodwin on Life, Death and the Presidency from the Washington Post
"Doris Kearns Goodwin has not only seen her biography Team of Rivals become one of the definitive accounts of Abraham Lincoln’s life (and touted by President Obama as the one book he’d want on a desert island), she has now seen her work provide the basis for the recently released film “Lincoln,” directed by Steven Spielberg. In this interview, Goodwin — who has also written biographies of presidents Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson — looks at Obama’s presidential leadership in the context of Lincoln."

End of the Line for USS Enterprise from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 
"The Navy expected the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to last about 25 years running on reactors developed in West Mifflin. Instead, the USS Enterprise sailed the globe for nearly 52 years, serving in conflicts from the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan."
I would hope that they can find an appropriate museum venue for this history-making vessel.

One Step Closer to Civilian Space Travel: Engine Test Success 'Removes Key Obstacle' in Development of Skylon Space Craft that Can Fly Anywhere on Earth in Just Four Hours from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Successful tests have been carried out on a new engine that could launch a plane into space and revolutionise the way we travel - making it possible to reach anywhere on Earth in just four hours. The UK company developing the engines for the Skylon spaceplane says it has successfully demonstrated the power unit's enabling technology."

Why Is Public Nudity Illegal? A Brief History of the Fig Leaf (Brian Palmer) from Slate
"The demonstrators were charged with lewd and indecent acts for their role in a protest against proposed cuts to AIDS funding. Why is public nudity illegal? Because it’s so difficult to ignore."

The Great Actor Who Hated Acting: A Review of The Richard Burton Diaries edited by Chris Williams from the New York Review of Books
"On the face of it, it is not much of a tragedy. A young classical actor promises greatness but is diverted from his path by the lure of easy money and vulgar fame. He ends up in unhappy affluence with his nervy, high-maintenance wife, his great voice now marinated in alcohol. Yet Eugene O’Neill made one of the great twentieth-century tragedies from such a figure: James Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night."

'Granny Pods': The Future of Elderly Living? from The Week
"A Virginia pastor thinks he has the perfect solution for the growing legions of independent-minded boomers too old to live on their own."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

News Nuggets 1116

DAYLEE PICTURE:  Pink anemone fish with an anemone shrimp (see the little white dots).  From National Geographic.

Reasons to be Encouraged about Fiscal Cliff’s Endgame (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Now this is encouraging. I’m told that representatives of major unions and progressive groups met privately this morning with senior Obama administration officials at the White House — and were pleased with what they heard."

Democrats Raise Their Asking Price for a Deficit Agreement (Alexander Bolton) from The Hill
"Party leaders grow bolder as the deadline for extending the Bush-era tax rates and stopping automatic spending cuts approaches.…"

How to Make a Better President (Steve Kornacki) from Salon
"Barack Obama made a giant mistake with the debt ceiling two years ago -- but he's clearly learned from it."

Republicans Face ‘New Reality’ in Washington as the Fiscal Cliff Approaches (Howard Kurtz) from the Daily Beast
"As the fiscal cliff approaches, some GOP stalwarts are talking about raising taxes and soft-pedaling abortion. Howard Kurtz on the party’s rebranding effort."

The Myth of Second-Term Failure (David Greenberg) from the New Republic 
"It gets better."

The Millennial Generation: Our Liberal Future (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"How doomed are conservatives? Pretty doomed, if you look carefully at the Pew Research Survey’s close analysis of the youth vote in the 2012 elections."

Forget 2012: Long-Term Demographic Trends Favorable to Republicans (Michael Medved) from the Daily Beast
"Democrats may have won this time, but they shouldn’t celebrate for too long—America is growing older fast, and older folks reliably vote Republican. Michael Medved reports."
This conservative pundit repeats a common fallacy on partisan affiliation: that growing older makes one more conservative and thus more likely to vote Republican.  For the most part, this is not true.  The most reliably Republican voting block right now (baby-booming seniors) should be viewed as an aging cohort who embraced Republicanism at a MUCH earlier age.  These folks were the ones who cheered for Reagan in the 1980s, who put the GOP in charge of the House in 1994, and who thought W deserved to be reelected in 2004.  If you looked at the Depression-era generation (the parents of the baby-boomers) you would have seen a cohort that embraced FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society and were reliably Democratic voters as seniors (Florida Senator Claude Pepper built a LONG career on the predictability of these reliably Democratic, pro-gov't voters).  The conservatism of the baby-boom
generation has been accentuated over the decades by racial/ethnic polarization (which is decreasing among younger voters) and by rising religious fundamentalism (which is also decreasing among younger voters).  By universalizing based on one cohort's experience, Medved's comments showcase the problems with drawing macro-level lessons on voting from micro-level historical time frames.  He can have his age paradigm for predicting how people will vote in the future.  Like so much of GOP thinking these days, it's largely recent-past-based wishful thinking.

Harry Reid Puts his Finger on the ‘Nuclear Option’ Button (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post 
"So here's today's update in the slow, inexorable march towards filibuster reform: Democrats took yet another step in the direction of changing the rules by a simple majority vote — i.e., exercising the dreaded “nuclear option.”"

Poll: Public Would Blame GOP for Budget Impasse, Wants Tax Increases (John Aravosis) from Americablog
"A strong CNN/OCR poll for the President and Democrats in Congress on the “fiscal cliff,” in terms of what the public wants out of the talks, and who they’d blame if the talks go south. In a nutshell, the public wants tax increases as part of the bargain, by an overwhelming majority, and they would blame the Republicans more than the President should a deal not be struck."

Todd Akin and His Ilk Are Dooming GOP Rebranding (Charlie Cook) from the Atlantic
"As long as the party continues to nominate candidates like him, moderates like Scott Brown don't stand a chance."

How President Obama Won a Second Term (Tim Dickinson) from Rolling Stone Magazine
"Political strategist James Carville breaks down where the Republicans went wrong – and what it means for the future."

