DAYLEE PICTURE: Compton Downs in Shaftesbury in the UK. From the Daily Mail.
N. Korea Threatens Nuclear Test, More Rocket Launches in Wake of New Sanctions from the Washington Post
"North Korea has spent decades as East Asia’s chief provocateur — developing weapons; launching rockets; making and breaking denuclearization deals; threatening all-out war — and analysts admit that its rhetoric can often feel repetitive. But the North, those analysts say, is indeed becoming more dangerous."
Barack Obama — Politician (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"...he person who would succeed in politics must have something different, an inner certainty born, sometimes, of failure. As Weber wrote: “Only he has the calling for politics who is sure that he shall not crumble when the world from his point of view is too stupid or too base for what he wants to offer.” This strikes me as an apt description of Obama, circa 2013."
Obama Follows in Reagan’s Footsteps (E.J. Dionne Jr.) from the Washington Post
"Like Reagan, Obama hopes to usher in a long-term electoral realignment — in Obama’s case toward the moderate left, thereby reversing the 40th president’s political legacy. The Reagan metaphor helps explain the tone of Obama’s inaugural address, built not on a contrived call to an impossible bipartisanship but on a philosophical argument for a progressive vision of the country rooted in our history."
Boehner, Ryan Gamble on Pledge to Balance the Budget in 10 Years from The Hill
"Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) pledge to back a Republican budget that balances within 10 years raises the political stakes for his party and sets up another major test of his leadership. Democrats eyeing a takeover of the House in 2014 view the move as a gift, since the GOP budget plan will likely make deeper cuts to popular government programs that any leadership-backed blueprint has before."
In Benghazi Hearings, Hillary Clinton Storms Capitol Hill (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"They blamed her mismanagement for the death of Americans in Benghazi, Libya. They accused her of a cover-up. Some even suggested that she faked an illness to avoid testifying about the attack. On Wednesday, Hillary Rodham Clinton finally had her chance to respond to critics, and the outgoing secretary of state served up a potent brew of righteous outrage. ... Clinton’s appearance on the Hill, expected to be her last before she is succeeded by John Kerry, provided a broader vindication of the one-time (and probably future) presidential candidate."
Benghazi Hearings: Capitol Hill’s Angry Little Men Keep Making Hillary Bigger (Joe Conason) from the National Memo
"Anyone truly concerned over the safety of U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad ... has fresh reason for fury over last September’s disaster in Benghazi and its aftermath. But the target of public anger should not be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose conduct has been exemplary ... Far more deserving of scorn are the likes of Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, and all the other grandstanding, conspiracy-mongering, ill-informed politicians who questioned her Wednesday on Capitol Hill."
Hillary Clinton 69, Rand Paul 10 (Brent Budowsky) from The Hill
"Paul suggesting he would have fired Clinton is like the Little League coach suggesting he would have fired Babe Ruth. I expect Hillary Clinton to run for and win the presidency, and I very much hope Paul runs against her. If he does, Hillary Rodham Clinton will pulverize Rand Paul into outer space."
Hillary Faces Down the Angry Men (Joan Walsh) from Salon
"From simpleton Ron Johnson to delusional Rand Paul, GOP senators swung at the Secretary of State and hit themselves."
In Her Capitol Hill Swan Song, Hillary Clinton Shines (Suzi Parker) from the Washington Post
"Hillary conquered Capitol Hill on Wednesday. ... For Hillary, the testimony was a triumphant capstone on her term as the chief U.S.vdiplomat. If Hillary had not dealt with the Benghazi affair before she left office, she could have been viewed as a failure and a weakling. Instead, she came blazing onto Capitol Hill in true Hillary style"
It Takes A Lot Of Nerve (David Kurtz) from Talking Points Memo
"...it takes a lot of nerve to sit there and rip a secretary over the decisions made about how and where to deploy security resources when not only is the department chronically underfunded and having to make do, but while you yourself have called for slashing the departments budget by nearly half. That’s not serious. And neither is Paul."
GOP Attracting Minorities? (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"Not. Going. To. Happen. Michael Tomasky on why Republicans’ recent rhetoric about trying to win over minority voters is completely delusional."
Democrats Launch Plan to Turn Texas Blue from Politico
"National Democrats are taking steps to create a large-scale independent group aimed at turning traditionally conservative Texas into a prime electoral battleground, crafting a new initiative to identify and mobilize progressive voters in the rapidly-changing state, strategists familiar with the plans told POLITICO. ... At the center of the effort is Jeremy Bird, formerly the national field director for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, who was in Austin last week to confer with local Democrats about the project."
Look for them to get substantial push-back from the national and state-level GOP. They know that if Texas truly becomes a swing state, all the redistricting shinanigans they're pursuing now in states like PA will make no difference in presidential races. Can this effort make a difference in 2016? I suspect it's too soon - but we shall see.
America Is Ever So Slowly Falling Out of Love With Guns (Joshua Green) from Bloomberg Businessweek
"In the near term, then, advocates of gun control will likely be disappointed. But their prospects look much better further on, because the composition of the Democratic electorate is changing in ways that make it more willing to impose restrictions."
Bobby Jindal Speaking Truth to GOP Power from the Washington Post
"Jindal’s speech — and his call to “recalibrate the compass of conservatism” — is the latest shred of a growing amount of evidence that the Louisiana governor is positioning himself to not only run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 but do so in direct (or close to it) opposition to his party in the nation’s capital."
Yeah -- based on the talking points here, he'll be able to commiserate with John Huntsman about the
prospects of this strategy succeeding.
Learning to Love Grains, Potatoes was Key to the Evolution of Dogs (David Brown) from the Washington Post
"You know that dog biscuit shaped like a bone but made mostly of wheat? Your dog’s willingness to eat that treat, instead of going for a bone in your thigh, helps explain how its ancestors evolved from wolves into house pets."