North Korea Enlists German Help to Prepare Economic Opening from Der Spiegel [of Germany in English]
"Kim Jong Un could be preparing to open up his country's economy. Pyongyang may be preparing to open up its economy. A report in a prominent newspaper claims the regime has enlisted the aid of German economic and legal experts to lay the groundwork for foreign investment in North Korean companies. The move could be made as soon as this year."
Please God, help these people transition to something resembling a normal society.
New Crazy GOP Plan: No Negotiations With Obama! (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"The differences between the mainstream figures and the crazies seem to lie almost entirely in tactics. The mainstream Republicans have a decent grasp of the possibilities and constraints of political power, and can formulate rational plans to obtain their goals. ... The crazies don’t understand any of those things. That’s why House Republicans spent the last two months in a state of frenzied outrage over their leadership’s inability to stop a tax increase that was already written into law."
A very good assessment of the counter-productivity of the hard-right-wingers in the House and their celebration of Boehner's "no negotiate" position. Dumb on SO MANY levels!
The Debt Ceiling Isn’t Obama’s Problem. It’s the GOP’s Problem (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Do Republicans really have the leverage in the debt ceiling fight they think they have? Some Republicans are now coming out and acknowledging that the GOP may not be in a strong position in the debt ceiling battle, after all."
In the House, a Deck Stacked for Republicans (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"A new analysis finds that even if Democratic congressional candidates won the popular vote by seven percentage points nationwide, they still would not have gained control of the House. ... In a very real sense, the Republican House majority is impervious to the will of the electorate."
Maybe -- but I suspect that this advantage will simply further disconnect the GOP House from political realities. A day of reckoning is coming for the GOP, and this gerrymandering will put it off for a time -- but not defer it forever. Moreover, by failing to deal with reality AS IT REALLY IS, they simply assure that when the reckoning comes the wipeout will be even more severe.
Fiscal Cliff Averted: How The White House Got A Deal Before The Deadline (Grim & Stein) from the Huffington Post
"The final result would be a deal that pleased few in either party but also illustrated a more seasoned legislative approach from the White House, which drummed up public support for its position and used the prospect of inaction as a cudgel. ... In actuality, however, the administration was far more nervous about the prospect of going over the cliff than it let on."
The Supreme Court and the Next Fiscal Cliff (Simon Johnson) from the New York Times
"At the end of the day, the administration would probably break the debt ceiling and take its case to the Supreme Court. ... We haven’t seen a court decision with that kind of potential macroeconomic impact since the 1930s (when the legality of suspending the gold standard was reviewed)."
Republican Party Seems As Divided, Angry As Ever from the Associated Press via the Huffington Post
"The Republican Party seems as divided and angry as ever. Infighting has penetrated the highest levels of the House GOP leadership. Long-standing geographic tensions have increased, pitting endangered Northeastern Republicans against their colleagues from other parts of the country. Enraged tea party leaders are threatening to knock off dozens of Republicans who supported a measure that raised taxes on the nation's highest earners."
Need some examples? Check out this interview with a just-retired GOP congressman from Ohio. His contempt for his Tea Party colleagues oozes from just about every sentence. Read the whole thing:
Are People Being Unfair to the House Republicans? (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
"Rep. LaTourette: "They should kick them all out of the Republican conference. The picture in Politico of a sitting Republican member of Congress on the floor with an iPad showing a screen with a whip count to deny the Republicans the speakership of the House is asinine. This is what I'm talking about: These guys are OK when it comes to ideology and dogma, but they don't have a clue how to participate in the legislative process. I don't know what their objective is."
Republicans Begin Soul-Searching After Bruising Tax Vote from the New York Times
"From Mitt Romney’s loss through the recent tax fight, Republicans have seen the foundations of their strategy questioned, stirring a debate about how to reshape the party."
GOP Dissension Over Debt-Ceiling Strategy from the Washington Post
"There are early signs of division within the Republican Party over how to approach the upcoming debate over raising the federal debt ceiling."
Who had the Worst Week in Washington? House Speaker John A. Boehner (Chris Cillizza) from the Washington Post
"When John Boehner stood before the House, which had just elected him speaker of the 113th Congress, his voice cracked with emotion. Crying, of course, is Boehner’s trademark — the Fix, a crier himself, admires the Ohio Republican’s willingness to wear his heart on his sleeve — but these tears on Thursday were particularly apt."
Fiscal Cliff Vote May Lead To Tough Primaries, Worry Republicans from the Huffington Post
"Republicans in Congress who took the politically risky step of voting this week to raise taxes now find themselves trying to fend off potential primary challenges next year from angry conservatives."
White House Plans To Overwhelm NRA With Rapid Victory from Talking Points Memo
"The White House and gun control supporters are gearing up for a whirlwind month, with plans to pass reform legislation before outrage over the Sandy Hook massacre has a chance to fade."
Powerful Tea Party Group's Internal Docs Leak—Read Them Here (Andy Kroll) from Mother Jones Magazine
"FreedomWorks bills itself as a grassroots outfit, but it's bankrolled mostly by big-money donors."
Christie 'Straight Talk' Starts to Grate on GOP Right from Politico
"... it laid stark just how divergent the needs of his reelection bid in New Jersey are from the realities of a potential presidential run in a party that’s tacked hard right not just on social issues but on spending and deficit reduction."
Anyone who thinks Christie has a prayer of becoming the pres nominee for the GOP in 2016 are deluding themselves.
Obama 2012: President's Ad Team Used Cable TV To Outplay Mitt Romney from Reuters via the Huffington Post
"As political experts assess Republican Mitt Romney's failed U.S. presidential bid, an analysis of how his campaign and President Barack Obama's winning team used cable TV to target ads at specific
ODD ZOO NUGGET!!
Gorillas Watching TV: Behind the Scenes at the Zoo (Daniel Engber) from Slate
"...there are lots of things that zoos don't show. A lion at the zoo never tears an antelope in half; it feeds in private dressing rooms, where the facsimile of Africa that's on display out front gives way to stern and functional design—holding areas with smaller cages, where keepers do their daily work."