Iowa's Ad War: Romney Outspent, but Obama Out-Advertised from the Des Moines Register
"Although Romney and his allies spent more, the Obama coalition out-advertised them. About 13,000 more pro-Obama TV ads ran in Iowa than pro-Romney ads during the final weeks."

Yes, Romney Was the Problem (Steve Baldwin) from Real Clear Politics 
"The GOP establishment and some conservative pundits, such as Ann Coulter, are in full defense mode, claiming that Romney is not responsible for losing to an incumbent responsible for perhaps the most damaging fiscal crises in our nation’s history. Don’t believe it. Romney IS responsible for wasting a billion dollars to carry out an issue-free campaign full of simple-minded platitudes."

From Mitt To Moot: Romney’s Quick, Quiet Fade (Katie Baker) from Newsweek 
"Where have all the Romneys gone?"

The GOP War Against Grover Norquist (Elspeth Reeve) from the Atlantic 
"Have we reached Peak Grover? No Republican has voted for a tax increase since 1990, something Norquist, even while being relatively humble, has taken partial credit for."

Hillary Clinton's 2016 Run is Not Inevitable (Marc Ambinder) from The Week 
"No doubt about it... she's going to be our next president. Even many Republicans believe this. The CW rests on several assumptions that may well be true but are fairly useless so far as augury is concerned. Here are five truths to consider about Hillary Clinton."

Speaking as someone who very much supports a Hillary 2016 run, I will say that there are good reasons why Dems should be circumspect in their support for a Clinton restoration in the White House:
'I Want You to Leave Me Alone:' Gennifer Flowers Claims Bill Clinton Tried Contacting Her as Recently as 2005 from the New York Daily News
"The lounge singer also said she spoke with the then-Democratic presidential candidate in 1992 about how he wanted 'name recognition.' She said she helped him become a 'household name overnight.'"
In 2016, there will be sixteen years of new skeletons for the GOP hit squads to rifle through, most of them (I suspect) involving Bill.

Radio's Laura Ingraham Off the Air from the Associated Press
"Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham is off the air - at least temporarily. ... Ingraham said she is in discussions with other distributors about her show, which currently airs on 325 stations

'Star Trek Into Darkness' Plot Revealed from the Huffington Post 
""Star Trek Into Darkness," J.J. Abrams' much-anticipated sequel to "Star Trek," has been shrouded in such secrecy that only a few frames of film have been revealed thus far. In keeping with the hush-hush vibe, Paramount snuck a plot synopsis for the sequel onto its media site on Monday night, and the four paragraphs yield very few answers."

Pictured: The Colossal Cap Being Lowered Over Exploded Nuclear Reactor to Protect the World from Chernobyl's Crumbling Tomb from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Workers have raised the first section of a colossal arch-shaped structure that will cover the exploded nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power station. It is part of a £1.2bn project to clean up the damage caused by the world's worst nuclear accident in the then Soviet republic of Ukraine - which led to more than 6,000 cases of cancer, 115,000 forced evacuations and 28 deaths due to radiation sickness."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

News Nuggets 1115

DAYEE PICTURE: A waterfall of crystalized salt in a salt mine in Colombia.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Obama’s Long Game on Middle East Peace (Jay Newton-Small) from Time Magazine
"With their powers of persuasion fading in Congress, second-term U.S. Presidents often look abroad to cement their legacies."

Obama May Get Chance To End Benghazi Controversy As GOP Backlash Wears Down from the Huffington Post
"The White House could finally have its chance to close the books on its Benghazi public relations disaster, as key Republicans signal they might not stand in the way of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to become the next secretary of state."

The Myth of the Obama Cave-In (David Corn) from Mother Jones Magazine 
"With the "fiscal cliff" looming, the conventional wisdom is that the president capitulated during the last tax cut fight. Here's what really happened."

Five Republican Brush Fires (Josh Kraushaar) from the National Journal 
"Here are the five of the biggest priorities for the Republican establishment in the coming months. Their successes on these fronts will indicate whether they've learned the right lessons from missed
opportunities over the last two cycles."

Republican Shift on Taxes Masks a Divided Party from the McClatchy News Service
"When Republicans in Congress say they are willing to put tax revenues on the table in budget talks with President Barack Obama, that offer obscures a divide within their ranks that could thwart a year-end fiscal compromise."

The GOP Faces Years in the Wilderness After 2012 Election Losses (Robert Shrum) from the Daily Beast
"Sensible Republicans seeking to renew the viability of a conservative party that seems out of touch after a stinging defeat at the polls are being denounced as ‘heretics.’ Robert Shrum on why the party might never find its way back."

Think this opinion is too "speculative"?  Check this out:
RINO Hunters Fire Warning Shots At Republican Senate Candidates from Talking Points Memo

"After two disappointing election cycles, Republican leaders demanded that conservative groups end their war on electable primary candidates or risk handing the Senate to the Democrats in 2014. This week, the groups delivered their reply: “Nuts!” Activists on the right launched a volley of criticism at the 2014’s first major Senate hopeful ..."

And then there's this:
For Neo-Consm Four More Years … in Exile (John Morris) from Foreign Policy Magazine 

"Can Republicans find their way out of the foreign-policy wilderness?"

Revenge of the Reality-Based Community (Bruce Bartlett) from the American Conservative
"My life on the Republican right—and how I saw it all go wrong. ... I know that it’s unattractive and bad form to say “I told you so” when one’s advice was ignored yet ultimately proved correct. But in the wake of the Republican election debacle, it’s essential that conservatives undertake a clear-eyed assessment of who on their side was right and who was wrong."

Andrew Sullivan responds to Bartlett's column:
Told You So (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast
"...  of those earnest individuals, only a few are ballsy enough to follow their own reason doggedly enough to suffer social ostracism, removal from all conservative media outlets, and loss of a job - because their mind is not for sale or rent. Bruce Bartlett is that kind of guy."

