Saturday, February 2, 2013

News Nuggets 1171

DAYLEE PICTURE: Construction of the Second Avenue subway line in Manhattan continues apace. Here's the story.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

The Force: How Much Military is Enough? (Jill Lepore) from the New Yorker 
"The long history of military spending in the United States begins with the establishment of the War Department, in 1789. ... On September 8, 2011, when Buck McKeon convened the first of his House Armed Services Committee hearings on the future of the military, no one much disputed the idea that the manifest destiny of the United States is to patrol the world. ... To a degree without precedent in U.S. history, Americans have come to define the nation’s strength and well-being in terms of military preparedness, military action, and the fostering of (or nostalgia for) military ideals.”

If the Chinese Dragon is So Mighty, Why is it Trembling Inside? (Jonathan Freedland) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"Beijing's alleged hacking of the New York Times is a sign of both the regime's huge power – and its fear of a Chinese spring."

Iran’s Space Monkey Triumph Exposed as a Fake from the Times of London 
How pathetic!  Talk about amateur hour in the propaganda ministry!
"Iran enjoyed rare triumph on Monday — the successful launch of a monkey into space. The regime proclaimed it as proof that Iranian scientists could match their Western counterparts, evidence that international sanctions were ineffectual, and a stepping stone to a manned flight. ...  The problem is that the flight may not actually have taken place."

France on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Robert Zaretsky) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Think Americans hate their politicians? The moody French are disgusted -- and looking for a new de Gaulle. ... Nearly nine out of 10 respondents lament the absence of "authority" in France and think that the country needs a "vrai chef," or real leader, to "re-establish order." "
No surprise.  As I have noted here many times, the failure of western European leaders to grasp the essential political lessons of the 1930s is (in my view predictably) producing the rise of a few fascist sentiment.  The longer authorities there cling to hyper-austerity as an economic cure-all, the more damage democracy itself will sustain as it fails month after month to deal with people's central concern: simple employment.

Need some more evidence?  See this:
"In a special investigation, Nathalie Savaricas reveals the tactics used to recruit children to its far-right political beliefs."

Obama's Bad-Cop Act is Working (Jill Lawrence) from the National Journal 
"The president's second-term demeanor is annoying the GOP. But it's playing fine outside the Beltway."

Why Obama Is Giving Up on Right-Leaning Whites (Ronald Brownstein) from National Journal
"For decades, Democrats shaped their policies around fears of the culturally conservative white voters to the GOP. But Obama’s winning coalition has altered that calculus."

Can a Realist Be a Republican? (Daniel McCarthy) from the American Conservative
"Nuance and consensus are hallmarks of Chuck Hagel's school of thought—and antithetical to the Tea Party GOP."

Chuck Hagel was Bad. And it Doesn’t Matter (Chris Cillizza) from the Washington Post
"...lots of other Republicans won’t vote for Hagel. Fifty (or one or two more) of the 55 Democrats in the Senate will back him. And, this forgettable performance aside, Chuck Hagel will be the next Secretary of Defense."

Gun Extremists' Alternate Reality (Paul Waldman) from CNN
"Your average gun owner may think that's crazy, but it's the world some extreme gun advocates -- including those with great influence in Congress -- inhabit, where laws should be written not with the reality of Americans' lives and deaths in mind, but according to the most horrible fantasies anyone can conjure."

The GOP Discovers PC (Garance Franke-Ruta) from the Atlantic
"Decades after the left and Democrats went through wrenching debates about language and respect, the Republican Party is struggling to rein in its sharper tongues."

Republican Fear Factor Drives Immigration Reform (David Horsey) from the Los Angeles Times
"A glimpse of political oblivion has suddenly inspired at least some Republicans to push for comprehensive immigration reform.  ... Maddow is smiling and gleeful, Limbaugh is angry and red faced, but for once, they agree on something: Even if Republicans support an immigration reform bill, Latinos are not going to become instant conservatives."

Goodbye to the Scott Brown Era (Alec MacGillis) from New Republic
"The blue state Tea Party was short—and traumatic.  "

It’s Still Jon Huntsman’s Moment (Leon Hadar) from the American Conservative
Not.  I guess one could call this a GOP Wishful Thinking Nugget!!
"Republicans don't need a grand transformation, just a sensible candidate."
Huntsman, by and large, IS a sensible candidate.  In my view, it is precisely why he didn't catch on in 2012.  I still think he was the ONLY candidate who ran in the GOP primaries who had a real chance of beating Obama in the general election.  The fact that he never garnered more than 2-3% and often never got to 1% showcases perfectly why the Republicans are poised to spend some years in the wilderness.  Huntsman was the only candidate remotely connected with reality.

The 'Kindly' Auschwitz Commander who Sent Youngsters to Gas Chambers then Went Home to Play Hide and Seek with his Children from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A new book uses testimonies from women who worked in homes of SS officers. Reveals 'ordinary lives' of men responsible for mass murder."

For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II (Mike Dash) from the Smithsonian
"In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, lost in the taiga."

One Small Hut for Man: European Space Agency Unveils Plans for Mankind's First Habitable MOON BASE... Built Almost Entirely Out of Lunar Soil by Robots from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Blueprints for mankind's first habitable lunar base were unveiled today... and it will be build by robots almost entirely out of 'Moon soil'.  The outpost, designed by the European Space Agency, will be built using state-of-the-art 3D printing technology to transform raw lunar soil into livable domes."

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