Monday, January 7, 2013

News Nuggets 1148

DAYLEE PICTURE: A playground at night in Lova, Turkey.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

General Norman Schwarzkopf Role 'Second Only to Allah's' from Al Qabas [of Kuwait in English]
"Unlike in the past, no nation's history can be reserved for its citizens alone. ... To you great man, we send our sincere thanks and appreciation. You may have left the flesh, but your name and mighty role will remain rooted in the memory of my compatriots, who pay respect to the roles of great men and their deeds. Your great role in liberating Kuwait is second only to Allah's."

Don't Listen to the Chicken Littles: Obama Made Smart Investments in Green Tech (John Rogers and David Friedman) from the Christian Science Monitor 
"A few falling acorns (Solyndra and A123) don't mean the sky is falling on clean technology. Far from it. The federal government’s track record on supporting green energy tech is an enviable one. And this investment is improving America’s energy, economic, and environmental fortunes."

GOP Control of the House a Losing Game? (Josh Marshall) from Talking Points Memo
"The gerrymander may have preserved house control for now, but it is forcing an abdication from the mainstream market of ideas by the republican party. ... Akin’s mistake was only saying out loud what was well accepted by most dedicated republican primary voter. ... So we have come to a point where house republican electoral strategy has solidified their hold for now but has also made more likely the loss of close senate seats and the Presidential vote."
I completely agree with this set of observations.  It will become harder and harder for Republicans to win Senate and Presidential races so long as they have to run a gauntlet of in-another-reality Tea Party wingnuts at the grassroots level and in the House.  It is a background reason why I think folks like Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, and (probably) even Jeb Bush will find it near impossible to win the GOP nomination in 2016.

What Obama's Senate Mafia Means for America (Michael Hirsh) from the National Journal
"With Chuck Hagel's likely nomination for Defense secretary and John Kerry's at State, the president is gathering his old Senate 'Team of Mentors' back together."

Eve of Disaster (Charles Emmerson) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Why 2013 eerily looks like the world of 1913, on the cusp of the Great War."
As regular readers know, I've been touting for some time the parallels I see between China's behavior and popular mindset now and those of the Kaiser's Germany right before World War I.  I am not as pessimistic as this analyst is however.

Obama to Draw on Public Support in New Round of Economic Battles (Niall Stanage and Amie Parnes) from The Hill
"Team Obama’s desire to keep the campaign infrastructure alive and vibrant was evident last week, when 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina sent out an email blast to supporters with a video of the president talking about the merits of the fiscal-cliff deal."

House and Senate Working Quietly to Avoid Government Shutdown (Erik Wasson) from The Hill
"Washington is facing the threat of three major fiscal disasters in the coming months — but a government shutdown after March 27 may be the least likely of them to occur. House and Senate appropriators have been quietly working behind the scenes for months to craft 12 compromise annual spending bills to avoid a shutdown that is slated to occur when the current six-month stopgap spending bill expires."

GOP Dissension Over Debt-ceiling Strategy (Felicia Sonmez) from the Washington Post
"...other Republicans counseled caution, warning that pressure from the business community and the public to raise the $16.4 trillion federal borrowing limit renders untenable any threats not to do so and will weaken the GOP’s hand if their stance is perceived to be a bluff."

Conservatives Gone Wild: Mindless Slaps at the Speaker (John Podhoretz) from the New York Post
This (unintentionally) ironic admonition from one of the most reflexive right-wingers out there!
" the realm of philosophy, “conservatism” from Thomas Hobbes onward is a worldview dedicated to order and tradition and the proposition that disorder is dangerous and deadly. Thus, it is the opposite of “conservative” to embrace chaos instead of order. It is the opposite of “conservative” to embrace crisis rather than accept unpleasant realities. Who’d want his job? John Boehner has an emotional moment after being re-elected as House speaker yesterday. And yet, over the past week, that is exactly what many conservatives have done. They have violated fundamental conservative precepts."
Podhoretz has done as much as any pundit to encourage Tea Partyism and the GOP's seemingly unending march to stage right.  As Andrew Sullivan and others have noted (myself included), the 21st century GOP is not a "conservative" party any longer, which is to say a party dedicated to slow, cautious progress that respects existing institutions.  No, it is now a deeply reactionary party that looks to recreate a mythic past (that looks something like the Eisenhower years before the Brown decision or earlier).  These folks (Podhoretz included) have no use for what's really happening in the 21st century or for what's happened for most of the last 40+ years of US history.  This is why their core constituency is now the elderly -- and why the young feel so disconnected from modern conservatism.

How the Right Lost its Imagination; Drunk on Dark Money, Republicans have Nothing New to Offer the Country (Stanley Crouch) from the New York Daily News
"Christie is an outlier in the GOP, one of those rare conservatives unafraid to think his own thoughts and say what he believes, not just what will poll well in South Carolina. Too many of the elephants are pulled along by dark money funneled into their coffers by billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers."

John Boehner, the GOP Insurgents and the Perils of Striking the King from the Reid Report
"Why wouldn’t Cantor go for it? Most observers believe he’s eagerly eyeing Boehner’s spot. But even a shady character like Cantor can remember recent history, specifically: Boehner’s recent history:..."

The Hagel Nomination Crack Pipe (Josh Marshall) from Talking Points Memo 
"I’m watching a lot of neoconservative policy activists and a lot of people in the press telling me that it’s a very up in the air thing whether Chuck Hagel gets confirmed as Secretary of Defense. ... I’m not in the same crack den with the rest of these good people so the air I’m breathing is clear and I know what is happening in the real world."

Boehner Coup Attempt Larger Than First Thought (Jonathan Strong) from Roll Call
"A group of disaffected conservatives had agreed to vote against the Ohio lawmaker if they could get at least 25 members to join the effort. But one member, whose identity could not be verified, rescinded his or her participation the morning of the vote, leaving the group one person short ..."

In New Jersey and Across America, Chris Christie Casts A Big Shadow (Lloyd Grove) from the Daily Beast
"The same positions that have made Christie seem like a potentially formidable general-election candidate could keep him from coming out on top in in a Republican primary race. Lloyd Grove reports."

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