Have Republicans Lost the South? (Jamelle Bouie) from Salon
"As the region changes demographically, the GOP's stranglehold is starting to loosen."

New Cry from Some Obama Foes: It’s Time to Secede (James Rosen) from the McClatchy News Service
"Some constitutional law scholars say that while it wouldn’t be impossible for a state to secede, to do so legally would entail highly implausible steps such as gaining ratification of a constitutional amendment or passage of a law redrawing the nation’s boundaries."

I’m Worried About the GOP (Jonathan Capehart) from the Washington Post 
"I’m worried that it won’t settle the internal forces that have turned it into a regional, reactionary party that looks nothing like the rest of the country, worried that the GOP has policy positions out of touch with the rest of the country. I’m worried that the tone coming from some
Republicans won’t make their party any more attractive to the very voters it needs to survive."

The Bizarre Apocalyptic Vision of Right-Wing Fundraisers (Kevin Drum) from Mother Jones Magazine
"by far, most of the mail is from conservative groups that are just flat-out nuts. The United Nations is going to herd us all into urban concentration camps. George Soros plans to destroy the dollar. Obama is turning America into a slave state. ... This stuff is simply endless."

How Not to Appeal to Asian Americans (Jamelle Bouie) from the American Prospect
"Next time, a little less racism."

David Axelrod Surprised by Romney Campaign’s Missed Opportunities (James Warren) from the Daily Beast
"Obama’s top election strategist tells a Chicago audience he was surprised Mitt Romney’s team did not attack Obama more, stuck so narrowly with their base—and chose Paul Ryan for VP."

Democrats' Next Generation of Leaders Bides Time (Jonathan Strong) from Roll Call
"The House Democratic leadership mold continues to harden, as Reps. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida are expected to remain in their current positions."

Retirement Watch in Congress: Will They Stay or Will They Go? from Politico
"Jay Rockefeller won’t talk about it. Neither will fellow Democrats Tom Harkin, Carl Levin, Tim Johnson and Frank Lautenberg. None of these senior senators will give a definitive answer about whether they’re running for reelection in 2014."

How Hillary Clinton’s Choices Predict Her Future from the Washington Post 
"... there is one way to figure out what Clinton may ultimately decide, and that is to examine what she has already done: not the obligatory things such as jetting to the Middle East as she did last week, but those things that as a first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state she has chosen to do."

Thomas Ricks Accuses Fox News Of 'Operating As A Wing Of The Republican Party' (VIDEO) from the Huffington Post
"Scott asked Ricks weigh in on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and Sen. John McCain's criticisms of Amb. Susan Rice. "I think Benghazi was generally hyped by this network especially," Ricks said. ...  "I think the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox is operating as the wing of the Republican Party." At that point, Scott thanked Ricks for his time and ended the interview after about 90 seconds."
Ah, this is what happens when Fox ventures too far into the reality-based world!  They quickly reach a point where there is no response.  Right-wingers routinely attack the "left-wing bias" of the mainstream media.  Where?  In the mainstream media!  Fox, in contrast, simply can't handle even the brief unmasking Ricks put them through.  It was such a "pay-no-attention-to-that-man-behind-the-curtain" moment.

Monday, November 26, 2012

News Nuggets 1114

DAYLEE PICTURE: A close-up of an orangutan's face.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Remote Control: How Obama Orchestrated Ceasefire from YNetNews [of Israel in English]
"Little was heard from US president during military confrontation between Israel and Hamas, but behind the scenes, while visiting Burma and Cambodia, he was working overtime to pressure Netanyahu into agreeing to truce."

What the U.S. Oil Revolution Means for Russia (Chris Weafer) from the Moscow Times [in English]
"So long as the government delays making the tough decisions necessary to push ahead with the agenda of business and economic reform, it is only a matter of time before the next crisis comes as a result of lower oil prices. The basis of the next crisis is already visible."

On the National Circus: Lessons for Obama’s New Cabinet (Frank Rich) from New York Magazine
"For the good of the country, it’s time to fetch a butterfly net for McCain. ... It’s a measure of the fallen state of the GOP that this bitter, ever-more-incoherent hothead is now the party’s only elected official with a voice on foreign affairs — unless you count his boot-licking Sancho Panza, Lindsey Graham."

What the ‘Takers’ Really Want (Harold Meyerson) from the Washington Post 
"A post-election American Values Survey, conducted for the Public Religion Research Institute, asked voters whether government should promote growth by spending more on education and infrastructure or should lower taxes on businesses and individuals. The groups that constitute the growing elements of the electorate all favored the spending option..."

State of War (John Heilemann) from New York Magazine
"The Republicans have thrown down the gauntlet over the possibility that Susan Rice will replace Hillary Clinton. But the winner is already clear."

Grand Old Planet (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"Reading Mr. Rubio’s interview is like driving through a deeply eroded canyon; all at once, you can clearly see what lies below the superficial landscape. Like striated rock beds that speak of deep time, his inability to acknowledge scientific evidence speaks of the anti-rational mind-set that has taken over his political party."

Why Democrats Should Give Thanks For Mitt Romney (Alec MacGillis) from the New Republic
"Once again, voters may not have been sure just who was who's side—at best, they'd throw up their hands and figure that both parties were for the big guy. But that didn't happen. Why? Because the Republicans nominated Willard Mitt Romney."

Tea Party Seeks to Regroup from the Wall Street Journal
"Movement Sets Sights on Ousting Republicans Seen as Not Conservative Enough."

When Conservatives Talk About Ideas, They Euphemistically Rely on Abstractions — Because it Covers Up the Creepy Reality (Kathleen Geier) from the Washington Monthly
"They tend to believe society and human happiness would be best served if everyone were straight, Christian, married, living in a patriarchal nuclear family, preferably living in a nonurban area, etc. Whereas American liberalism, rooted in the pragmatism of John Dewey and other philosophers, tends to have fewer stringent, a priori ideals and is more improvisational, practical, and interested in solving problems on a case-by-case basis."

