Wednesday, January 9, 2013

News Nuggets 1150

DAYLEE PICTURE: An aerial view of Cappadocia, Turkey.  From National Geographic.

Japan and China Step Up Drone Race as Tension Builds Over Disputed Islands from the Guardian [of the UK]
"Both countries claim drones will be used for surveillance, but experts warn of future skirmishes in region's airspace."

How to Fix the GOP’s Foreign-Policy Problem (Daniel Larison) from the American Conservative
"Republicans will lose wars and elections alike until they stop treating world affairs as an arena for ideology."

Another view:
On Hagel, the Republicans Protest a Return to Realism (Paul Mulshine) from the Star Ledger [of New Jersey]
"All the usual suspects are denouncing Hagel for being insufficiently enthusiastic about continuing the mindless meddling in the Mideast that began with George W. Bush and continued through Obama’s first term. With his nomination of Hagel, Obama seems determined to make a long-overdue break with that past and return to realism in foreign policy."

Obama's Second Term: More (and More Presidential) Polarization (Francis Wilkinson) from the Bloomberg News Service
"...the Hagel nomination represents both an affront to Republicans, who have never honestly reckoned with the disasters of George W. Bush's foreign policy, and to Democrats, who have spent decades crafting foreign policy designed in part to avoid inciting aggression not from abroad, but from Republicans."

Revealed: The Massive New Liberal Plan to Remake American Politics (Andy Kroll) from Mother Jones Magazine
"A month after President Obama won reelection, America's most powerful liberal groups met to plan their next moves. Here's what they talked about."

Why President Obama is Picking Fights with Congress from Politico
"Obama, the same president who campaigned twice on breaking the cycle of conflict in Washington, sees the utility — even the necessity — of rattling Republican cages as he plunges into a succession of upcoming battles over the nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, the debt ceiling, $1 trillion in automatic budget cuts, immigration reform and gun control."

Jack Lew Pick Shows Obama Is Ready to Play Tough on Budget (Catherine Hollander) from National Journal
"The pick of White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew as the next Treasury secretary underscores President Obama’s intention to play tough with Republicans in a series of upcoming budget fights."

Chuck Hagel Pick: Final Snub of George W. Bush from Politico
"While Obama has cast his administration as a clean break with the past, there has been much in his record for the right to like. ... The Hagel nomination is different — and may represent the president’s most dramatic turn away from the national security tenets of his predecessor."

Platinum Coin: White House Doesn't Completely Rule It Out from the Huffington Post
"The White House routinely rules out the idea of President Barack Obama invoking the Constitution to raise the debt ceiling in the event that Congress fails to do so. But minting a $1 trillion coin to avoid a debt default? Maybe."

Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe on the Legality of #mintthecoin (Ryan Cooper) from Washington Monthly
"Bottom line: This is a situation where the political and economic considerations, not the legal considerations, have to drive the decision-making about this option. It’s certainly a lot better from just about every perspective than having the nation stuck on either horn of the very real dilemma you outlined below ..."

Platinum Coin: What The National Republican Congressional Committee Does Not Get (Jason Linkins) from the Huffington Post
"The relevant issue, here, is seigniorage, the difference between the cost of producing a currency and its value as currency. ... The point is to stay within the law, while getting around the technical problem of the debt ceiling."

Why Republicans Won’t Bargain With Obama Again (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"It reflects an important intellectual development on the right. Capretta is advocating not just the classic no-taxes-ever approach that has defined the party for years, but also its newer (or newly fervent) belief in privatizing health-care services."

The Incompetent Party (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"For years, everyone assumed Republicans were politically savvy and Democrats weren’t. But Michael Tomasky thinks that stereotype is outdated. What if today’s GOP just isn’t very good at politics?"
I disagree somewhat with Tomasky here.  To the extent that the GOP does anything well it is electoral politics.  It is governing which they have become especially bad at.  It is almost a miracle out of scripture that Republicans are still able to convince close to 50% of the electorate that vote for them given their congressional and presidential history since Bush I.

Gun Control: The GOP’s Next Chance to be Called ‘the Stupid Party’ (Ed Rogers) from the Washington Post
"I think a Republican needs to say that Alex Jones is a nut.  Alex Jones is a nut. And unfortunately, he is exactly what gun control advocates on the left need to prove their point.  Or as Alexandra Petri from The Post artfully put it, "Sometimes the best argument against an argument is its adherents.”"

In U.S., Democrats Re-Establish Lead in Party Affiliation from Gallup 
"In 2012, 47% identified or leaned Democratic, 42% Republican."

Obama and the Liberals: Three Quarters of a Loaf Is Never Enough (Michael Grunwald) from Time Magazine
"The deal also exposed serious divisions inside the GOP, forcing House Speaker John Boehner to defy a majority of his own caucus. Yet liberals were outraged. (Not all liberals. Michael Tomasky wisely advised his fellow lefties to stop whining.) The complaints basically fell into three categories:"

Can Chris Christie Rescue the GOP? (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post 
"A pair of polls out this week shows the dire state the Republican Party finds itself in — and a way out of the wilderness, should Republicans choose to take it."

SEN-KY: Mitch McConnell Targeted By Conservative Group In Ads For 2014 Election from the Huffington Post
"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing the first attack ads of his 2014 reelection campaign, from a conservative group accusing him of selling out Republican principles by working with the Obama administration on a "fiscal cliff" deal."

SEN-MT: In Montana, Dark Money Helped Democrats Hold a Key Senate Seat from High Country News and ProPublica
"It didn't buy ads supporting the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Jon Tester. Instead, it put up radio and TV commercials that urged voters to choose the third-party candidate, libertarian DanCox, describing Cox as the "real conservative" or the "true conservative." Where did the group's money come from? Nobody knows."
WOW!  Liberals being ... really DEVIOUS!!  Shocking.

Can’t We Aim Higher Than ‘Honey Boo Boo’? (Kathleen Parker) from the Washington Post
"Alas, a few minutes with “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” confirms that even mindlessness has its limits. ... That they have willingly participated in this spectacle — and, one hopes, are getting filthy rich in the process — is of little consolation. Far more offensive than the show is the fact of an audience."

The Terrifying Prehistoric 'Sovereign of the Sea' - with Razor-Sharp Five Inch Teeth from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Giant 28 foot long predator roamed seas that once covered Nevada.  Named Thalattoarchon saurophagis - meaning 'lizard-eating sovereign of the sea'"

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