DAYLEE PICTURE: Parakeets in the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador. From National Geographic.
Texas Shooting Puts New Spotlight on Issue of Concealed Weapons on Campus from the Daily Beast
"The Lone Star College incident left three people injured, two in custody, and one charged—and shook up a Texas state senator’s bid to allow concealed weapons on campus. Christine Pelisek reports. ... Their decision shows that even among some staunch conservatives, Mr. Obama’s inauguration could be ushering in a more pragmatic tone — if not necessarily a shift in beliefs."
Obama Speech Leaves G.O.P. Stark Choices from the New York Times
"President Obama’s aggressive Inaugural Address on Monday presented Congressional Republicans with a stark choice over the next two years: accommodate the president’s agenda on immigration, guns, energy and social programs and hope to take the liberal edge off issues dictated by the White House, or dig in as the last bulwark against a re-elected Democratic president and accept the political risks of that hard-line stance."
GOP Likely to OK Temporary Debt-Ceiling Extension in House Vote (Eleanor Clift) from the Daily Beast
"The House is expected to vote Wednesday on authorizing the government’s borrowing authority through May 19—and it appears Boehner has lassoed enough rebellious Republicans to say yes."
GOP’s Magic Debt Ceiling Plan Won’t Solve the Problem (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"When it comes down to it, the current governing crisis we’re dealing with right now is the result of the same old problem: Republicans who claim to care about the deficit don’t want to agree to any more deficit reduction in the form of new revenues from rich people."
A New Obama (Paul Begala) from the Daily Beast
"He confidently took his part in a debate that stretches back centuries. The president gave the communitarian vision in contraposition to Reagan’s anti-government individualism. He mocked the notion that an individual alone can meet and master the challenges of the 21st century as akin to sending musket-bearing militiamen to confront Hitler’s Panzers."
Obama: No Patsy Now (Kathleen Parker) from the Washington Post
"What it all really means, of course, is that Barack Obama has been liberated by a second term, free to take risks that he hopes will make his legacy great. This is his moment, his emancipation proclamation, his hinge point of history — and there’s no looking back now."
The Obama Majority (Harold Meyerson) from the Washington Post
"“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek,” candidate Barack Obama said in 2008. At the time, his comments came in for criticism: They were narcissistic; they were tautological; they didn’t make a whole lot of sense. But in the aftermath of Obama’s 2012 reelection and his second inaugural address, his 2008 remarks seem less a statement of self-absorption than one of prophecy. There is an Obama majority in American politics, symbolized by Monday’s throng on the Mall, whose existence is both the consequence of profound changes to our nation’s composition and values and the cause of changes yet to come."
The Liberal Hour (Ross Douthat) from the New York Times
"America may not be quite as liberal as its president, but so long as the Republican Party remains unable to offer a coherent alternative to progressivism there's an opportunity to continue pushing the American center leftward. And on the evidence of his second inaugural (and, indeed, his entire post-re-election political approach), that's an opportunity Obama is determined to exploit. For now, there are good reasons to think he will succeed. Liberalism's majority is real..."
Can Obama’s Second Term Unleash Power of His First? (Ezra Klein) from the Bloomberg News Service
"U.S. President Barack Obama begins his second term confronting a familiar and frustrating incongruity: the gap between how much change he has fostered and how little about the country seems different. A partial accounting of Obama’s first term reveals more accomplishments than most presidents secure in two."
Reid to Senate Republicans: Filibuster Deal in 36 Hours or Face Nuclear Option (Alexander Bolton) from The Hill
"The Nevada Democrat said he would give Republicans another 24 to 36 hours to agree to filibuster reform and then trigger the so-called nuclear option. This controversial tactic would allow him to change the Senate rules with a simple majority vote."
Background Checks: Senate Republicans In Disarray Over Popular Gun Control Measure from the Huffington Post
"Ask a Senate Republican if he or she supports an assault weapons ban and you'll likely get a "no." But ask about tighter background checks -- one of few items in President Barack Obama's gun violence package with a shot at passing Congress -- and you'll likely get a vague response about needing more information, if you get a response at all. "Uh, I don't know what you mean," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who then ended the conversation by turning around and walking into a room where senators were having lunch, closing the door behind him."
U.S. Budget Discord Is Top Threat to Global Economy in Poll from the Bloomberg News Service
"Global investors say the state of the U.S. government’s finances is the greatest risk to the world economy and almost half are curbing their investments in response to continuing budget battles, a Bloomberg poll shows."
Sundance’s ‘Manhunt’: Three CIA Agents Who Hunted Bin Laden Tell All (Marlow Stern) from the Daily Beast
"The documentary ‘Manhunt’ chronicles the CIA’s twenty-year hunt for Osama bin Laden. Three CIA agents featured in the film tell Marlow Stern about ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ torture, Bill Clinton’s culpability, and more."
Clinton More Popular than Biden; Let the 2016 Handicapping Begin from ABC News
"Of two potential Democratic successors to Barack Obama, one has a clear advantage in personal popularity: Hillary Clinton, whose favorability rating exceeds Joe Biden’s by a hefty 19 percentage points in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. ... Clinton also shapes up well against prominent Republicans, as measured in polling last summer."
Joe Biden 'Intoxicated' by 2016 Run from Politico
"Joe Biden summoned more than 200 Democratic insiders to the vice presidential residence Sunday night to chat about the 2012 triumph — but many walked away convinced his rising 2016 ambitions were the real intent of the long, intimate night. “I took a look at who was there,” said longtime New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, “and said to myself, ‘There’s no question he’s thinking about the future.’ ”"
If Hillary runs, he has almost no chance. If she chooses NOT to run, he has as good a chance as anyone else I could name. In the main, though, it has long been my sense that Biden's sell-by date has long passed. Younger voters, African American and Latino voters -- I can't see them viewing a Biden nomination with any excitement. It will be interesting to see where Obama eventually comes down on who he wants for his successor.
The 2016 Presidential Race Begins Today (Stuart Rothenberg) from Roll Call
"... it is never too early to ponder about the next step of the political ladder. And for some, the White House is the only rung that really matters."