Democrats See a Future of Electoral Dominance But History Says Otherwise (David Freelander) from the Daily Beast
"Obama’s victory convinced a lot of Democrats that they just took out a long-term lease on the White House. The lessons of history say otherwise, writes David Freedlander."
Freelander is a senior editor at Newsweek -- and his analysis here showcases perhaps one reason Newsweek tanked in recent years.  Where do his "lessons from history" begin?  Uh, the 1990s -- maybe 1968 at the absolute outside.  Well, one thing pundits should be clear about by now is that the Great Recession and the politics of the Obama administration makes recent history a poor indicator of where each of the parties is headed.  I have long argued that the 1930s and 1940s are far more relevant historical periods than the last 30+ years.  Moreover, when you look further back, it's clear that every 40 years or so, there are huge tectonic transformations that occur that DO lead to disproportionate one-party dominance.  I firmly believe we are in the midst of one of these tectonic shifts.  

GOP Faces Unexpected Challenges in South Amid Shrinking White Vote (Douglas A. Blackmon) from the Washington Post
"Due to strong black vote and lower white turnout, Obama fared better than any Democrat since Carter."

Rove’s Plan Won’t Work: Don’t Count on Latino ocial Conservatism (Irir Carmon) from Salon
"Republicans think it will be easy to come back -- just appeal to culturally conservative Latinos! It will fail."

GOP Warns of Shutdown Over Filibuster from Politico
"Democrats are threatening to change filibuster rules, in what will surely prompt a furious GOP revolt that could make those rare moments of bipartisan consensus even harder to come by during the next Congress."

Jeb Bush in 2016? Not Too Early for Chatter from the New York Times 
"After Mitt Romney's defeat by a Democratic coalition built around overwhelming support from Hispanics and other fast-growing demographic groups, many Republicans are looking for a candidate who can help make the party more inclusive without ceding conservative principles -- and no one is the subject of more speculation at this point than Mr. Bush."

Run, Jeb, Run! Another Bush, Another Target-Rich Presidential Campaign (Joe Conason) from National Memo
"Known today only as another Bush brother, Jeb must be introduced to American voters. And among the first things they are likely to learn about him is the string of borderline business deals that built his original fortune in Florida real estate, which began three decades ago. While some aspects of the Jeb story may sound uplifting, there are certainly other episodes that will make voters’ hair stand on end."

Democratic Would-be Challengers Begin to Sort Out Field for 2014 Election Against Gov. Corbett from the Associated Press via The Republic [of Columbus, IN]
"The Democratic sweep at the top of Pennsylvania's ballot has so energized the party that three prospective candidates are already sending out strong signals of interest in contesting Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's re-election bid two years from now. York businessman Tom Wolf,
Philadelphia millionaire Tom Knox and state government veteran John Hanger said in recent telephone interviews they are seriously considering seeking the 2014 Democratic nomination or have already decided to run."

Unverified Remains Dig Up the Twisted Legacy of England’s Richard III (Anthony Faiola) from the Washington Post
"Supporters and fierce critics await DNA tests of bones unearthed from a parking lot 90 miles from London. ... if the remains are indeed those of the long-lost sovereign — something archaeologists call extremely likely — it also raises a conundrum: Where to bury one of England’s most demonized characters?"

Thursday, November 22, 2012

News Nuggets 1113

DAYLEE PICTURE: A bear cub in a wildlife sanctuary near Orr, Minnesota.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.
The Nuggetsman will be off (for the most part) until Monday.  Nuggets will then resume daylee posting!

Five Things To Tell Your Republican Relatives At Thanksgiving Dinner from National Memo
"This year, you have to have a little sympathy for your Republican family members. Not only did they lose, they lost after nominating a guy they never liked because they thought he could win. For this reason they’ll be extra agitated and prone to ranting. ...  if your right-wing relatives want to treat you like Colmes to their Hannity and demand a debate, you should be armed with a few facts that will at least get them thinking."

Is This the Deal that Will End the Austerity Crisis? (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
Lots of talk that the general outlines of a "fiscal cliff" deal are close and that it will look something like what Klein discusses here.
"We’re 42 days away from the beginning of the austerity crisis, and the strangest thing is happening: Washington appears to be preparing to deal with it in a smooth, timely, reasonable way."

A Big Step Forward on 'Obamacare' Implementation (Steve Benen) from MSNBC 
"It's up to the Obama administration to make choices defining the limits and the benefits under the legal framework. With this in mind, "Obamacare" implementation took another important step forward yesterday ..."

Jim Messina: What I Learned in the Election from Politico
"Jim Messina, fresh off running the victorious Obama reelection campaign, oversaw the most technology-heavy campaign in history. But he insists it wasn’t just number-crunching that led to victory. It was the convergence of 21st-century data and old-fashioned on-the-ground door-knocking that left Messina confident before Election Day that Barack Obama would be victorious over Mitt Romney."

Obama Campaign Polls: How The Internal Data Got It Right (Mark Blumenthal) from the Huffington Post
"Summing up the lessons learned from a massive investment in data and technology, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina has a blunt message for pollsters: "We spent a whole bunch of time figuring out that American polling is broken.""

The Poll Quants Won the Election (Tom Bartlett) from the Chronicle of Higher Education
"Before the election, Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal asserted that “nobody knows anything” about the potential outcome. David Brooks of The New York Times said forecasters lived in “sillyland.” Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post tweeted that “averaging polls is junk.” Can anyone seriously argue that now?"

Denialists, Whiners, and Wackjobs (Paul Begala) from Newsweek
"There’s more than one way to be a Republican."

How the 2012 Election Polling Really was Skewed – for Mitt Romney (Harry Enten) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"Many in the GOP were sure polls were biased against their guy. In fact, they undershot Obama's win by an embarrassing margin."
Several folks (Jonathan Chait being one) had noted that there was ample evidence months ago that the polls almost certainly UNDERSTATED the level of support Obama actually had -- and that the Obama people knew it.

