DAYLEE PICTURE: A snowy owl on Long Island. From National Geographic.
The Tectonic Impact Of Obama's Re-Election (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast
"Is it just me or are more people surprised by the snowballing impact of Obama's re-election? It's not just the return to Clinton tax rates for the very wealthy; it's a real cultural shift as well."
Obamacare Sticker Shock: Not Very Shocking (Nate Cohn) from the New Republic
"The real story about Obamacare, the one the law’s critics don’t emphasize, is that far more people will actually pay less. And while those paying more may not be happy about it, they’ll also be getting something for the extra premium dollars they pay up front."
Western States Continue To Drift Into Democrats’ Column from the Associated Press via National Memo
"A political generation ago, the West signaled the nation’s rightward swing — from the emergence of Ronald Reagan to the success of tax-limitation ballot measures in California and Colorado. But now the fabled expanse of jagged peaks, arid deserts and emerald coastlines is trending in a different direction. From Washington state — where voters in November legalized marijuana and upheld the legality of gay marriage — to New Mexico, once a hotly contested swing state that Republicans ceded to Democrats in the presidential campaign, the West has become largely Democratic terrain."
Hagel Defense Nomination Will Pass (Michael O'Hanlon) from USA Today
"Despite concerns over his views on Israel, Iran and Afghanistan, he'll serve president well. ... Hagel's skepticism about a hard line could be a welcome antidote to a strong consensus leaning toward the use of force in coming months, a decision that would be fraught with danger."
Obama's Permanent Campaign: Can He Use His Reelection Playbook to Change Washington? (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
"Organizing for Action could be the key to enacting the president's agenda. Obama's best hope for his aggressive program may lie in the same innovative campaign techniques of grassroots mobilization and data-based field organizing that got him reelected in November. And if he pulls it off, he could revolutionize lawmaking the way he's already revolutionized campaigns."
Gun Advocates Take Back Seat to Calls for Stricter Laws at Newtown Forum from the New York Times
"In riveting testimony repeatedly interrupted by standing ovations, parents, public officials, law enforcement officers and school employees issued a full-throated call on Wednesday night for strengthening the nation’s gun laws in the wake of the massacre of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December."
How Obama and the Democrats Could Win on Gun Control—by Losing (Eleanor Clift) from the Daily Beast
"The president may fail to get his controversial legislation through Congress. But Eleanor Clift says the issue could end up lifting his party in 2014."
Republicans in Disarray Over Immigration (Joan McCarter) from Daily Kos
"The immigration debate is exposing the fissures in the Republican Party more than any other debate has yet, between the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove faction and the crazy teabagger Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck/Michelle Malkin crowd."
Immigration Reform Practice Masks Great Test of Republican Principle (Ana Marie Cox) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"Tough border measures in the bipartisan agreement are a sop to conservatives, but will the GOP cross this Rubicon of reform?"
Immigration Reform Proposal Shows Similar Ideas Betweeen Bush and Obama (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"The immigration-reform plan embraced by Obama is remarkably similar to what the George W. Bush administration proposed. The difference, writes John Avlon, is that it has a good chance of passage now."
I Don’t Like Marco Rubio’s Plan (Erick Erickson) from RedState
"Immigration is an issue that keeps hispanic voters from trusting the GOP. Many call it a “gateway” issue. I get that. But pandering in the name of a solution does not actually fix the problem. This is just another policy debate the Democrats can use to get the GOP to fight itself."
Gay Marriage Opponents Suffer From Fundraising Shortfall from Reuters
"Foes of same-sex marriage are laboring to pay the tab for an epic legal case now before the U.S. Supreme Court, as the movement suffers from fundraising shortfalls that could sap its strength in future battles."
Democrats, Don’t Freak Out on the Electoral College! (Richard L. Hasen) from Slate
"Why fears that Republicans will gerrymander the Electoral College are overblown."
The Tea Party is Losing a Few of its Revelers (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"Revelers" -- as in clowns!
"Is it last call for the tea party? Consider these recent developments: ... Demagoguery works well in bad times, but it’s harder to stoke fear and anger when the stock market is at a five-year high and the private sector has been adding jobs for nearly three years. If anything, anger has turned against tea-party lawmakers."
1940s CULTURE OBITUARY NUGGET!!
Patty Andrews, Singer With Her Sisters, Is Dead at 94 from the New York Times
"Patty Andrews, the last of the Andrews Sisters, the jaunty vocal trio whose immensely popular music became part of the patriotic fabric of World War II America, died on Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94."
KITTEN MEETS HEDGEHOG VIDEO NUGGET!!
Kitten Meets Hedgehog For The First Time, Adorableness Ensues (VIDEO) from the Huffington Post
"In a new Youtube video, a kitten named Loki meets Harley the hedgehog for the first time. The inquisitive kitty edges toward the odd creature to investigate, tentatively pawing at Harley's container."
The Real Green House: Villa That Comes with a Vertical Garden and a Lap Pool on the Roof from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Welcome to the exclusive villa where the thought of trimming your vertical garden of 4,500 plants will leave you scratching your head. The incredible 2,600 sq ft house has a garden with 25 different plant varieties growing up its walls and a swimming pool wrapped around the length of its top floor balcony."