Sunday, January 27, 2013

News Nuggets 1165

DAYLEE PICTURE: A lion sleeping in South Africa.  From National Geographic.

The Republican Pity Party (Colbert I. King) from the Washington Post   
King has for years been a prolific but clearly second-tier political pundit.  He's never been a pundit-of-the-day here, much less an up-front pundit! But in this lengthy column, he combines ironic schadenfreude (definition: pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others) with many on-the-mark observations on why the GOP is in the trouble they are.  This attitude closely tracks my own mix of feelings on a daily basis.
"Simply put, conservatives are in agony over the president’s smashing victory. Their pain is hard to watch. Only small-minded Democrats would gloat. What we’re seeing is the impact of losing when you believed with all your heart, soul and mind, buttressed by the predictions of pollsters and pundits, that you would win handily. ... For four long years they hit Obama with everything they had, assailing him at every turn. No insult was too offensive to be hurled; no abuse too outrageous to be tried; no name too abusive to call. From Day One, destruction of the Obama administration and preventing his reelection was top priority; the second item too far down the list to remember."

Scientists Hate the GOP for a Reason (Amanda Marcotte) from Salon
"What Sarewitz fails to understand is that scientists, as a community, admirably held off becoming overtly political until this shift occurred. Before recent election cycles, only researchers whose actual work was under attack who defended themselves. But now Republicans are a threat to science itself. ... They oppose these ideas because they come in conflict with Republican ideological concerns. In a larger sense, conservatives aren’t going to abandon their discomfort with empiricism, because it’s so destabilizing to their political authority."

As Netanyahu Weakens, Obama Grows Stronger (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast
"When most Americans hear the results of yesterday’s Israeli elections, they’ll be confused. When Barack Obama hears them, however, he should feel at least a little hope."

Barack Obama is Not Pleased: The President on His Enemies, the Media, and the Future of Football (Franklin Foer & Chris Hughes) from the New Republic
"Although he hardly sounded angry, he voiced an impatience with Republicans and the media (and college football) that he once carefully reserved for private conversations. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation."

Advocates for Gun Control Take to D.C. Streets from CBS News
"Thousands of people, many holding signs with names of gun violence victims and messages such as "Ban Assault Weapons Now," joined a rally for gun control on Saturday, marching from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. Leading the crowd were marchers with "We Are Sandy Hook" signs, paying tribute to victims of the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn."

Marco Rubio and the Neocon Resurgence (Jacob Heilbrunn) from the National Interest
"Their ascendance suggests that it is most improbable that a debate, let alone a civil war, will erupt within the GOP over foreign affairs. On the contrary, the neocons appear to be more firmly in control than ever."

Senators Near Agreement on Immigration (Rosalind S. Helderman and David Nakamura) from the Washington Post
"Proposal would represent the most substantive bipartisan effort toward comprehensive legislation in years."

Democrats, Don’t Freak Out! (Richard L. Hasen) from Slate
"Why fears that Republicans will gerrymander the Electoral College are overblown."

Republicans Might Be Outsmarting Themselves on the Electoral College (Kevin Drum) from Mother Jones Magazine
"Democrats don't have the votes to fight back with anything similar, but they do have another weapon in their back pocket: the National Popular Vote interstate compact, an agreement among states to award all their electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote nationwide. If states with more than half of all electoral votes sign up for this, it goes into effect."

What Is the Future of Conservatism? (Peter Wehner) from Commentary Magazine
"Every political movement, including conservatism, faces the danger of elevating certain policies into catechisms and failing to take into account new circumstances. When that occurs, we lose the capacity to correct ourselves."

Several responses to Wehner's piece:
Good Luck With That, Peter Wehner (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast 
"Conservatism needs people like Wehner to write big cover stories for Commentary on, for example, Why We Need to Stop Listening to Rush Limbaugh. It follows completely from what he argues here, after all. It would certainly get attention."

The Five-headed Future of Conservative Thought (Damon Linker) from The Week
"One place to look for signs is a symposium in the January issue of Commentary magazine on the future of conservatism in the wake of the 2012 election. No fewer than 53 intellectuals, pundits, and strategists weigh in. Should liberals be worried? To judge from the current thinking of their ideological adversaries, the answer is no. Or rather: Not yet."

Why Pundits Should Stop Blaming 'the Media' (Ryu Spaeth) from The Week 
"The media is treated like a monolithic entity — and its top critics are often card-carrying members. ... Krauthammer speaks of the media and the commentariat as if he didn't belong to them, when in fact he is using one of the country's largest print and internet platforms to make his argument. ... In other words, a very large chunk of the media, including Krauthammer, has pegged Obama as a crypto-socialist for the past four years."

Alexandria the Great (G. Willow Wilson) from Newsweek
"An ancient city that's alive once more with books."

Mud, Blood and Terror: The Brutality of the Vietnam War Captured in Harrowing Images from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"LIFE magazine war photographer, Larry Burrows, covered the fighting on the front lines during the Vietnam War and is now being remembered for his extraordinary work as the 41 year anniversary of his death approaches.  Mr Burrows captured the compelling images of Operation Prairie, the U.S. offensive against the North Vietnamese near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), that lasted from August 3 to October 27, 1966."

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