How The Conservative Media Lost The Election (McKay Coppins) from Buzzfeed 
"The plan was to unmask Obama. It didn't work.

GOP Strategist: Time to Talk Back to Rush (Howard Kurtz) from the Daily Beast
"John Feehery, a veteran Republican strategist, has a blunt message for his party: It’s time to stand up to “the Rush Limbaughs of the world.”"

Republicans' Choice: Fantasy Follies or Reality-Based Relevance (Ana Marie Cox) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"The GOP's electoral future hangs on whether it prefers the 'conservative entertainment complex' to America as it finds it."

Joe Scarborough Is Part Of The Problem (Andrew Sullivan( from the Daily Beast
"Scarborough called Nate Silver an ideologue and a joke. Instead of copping to his slander and his foolishness, he now writes a Politico column that is so brimming with, well Politico-style Village media horse-shit you need a medical mask to keep breathing to the end."

Commentary Editor John Podhoretz Has Awkward Postelection Epiphany (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"Months of optimistic spin about your candidate must be cast aside for an entirely different sort of spin — where before the candidate was a budding juggernaut boldly carrying the party banner onward to victory, now we can see in hindsight that he was a hapless loser unable to articulate our side’s clearly winning vision. Transitioning from one line to another can often take months of careful tip-toeing. Commentary editor John Podhoretz offers up a magisterial postelection essay, “The Way Forward,” that instead simply takes the full plunge all at once."

Chris Christie Works with President Obama, Approval Rating Skyrockets (Jed Lewison) from Daily Kos
"Why is this bound to be upsetting news for Republicans? Because it's objective proof that when a Republican works with President Obama, voters like it. And if more Republican politicians follow Chris Christie's lead and decide that working with President Obama can be good for their political careers, then the entire GOP bubble is going to burst."

Romney Advisor Rips GOP Officials on About Face from Politico
"A top adviser to Mitt Romney’s failed presidential campaign on Wednesday slammed Republican officials for turning on their standard-bearer after angling for Cabinet posts only a few days earlier."

How Allen West Blew It from Politico
"Early this year, shortly after launching his reelection campaign, the congressman sought out a surprising figure—former GOP Rep. Mark Foley, who resigned in 2006 amid revelations that he had sent sexually-charged electronic messages to House pages. ... Foley thought highly of West—at one point, he even advised the freshman to run for Senate in 2012, reasoning that his fundraising capabilities and national profile would make him a strong contender."
With supporters like this, no wonder West lost!

“The Barbarous Years”: What 17th-Century America Really Looked Like (R.B. Bernstein) from the Daily Beast
"What was life like in America in the 17th century? According to a new masterpiece of history by Harvard’s Bernard Bailyn, it was nasty, brutish, and short. R.B. Bernstein considers what Bailyn’s work reveals about how unlikely the European settlement of America really was."

Winter's Tale by Cartier
Even the best Christmas ads usually leave me cold ... and most of them leave me somewhere between annoyed and offended.  However, this one I thought was pretty creative and well-done.
"Two panther cubs play hide and seek in a snow-laden forest of fir trees. These mischievous cubs lead us on an enchanting adventure. Follow their journey, filled with discoveries and precious gifts."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

News Nuggets 1112

DAYLEE PICTURE: Oryx climbing a sand dune in the deserts of Namibia.  From National Geographic.

Health Care Reform Rules Give Patients A New Bill Of Rights (Jeffrey Young) from the Huffington Post
"Health insurance consumers won't be discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions, can't be charged more because of gender and will be guaranteed a basic set of benefits under historic new federal regulations published Tuesday."

Unemployed Black Woman Pretends to be White, Job Offers Suddenly Skyrocket from Techyville
"I removed my home phone number, kept my listed cell phone number, and changed my cell phone greeting to say, “You have reached Bianca White.  Please leave a message.” Then I created an online account, listed Bianca as a White woman on the diversity questionnaire, and activated the account. ... The next day, my phone line and Bianca’s email address, were packed with potential employers calling for an interview.  I was stunned.  More shocking was that some employers, mostly
Caucasian-sounding women, were calling Bianca more than once, desperate to get an interview with her."
This story showcases perfectly why affirmative action is still needed!  Keep a hard copy of this story to show those folks who think AA should be done away with or that somehow it "causes" racism.

An Extraordinary Moment: Obama Makes History in Burma (Steve Finch) from The Diplomat
"The Diplomat's Steve Finch reports from Burma on President Barack Obama's historic visit. Will reforms press forward?"

Leave Susan Rice Alone (Andrew Rosenthal) from the New York Times
"The more clear it becomes that Susan Rice, the United Nations Ambassador, did not knowingly deceive the American public about the Benghazi consulate attack, the more Republicans accuse her of having done so. ... As U.N. ambassador, Ms. Rice had no direct involvement in the Benghazi mess, before or during the attack. Do Republicans hostile to her think she should have gone rogue and simply ignored her approved talking points?"

An Economic Dream Team for the President (Paula Dwyer) from the Bloomberg News Service
"When President Barack Obama returns from his Asia trip, he will pardon a turkey, celebrate Thanksgiving with his family and then get down to some serious cleaning. I'm talking about his Cabinet, which Obama must soon reshape to fit the challenges of a second term."

Pomp and Exceptional Circumstance: How Students Are Forced to Prop Up the Education Bubble (Malcolm Harris) from the Boston Review
" The real difference between the two sides was ultimately more about who debtors would owe—the Treasury or private lenders—than about how much. Not a single policy proposal on the proper scale was offered, and so the true size of the problem fell out of the national debate. ... The challenge of student debt, like climate change and other urgent needs, threatens to exceed the capacity of our current political and economic systems."

