DAYLEE PICTURE: A cape fur seal off the shore of South Africa. From National Geographic.
What the Suez Crisis Can Remind Us About U.S. Power (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"What’s interesting about Eisenhower is that, while sympathetic to Israel’s defense needs, he was also determined to maintain an independent U.S. policy and avoid a war that might involve the Soviet Union."
The Indian Spring (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"Americans dismayed by politics in Washington might find something familiar in what’s happening in India. Here, frustration with government has turned into rage."
China Wouldn't Mind a Unified Korea—Just Not Yet (Matt Schiavenza) from the Atlantic
"How far will China to go to protect an increasingly belligerent North Korea?"
Why Obama Didn’t Bother to Reach Out to the GOP (George E. Condon Jr.) from National Journal
"In normal times, the president’s Inaugural Address might have been viewed as overly divisive and polarizing. But those days are past."
Key Republicans Back Away From Electoral Vote Scheme from Talking Points Memo
"Momentum for an RNC-backed plan to rig blue state electoral votes in favor of GOP presidential candidates appears to be stalling as more Republicans come out against the idea."
The Tomorrow Majority (Timothy Egan) from the New York Times
"The country isn't more liberal -- but the center has moved, and Republicans have not."
The Ice Is Breaking (Joe Klein) from Time Magazine
"There was unanimity, for once, among the Washington commentariat that it was a liberal speech--but, with the exception of climate change, this was not an agenda-setting address. It was a proclamation that the Reagan reaction to the events of the 1960s had come to an end. The welfare state would not be repealed. ... The speech confirmed the November results: that a political party tethered to a white, regional, rural base no longer has the electoral firepower to govern the country."
Deficit Hawks Down (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"President Obama barely mentioned the budget deficit in his Inaugural Address, and that’s a very good thing."
House Republicans, Living in a Fantasy World (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"Because the state has a Republican legislature, his budget, or something close to it, will likely become law. He has real power, so he is acting responsibly. Ryan and his fellow House Republicans, by contrast, know their budget will never become law. They are free to be as reckless as they want to be, to throw as many bombs as they wish. The dichotomy explains why the national Republican Party is in so much difficulty now, even as Republican governors maintain strong brands."
Lessons Conservatives Need to Learn: Obama is a Formidable Foe. He Means to Change the Country and Crush the GOP (Peggy Noonan) from the Wall Street Journal
"Finally, it became obvious this week that the Republican party top to bottom has to start taking Barack Obama seriously. ... He's a chill presence in a warm-blooded profession. But he means business. He means to change America in fundamental ways and along the lines of justice as he sees it."
Noonan, as usual, makes several good points in this lengthy piece -- although she has come to rely way too much on the right-wing spin machine for much of her analysis. It's a shame. She used to be much more like David Frum and Ross Douthat.
A 12-Step Program for the Republican Party (Tim Alberta and Jim O'Sullivan) from National Journal
"The GOP has finally admitted it has a problem winning over voters. Here’s a 12-step program to get the party back on track."
Republicans Today are Held Hostage (Carter Eskew) from the Washington Post
"Just as Democrats once clung to a narrow issue set that appealed to its shrinking base but had outlived its usefulness for recruiting new voters, Republicans today are held hostage by a diminished conservative, white and male minority. ... There seem to be three responses to this Republican political trauma."
As G.O.P. Looks to Rebuild, Party Divisions Grow from the New York Times
"The competing schools of thought illustrate the conflicting currents pulling the Republican Party in opposite directions: Even as Mr. Jindal and an array of leaders are encouraging the party to temper its tone and appeal to a broader set of voters, its core conservative voters continue to punish Republicans who do just that."
GOP Wants to Party Like It's 1994, Voters Be Damned (Robert Schlesinger) from US News and World Report
"Judging by their actions, you would think the GOP had just won a 1994- or 2010-style vindication at the polls. ... The right is haunted. They are not haunted by their recent, round rejection by the voters but by the ghosts of their own victories past."
GOP Leaders Have Obama Campaign Envy (Beth Reinhard) from National Journal
“Community organizing? Sign me up!" said Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry, alluding to the president’s former occupation and the underlying spirit of his grassroots campaign. “We’re going to find ways to engage with diverse communities.”
BOY -- the ironies here are extraordinary!! They used to mock Obama, the community organizer, implying that he never did "real work." The sad part -- look for fat-cat GOP candidates in 2014 and later to hire expensive consulting firms to do their "community organizing" for them. Screw the grass roots!
POLL: Clear Majority Want No Medicare, Social Security Or Education Cuts (Jason Sattler) from the National Memo
"58 percent want no cuts to Medicare or Social Security and 61 percent want to completely preserve current public education spending. So what do Americans want to cut? Clear majorities say they are for some cuts to defense, health insurance subsidies, unemployment insurance, food stamps, aid to farmers, federal salaries, foreign aid and the war in Afghanistan."
12 Rational Responses to Irrational Gun Arguments (Richard Eskow) from Salon and Alternet
"With the gun control debate hitting a fever pitch, a handy how-to guide for dealing with gun rights."
In Fight Over Life, a New Call by Catholics from the New York Times
"Some Catholic leaders and theologians are asking why so many of those who call themselves “pro-life” have been silent, or even opposed, when it comes to gun control."
States' Rights Pushed in Bill that Would 'Assert the Sovereignty of the State' from the Clarion-Ledger
"More than a half century ago, Mississippi created a state Sovereignty Commission to block enforcement of federal laws. Now two key state lawmakers are introducing legislation to attempt to do much the same thing. House Bill 490 would create a committee to help neutralize federal laws and regulations “outside the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government in the United States Constitution.”"
Diderot, an American Exemplar? Bien Sûr! (Andrew Curran) from the New York Times
"What Denis Diderot, the great provocateur of the Enlightenment, can teach us about freethinking."
GAYS IN THE MILITARY NUGGET!!
Spouses Club Relents, says Lesbian Army Wife Can be 'Full Member' from NBC News
"Hours after same-sex Army wife Ashley Broadway was named Fort Bragg's 2013 “spouse of the year,” the on-base spouses club — that has for two months rebuffed Broadway's bid to join — fully reversed course and invited her "to become a full member," according to emails sent to NBC News and Broadway."