Monday, January 28, 2013

News Nuggets 1166

DAYLEE PICTURE: An aerial view of the Fordow nuclear facility near Qom in Iran.  From the Daily Telegraph of the UK.

Mystery Over 'Explosion' at Iran's Fordow Nuclear Site from the Daily Telegraph [of the UK]
"Israeli and Iranian officials have both failed to explain the mystery of a reported explosion said to have rocked the notoriously impregnable Fordow nuclear site in Iran."

Ex-CIA Man: Iran Blast Largest Sabotage in Decades from the Jerusalem Post [of Israel in English]
"Iranian dissident-turned CIA operative Reza Kahlili told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that an alleged blast at the Fordow nuclear installation in Iran is "the largest case of sabotage in decades." Although it has not yet been verified, a report by  Kahlili, according to which a massive blast rocked Iran's key Fordow nuclear installation last week, continued to spread on Monday."

Iran Denies Mystery Explosion at Fordow Facility from the Jerusalem Post [of Israel in English]
"According to former Iranian Revolutionary Guard report, explosion at Fordow destroyed much of the instillation; remains unverified."
Those who follow this blog know that this is not the first time of reports like this one -- and that denial and silence are the standard Iranian response. Whether this is a bombing strike, sabotage (as the JPost suggests above) or an accident is unclear.  Based on my reading of the Stuxnet centrifuges sabotage from 2010, I think the latter two possibilities (or a combination of the two) are the more likely. Indeed, I suspect that Iran's nuclear program is shot through with intelligence leaks, corrupted software, and deliberately maladjusted hardware that any attempt by Iran to bring their program to the next level could cause explosions -- as I think happened in 2011 and perhaps at other times.  I'm confident Obama and his team have a pretty good sense of what's gone down.  We shall see. 

In N. Africa Terror Battle, U.S. Should Lead From Way Behind (Blake Hounshell) from CNN
"The hearings should have been more substantive because the United States is at a dangerous inflection point in North Africa and the Sahel region to its south, and leaders in both parties need to think carefully about how deeply we want to get involved in this volatile part of the world."

A Book Review of ‘The Insurgents’ by Fred Kaplan (Thanassis Cabanis) from the New York Times
"“The Insurgents,” by Fred Kaplan, tells the story of David H. Petraeus and the small fraternity of strategists that changed the way America conceived of, and actually fought, war."

Barack and Hillary: Before a Departure, a Rare Joint Interview from the New York Times 
"As for any residual bad feelings, they said it had taken their aides longer to get over it than it had taken them. “What did evolve was a friendship, as opposed to just a professional relationship,” Mr. Obama said. “Friendships involve a sense of trust and being in the foxhole together. And that emerged during the course of months when we were making some very tough decisions.”"

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s Lovefest on ‘60 Minutes’ (Lauren Ashburn) from the Daily Beast
"The president and his outgoing secretary of state were so laudatory of each other on the CBS news program that they were practically cuddling. Lauren Ashburn on the polishing of Hillary’s image—perhaps for 2016. Plus, watch the best moments."

Obama Spending Binge Never Happened (Rex Nutting) from the Wall Street Journal
"Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true. But it didn’t happen. "

Catholicism’s Curse (Frank Bruni) from the New York Times
"Roman Catholic leaders pay too much heed to insulating, justifying and protecting their priesthood and themselves."

Three Strategies to Block the Gerrymandering of the Electoral College (John Nichols) from the Nation
"So can Priebus be stopped? It’s possible. But democracy advocates need to move fast, and smart. What to do?"

Makers, Takers, Fakers (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
" Their proposals for a makeover all involve changing the sales pitch rather than the product. When it comes to substance, the G.O.P. is more committed than ever to policies that take from most Americans and give to a wealthy handful."

What Should the Republican Party Stand For? (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic 
"GOP leaders don't just want to be the party of "no" -- but they have a hard time articulating what they want to say "yes" to."

GOP Digital Divide May Take Years to Bridge from Politico
"Republicans are running a 1.0 digital ground game operation in a 3.0 world — and they know it. At their recent leadership retreat, Chairman Reince Priebus and others sounded the bell for closing the vast
technological divide that made all the difference for Democrats in getting out the vote last fall in numbers that stunned the pundit class."
I doubt it will take nearly as long as this article suggests.  You don't need nearly as much grass roots activism or engagement when you have endless amounts of cash and can hire some high-priced consulting firms to do the intensive leg work for you.  Look for such firms to spring up like weeds after this last election; they'll be promising that, given enough money, they can replicate what Obama's team did for GOP lawmakers or their well-heeled backers.

The Hitler Home Movies: How Eva Braun Documented the Dictator’s Private Life (Robert McCrum) from Raw Story
"It’s hard, now, to appreciate how little was known of Hitler’s mistress in the 1950s and 60s. It was Becker’s research that would change the world’s perception of the Führer and the Aryan wife (Braun married Hitler the day before their suicide) who died at his side in the bunker."

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