In Deep-Red, Rural States with Mostly White Voters, a Fear of Being Left Behind from the New York Times via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"...since the election, a blanket of baffled worry has descended on conservatives in this state like early snow across the plains, deepening a sense that traditional, rural and overwhelmingly white states in the center of the country are losing touch with an increasingly diverse and urban American electorate."

Obama Campaign Viewed Huntsman as ‘Very Tough Candidate’ (Peter Nicholas) from the Wall Street Journal
"He didn’t get very far in the Republican nomination fight, but team Obama viewed him as a serious candidate who could pose real problems in a general election."
Nicholas has a sneering tone -- but I very much shared the Obama campaign's view: that if Huntsman ran and got the nomination, he could beat Obama in the general election.  I had very much underestimated how far afield GOP primary voters had drifted ideologically from the political "center" and from reality generally.

Crowds Are This Election’s Real Winners (Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers) from the Bloomberg News Service
"Politics is just the latest front in a war being fought in businesses and consulting firms around the world, with this round pitting quants such as New York Times blogger Nate Silver against the intuition of pundits like James Carville or Karl Rove. The quants bring data, computers and formal models. The pundits -- though they do use data -- rely more on gut feelings, industry experience and personal contacts. In the latest skirmish, the quants won."

The GOP's Diversity Debacle from Politico
"For a party that’s struggling to present a public face that looks more like America, the 2012 election represents something close to a worst-case scenario."

Tea Party Nation Still Trying To Make Romney President (Henry Decker) from National Memo
"Adopting extreme right-wing positions and opposing Obama on every issue, no matter how trivial, hadn’t worked; as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal put it, the GOP must “stop being the stupid party.” Clearly, Judson Phillips never got that message."

Top Republicans Excoriate Romney On Sunday Talk Shows from Talking Points Memo
"If Mitt Romney has any friends left in the Republican Party, they’re in hiding. On the Sunday talk shows, senior Republicans, former Romney surrogates and prominent conservatives piled on their defeated presidential nominee for telling donors that he lost because President Obama bought off minorities and young voters with “gifts.”"

Nate Silver on 'Morning Joe': Why Pollsters Got it Wrong from Politico 
"Silver discussed why so many polls were wrong this year and incorrectly called it as a much closer race for Mitt Romney. Silver said most of the major network polls — NBC/Wall Street Journal, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times — are “pretty good," while the polls that faltered made too many assumptions about the population."

Spurning Chris Christie, Republicans Continue to Dig Own Hole (James Rainey) from the Los Angeles Times
"Republicans seem to have no lack of understanding about how badly their presidential nominee, Mitt Romney,  damaged the party brand by demonizing a good chunk of the electorate as “victims” and “gift” grabbers — the slothful masses who just can’t wait to take a government handout."

Republicans, 2016: In Full Swing from Politico
"Tired of presidential politics? Get over it: Upwards of 15 prominent Republicans are privately contemplating 2016 campaigns for the presidency — and the most serious and ambitious of the bunch are already plunging in, some quite publicly."

Holiday Movie Preview 2012: 'Django Unchained,' 'The Hobbit' And More (PHOTOS) from Moviephone
"This year may be coming to a close, but the next month and a half will see the release of some of 2012's most buzz-worthy flicks. So -- like a department store on Black Friday -- you need a plan."

Pardoned Turkeys Stay at W Hotel from Fox News
"Two lucky turkeys don’t just get to keep their lives this Thanksgiving, they get to live the high life. The ritzy W Hotel in Washington is letting them stay and giving them the VIP treatment..."

Thinking of Thanksgiving Delicacies? Then How about Trying Some Turkey Sushi, Velveeta Cheesecake and Tofurky from the Daily Mail [of the UK] 
"The ability to fake it will be put to the test, when cooks emerge from the kitchen with delicacies like Velveeta cheesecake, turkey sushi and Tofurky - recipes that just shouldn't be be allowed to see the light of day... or reach the table. "

Vroom with a Hue: McLaren Supercar Gets £90,000 Psychedelic Paint Job that's Turned it into Art on Wheels from the Daily Mail [of the UK] 
"A McLaren MP4-12C has become the world’s fastest piece of artwork after a tuning firm gave it a £90,000 multi-coloured makeover."

Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now (Joe Palca) from NPR 
"Grotzinger says they recently put a soil sample in SAM, and the analysis shows something earthshaking. "This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good," he says."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

News Nuggets 1111

DAYLEE PICTURE: Giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevadas.  From National Geographic.

Chinese Consumers Love the Made in the U.S.A. Brand (Daniel Gross) from the Daily Beast
"People will pay more for products born in the United States—and Chinese consumers agree. Daniel Gross on whether the stamp of approval means more money."

The GOP’s Absurd Attack on Susan Rice Over Benghazi (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"Furious that Obama paid no electoral price for Benghazi, Republicans are threatening to filibuster his presumed secretary of state nominee, Susan Rice, as a scapegoat. Michael Tomasky on the real scandal."

The GOP’s Misguided Crusade Against Susan Rice (Michael Crowley) from Time Magazine
"Nearly 100 House Republicans sent a letter to President Obama on Monday urging him not to name Susan Rice as Hillary Clinton‘s successor at the State Department. Its tortured reasoning exposes the flimsiness of the GOP‘s crusade to make Rice a scapegoat for the Benghazi tragedy."

The Benghazi Circus (Joe Klein) from Time Magazine
"Let me just repeat this flat out: there is no scandal here–except for the reprehensible behavior of politicians like John McCain and Lindsey Graham who have conducted a scurrilous campaign against Ambassador Susan Rice."

Obama, Hillary Clinton Wax Nostalgic as She Nears Exit from Politico 
"... she and President Barack Obama have been spending some quality time together, waxing nostalgic about their work in office over the past four years and their history as rivals in the hard fought 2008."

How Partisans Fool Themselves Into Believing Their Own Spin (Alesh Houdek) from the Atlantic
"Science shows that we often allow our moral judgment to overshadow factual arguments."

