Saturday, January 19, 2013

News Nuggets 1158

DAYLEE PICTURE: Botofogo Bay and the skyline of Rio.  From National Geographic.

Go for the Throat! (John Dickerson) from Slate
"Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party."
I think this IS what Obana is up to since his re-election -- to an extent. I think what he is about is destroying/marginalizing the Tea Party caucus in the House.  Without that crowd, I suspect that he believes that he can accomplish many of the big items he wants to accomplish. And I think he may be right on this.

A New Term, a New Obama (David Maraniss) from the Washington Post
"His mystery is hiding in plain sight. There is a pattern to his behavior, just as there was with Clinton. Where Clinton was protean, Obama is more slowly evolving. People tend to forget, or underestimate, that he had scant executive experience before becoming president. Behind his veneer of ultra-cool control he was struggling to figure things out. Now, after four years, his presidential identity has started to approach its full shape, which will become clearer from now to 2016."

Why Americans Care About the Obamas (Krissah Thompson) from the Washington Post
“History is going to remember what Barack Obama did or didn’t do as a president. But we who live through it are different. We see the cultural impact,” said Hess, who served on the White House staff during the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations and as an adviser to presidents Ford and Carter. “They have contributed in a very special way to our lives. They got to the White House at a moment when a lot of our lives were difficult, and we are fortunate to have a very optimistic family who knows how to smile, how to have fun.”

Michelle Obama Announces OFA's Next Phase: Organizing for Action (Jed Lewison) from Daily Kos
"First Lady Michelle Obama announces Organization for Action, a non-profit organization that will build on the volunteer network and infrastructure of President Obama's campaign apparatus to continue supporting his agenda over the course of his second term—and potentially beyond. ... Organizing for Action will be a central topic of discussion on Sunday as 4,000 former campaign staff and volunteers gather in Washington for an "Obama Campaign Legacy Conference." The conference will be available online if you want to watch from home."
This COULD be very important.

GOP De-Escalates Debt Limit Fight from Talking Points Memo
"The jig is up. Republicans are going to increase the debt limit. Probably for free. And in the end, their change of heart took about two weeks."

Why Republicans Will Vote to Raise the Debt Ceiling President Obama is Demanding a "Clean" Vote to Raise the Debt Ceiling (Peter Weber) from The Week
"Surprisingly, he'll probably get it."

The Leverage (Mark Halperin) from Times Magazine
"Right now, the most important dynamic in the fiscal cliff fight is the advantages the Democrats have: the President is more popular than congressional Republicans; Democrats are more united than Republicans on strategy and tactics; and the President is about to have unmatchable platforms with the inauguration and State of the Union."

Dems to GOP: Thanks, but the Debt Ceiling is Still Your Problem (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Not surprisingly, Democrats are greeting the House GOP’s plan for a three month debt ceiling hike as an admission that the debt limit strategy has been a total failure for Republicans, and that the threat of default gives the party no leverage. And they are responding by putting still more pressure on Republicans."

Not With A Bang But With A Whimper (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times 
"I thought that by ruling out any way to bypass the debt limit, the White House was setting itself up, at least potentially, for an ignominious cave-in. But it appears that the strategy has worked, and it’s the Republicans giving up. I’m happy to concede that the president and team called this one right."

Battered GOP Tries to Find Strength in Weakness (Byron York) from the Washington Examiner
"Even though the party controls the House, the talk in some quarters at Williamsburg is of adopting a "minority mentality" to oppose President Obama's initiatives the way Republicans did when they were in an even weaker position in 2009. ... The problem is, if Republicans are asked what they can reasonably expect to accomplish in the next six months, after a variety of fights with the president, they don't have an answer. What would constitute an achievable victory? They don't really know."

A Minority Posture for House GOP from The Hill
"House Republicans appeared to be coming to grips with a stark realization as they returned to Washington from a three-day retreat here — they have a majority in name only."

GOP Takes Off the Suicide Bomb Vest (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"On the debt ceiling, at least, this is a complete cave. As noted below, the mere willingness to raise the debt ceiling temporarily was itself an acknowledgment by Republicans that the threat of default gave them no leverage and that they had essentially lost this fight."

Without Deep Spending Cuts, the Republicans Lose the House in 2014 (Larry Kudlow) from
"So Republicans can persuade the public about bold spending cuts. They can make it their key message and central marketing strategy. If they don’t, they risk losing the House in 2014. ... It’s this simple: If you pay people not to work, they won’t work. And if they won’t work, the economy won’t grow. This is part of the spending-cut message. The GOP has to repeat this message again and again."
No more concise statement of GOP economic orthodxy can be found than this column.  My response is -- precisely what government spending is the GOP in Congress going to cut?  Crickets.  No Republican in Congress is going to actually propose or vote for what Kudlow suggests.

Republiclownery, Continued (Jed Lewison) from Daily Kos
"Bottom line, it seems like Republicans have three options: (1) they can pass a clean extension of the debt limit, as Cantor's initial statement seemed to be saying they would, (2) they can try to pass a debt limit extension that includes the unconstitutional "no budget, no pay" gimmick, or (3) they can go back to hostage crisis mode, right back where we started. Only one of those three options—the first—is at all viable. And in a sign of the clown show that is today's GOP, it's still not clear what they are going to do ..."

Shifting Winds in the Mountain State from the Observer-Reporter [of Washington, PA]
"We have noted on a couple of occasions recently the changes in West Virginia politics that have transformed the state within a generation from being a sure thing for Democrats in presidential elections to a deep-red stronghold for the GOP."

Gun Lovers Freak Over Obama’s Executive Actions (Adam Winkler) from the Daily Beast
"They invoke the Constitution to say Obama is acting like a monarch, but the right-wing bloviators only succeed in revealing their ignorance of history and law, writes Adam Winkler."

Ray Nagin Indictment: A Breakdown of the Alleged Payments to Him, and What he Allegedly Did for Those who Provided Them from the New Orleans  Times-Picayune 
"A federal grand jury on Friday indicted former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on 21 counts of corruption, alleging that while in office, Nagin took cash bribes and gifts from three city contractors and used his power as mayor to leverage a granite installation contract from Home Depot as the retailer was building a store in Central City"
I'm shocked, SHOCKED, to find there was corruption going in in the New Orleans Mayor's office!!

Can Republicans Warm Up to a Carbon Tax? (Ben Schreckinger) from National Journal
"To paraphrase Ronald Reagan paraphrasing Will Rogers, some people around here never met a tax they didn’t dislike. Others have met just one: a carbon tax. A number of the nation’s leading conservative economists, who as a rule do not like taxes, are touting some benefits to a federal carbon tax."
I have been saying for some time that I thought the carbon tax could address A LOT of problems including the issues of the deficit, the debt, climate change, and structuring a progressive tax structure.

100 Years of Grandeur: The Birth of Grand Central Station from the New York Times
"One hundred years ago, on Feb. 2, 1913, the doors to Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public, after 10 years of construction and at a cost of more than $2 billion in today’s dollars. The terminal was a product of local politics, bold architecture, brutal flexing of corporate muscle and visionary engineering. No other building embodies New York’s ascent as vividly as Grand Central."

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