The Conservative Future (David Brooks) from the New York Times
"...if you go online, you can find a vibrant and increasingly influential center-right conversation. Most of the young writers and bloggers in this conversation intermingle, but they can be grouped, for clarity’s sake, around a few hot spots:"

The Winners and Losers of Election 2012 (Alex Altman) from Time Magazine 
"This was a long and petty election marked by Twitter flame wars and silly memes, glitter bombs and moon colonies, Big Bird and binders. But even small campaigns have winners and losers."

Friended: How the Obama Campaign Connected with Young Voters (Michael Scherer) from Time Magazine
"For supporters, the app appeared to be just another way to digitally connect to the campaign. But to the Windy City number crunchers, it was a game changer. “I think this will wind up being the most groundbreaking piece of technology developed for this campaign,” says Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign’s digital director."

Democrats Push to Redeploy Obama’s Voter Database from the Washington Post 
"... though the election is over, Obama’s database is just getting started. Democrats are now pressing to expand and redeploy the most sophisticated voter list in American political history, beginning with next year’s gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey and extending to campaigns for years to come. The prospect already has some Republicans worried."

Obama Plots Outside Game To Leave Washington, Add Pressure On Lame-Duck Congress (Sam Stein) from the Huffington Post
"The goal, organizers said, is to keep engaged the activists and followers who have stood with Obama through two campaigns, and to begin applying external pressure to the president's negotiations with congressional Republicans."

Republican Politicians Must Stop Pandering to Conservative Populism (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"Marco Rubio said Earth’s age is a great mystery. Fellow rising star Bobby Jindal’s state teaches creationism alongside science. Both Republicans are preaching reform, but if they and others keep pivoting away from common-sense science, the GOP will remain the Stupid Party—and fail."

Conservative Republicans Fight Back After Romney Loss (Paul Kane and Rosalind S. Helderman) from the Washington Post
"Evangelical leaders and conservative activists have a simple message for establishment Republicans about Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid: We told you so. After nearly two weeks of listening to GOP officials pledge to assert greater control over the party and its most strident voices in the wake of Romney’s loss, grass-roots activists have begun to fight back, saying that they are not to blame for the party’s losses in November."

The World in Which Mitt Romney Lost Because he Wasn't Conservative Enough (Jed Lewison) from Daily Kos
"Actually, this is nonsense. Mitt Romney lost because he failed to win enough voters outside of the

Senate Democrats Earned Every Seat They Won--Thanks to the DSCC from the National Journal
"A postmortem on how the two parties' campaign committees performed in this year’s House and Senate races."

Denny's CEO Not Happy About Franchisee's Obamacare Surcharge Threats (Laura Clawson) from Daily Kos
"Denny's corporate management and many Denny's franchise owners are not happy with John Metz, the owner of 40 Denny's restaurants who said he'd be adding a 5 percent surcharge to meals at his restaurants to pay for employee health insurance requirements under Obamacare. The CEO of Denny's has shut Metz up but good:..."

After Obama, Christie Wants a G.O.P. Hug from the New York Times
It seems Republicans outside New Jersey couldn't have cared less about any old hurricane.  Why wasn't Christie being a good surrogate for Romney!? 
"Mr. Christie and his advisers were startled to hear from out-of-state donors to Mr. Romney, who had little interest in the hurricane and viewed him solely as a campaign surrogate, demanding to know why he had stood so close to the president on a tarmac. One of them questioned why he had boarded Mr. Obama’s helicopter, according to people briefed on the conversations."

Jed Lewison (with a two-fer today) comments on Christie's plight:
Republicans Still Furious at Chris Christie for Being Governor (Jed Lewison) from Daily Kos
"We've grown numb to Republican dysfunction, but that attitude (echoed by Romney donors who a campaign aide described as "furious") encapsulates just how severely the Republican Party has lost its way. It's not just that so many of them are heartless jerks who would have rather seen Christie screw over the people of his state than work with President Obama, it's that they political idiots who aren't smart enough to realize Christie would have been a guaranteed 2013 loser if he'd done what they wanted—and Mitt Romney still would have lost anyway."

Monday, November 19, 2012

News Nuggets 1110

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Polynesian endemic sea slug in the Tuamotu Islands.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Obama's Historic Myanmar Visit from ABC News
"Obama made history when Air Force One touched down at 9:35 am local time. The president, joined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was greeted by tens of thousands of people lining the streets of Yangon, including roughly 2,000 school children who stood shoulder-to-shoulder on this muggy day in crisp white shirts and traditional green longyis waving U.S. and Myanmar flags."

Almost everything else today relates to post-election analysis with special reference to the GOP.
False Allegiance: Today's Secessionists are Pledged Only to Discord from the Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"The would-be secessionists are nothing if not impertinent. To register their anger, they have been using a White House website called "We the People," which allows Americans in the spirit of the First Amendment to petition the government for the redress of grievances. But there are grievances and there is what might be called poor loser syndrome with its imaginary grudges, which is closer to the case here."

Conservatives Must Forgo Secession & Other Fantasies and Work Within GOP (Michael Medved) from the Daily Beast
"Secession. Impeaching Obama. Forming a new party. All are a recipe for disaster, says Michael Medved. Instead, disaffected Republicans must redefine conservatism and push for new outreach to Latinos and others from inside the GOP."
These last two items focus on the nascent secessionist "movement" in the US that has emerged since the election.  Now, let me say up front, that I view proponents largely as a set of sour grapes cranks who are simply throwing a political tantrum.  However, I would also speculate that it is further evidence (if any was needed) that the GOP is in worse-than-average trouble.  Historically, there have been two substantive pushes for secession in US history.  Of course, there was the one everyone knows about that led to the Civil War.  The lesser known movement came during the War of 1812 when New England threatened to secede at the Hartford Convention.  The point here is that in both instances (for widely different reasons) they were early indicators of a MAJOR shift in the political party system in the US.  The Democratic Party's implication in southern secession led to 67 years (1865 to 1932) where the GOP had a near lock on the presidency.  The Hartford Convention so damaged the Federalist Party's national reputation that within ten years it had ceased to exist as a national party.  Now, I've not saying that the Republicans are in the same degree of danger -- but I have argued for some time that I thought our current configuration of the two parties (one deeply conservative/reactionary and the other ... basically everyone else) is undergoing a tectonic shift driven largely by changing demographics and social norms which have left one party at the short end of virtually every demographic stick.  I think this secessionist talk as simply one more indicator of a party in deep trouble.

Further evidence:
The Graying Religious Right (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast 
"Mark Silk declares that  "Republicans should be more worried about appealing to Nones than to Latinos":"

And more evidence:
For the GOP, It's Colorado or Bust by 2016 (Nate Cohn) from the New Republic
"Perhaps no state captures the challenges facing Republicans better than Colorado. The changes in the composition of the two parties over the last decade have almost exclusively worked to the advantage of Democrats ..."

And more:
Weak Teavangelicals (Chris Lehman) from In These Times
"Long-term trends in opinion polling suggest that the evangelical Right would have been hard-pressed to repeat the Kulturkampf clamor to the ballot box that Reed famously engineered to help George W. Bush over the top in 2004. For one thing, the movement’s pet crusades—bans on abortion and gay marriage—have shown little drawing power."

Republicans at a Crossroads (James Hohman) from Politico
"Republican governors are torn between essentially staying the course in the wake of Mitt Romney’s loss and a more proactive strategy aimed at radically shaking up their party in an effort to reach out to young and minority voters."

Why Republicans Want Mitt Romney To Go Away (Ben Smith) from Buzzfeed  
"Romney will carry the party's baggage off stage. “Toxic assets” into the bad bank of Mitt. ... There appears to be no Romney Republicanism to propagate. No Romney strategy to emulate. No Romney technology to ape. No generation shaped by his failed effort. And no Romney infrastructure to inherit, though he may still be asked to write and bundle quite a few checks..." "Romney is being erased with record speed from his party's books for three reasons."

Republican Outreach Leaves Immigrants, Minority Groups Skeptical from Reuters via the Huffington Post
"He said it was still unclear if Asian-Americans and Latinos would be increasingly accepted as "honorary whites," which could align them more closely with the Republican party while perpetuating a black-white divide, or if the country would move toward a new, more multi-faceted view of race."
"Honorary whites" -- that's the first time I've heard this term.  But, boy, does it capture the tokenist, oddball character of the scattering of minorities that show up in the GOP.  

Republicans Say GOP Needs Revamp After Romney Defeat from Reuters via the Huffington Post
"The Republican Party needs to stop insulting voters and broaden its appeal after Democratic President Barack Obama won re-election this month over Mitt Romney with overwhelming support from Hispanics, blacks and single women, top Republicans said on Sunday. Comments made by two leading Republican governors and an influential U.S. senator on Sunday reflected the soul-searching taking place in the party after Obama's victory over Republican challenger Romney on Nov. 6."

GOP Plots to Prevent More Todd Akins from Politico
"Read their lips: no more Todd Akins. In the wake of the GOP’s Election Day beatdown, influential Republican senators say enough’s enough: Party leaders need to put the kibosh on the kind of savage primaries that yielded candidates like Akin — and crippled Republican prospects of taking the Senate in two straight election cycles."
Easier said than done.  As many commentators have noted, Tea Party types are the core of the GOP now -- and many of them took away fundamentally different lessons from this election cycle than their beltway and statehouse counterparts.

Obama Organization to Remain Active Nationwide (Mike Allen) from Politico 
"The Obama campaign continues to refine, update and expand its vast database, working the muscle to increase its value for 2014 and 2016. The organization wants to avoid a post-2008 lull, when Obama’s high command was so focused on building a government and staving off a depression that some in the grassroots network felt neglected."

Sullivan gets a two-fer today with this VERY HARD-HITTING piece (overdone at times) on the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal. 
The Vatican's Dead End (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast
"They actually think they still have moral authority. But moral authority has to be earned with each generation, and the corruption in the Vatican is so deep and so rotten and so incapable of self-reflection it has effectively created two Catholic churches in America..."

The Sad State of Zealots with Microphones (Leonard Pitts) from the Baltimore Sun
"They seem to have settled on a strategy of blaming the voters for not being smart enough or good enough to vote as they should have. Because America wasn't smart enough or good enough, say these conservatives, it shredded the Constitution, bear-hugged chaos, French-kissed socialism, and died. In other words, the apocalypse is coming."

ObamaCare Resisters, Get with the Program from the Editorial Board of USA Today
"The war is over, so find ways to make the Affordable Care Act work."
Sadly, I think the GOP (especially at the state level and in the courts) will continue to do everything they can to structurally poison this program at every step of the way towards its implementation.  What I suspect you will see is that the program will take much longer to fully implement ... and that it won't work or it will work poorly in a certain number of heavily-GOP states.  Rather than having a country where 40 million+ Americans don't have health insurance, what we will have is a country with 40 million+ Americans from deep red states that, for all intents and purposes, don't have health insurance.  If it goes this way, again sadly, the GOP will probably view it as a big victory. 

The Media’s Scandalous Polling Conspiracy (Michael kinsley) from the Miami Herald
"I would like to point out that the entire drama of a close election, as played out in the news media on Election Day and evening, is basically fake. Like broadcasters (including a young Ronald Reagan) presenting baseball games in the early days of radio, the television networks know who’s going to win the game and more or less how it’s going to play out, inning-by-inning."

In Recount, Allen West Falls Further Behind from Politico
Poetic justice.
"Florida Rep. Allen West’s reelection prospects grew dimmer Sunday, as a recount of early ballots showed him falling further behind his Democratic opponent."
Normally, I avoid postings or comments on right-wing media clowns like this one -- but this was too good to pass up!