DAYLEE PICTURE: The Giant Locust from southern Madagascar. From the Daily Mail of the UK.
UP-FRONT PUNDIT NUGGET!!
The Ignorance Caucus (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.” And such is the influence of what we might call the ignorance caucus that even when giving a speech intended to demonstrate his openness to new ideas, Mr. Cantor felt obliged to give that caucus a shout-out, calling for a complete end to federal funding of social science research. Because it’s surely a waste of money seeking to understand the society we’re trying to change."
Saddam and the US Failed, so Why Should Maliki Think He Can Control Iraq by Force? (Patrick Cockburn) from the Independent [of the UK]
"World View: The Prime Minister may have electoral legitimacy, but the Sunni revolt against his government is growing in strength."
Fascism Mounts a Comeback in Italy (Paul Ames) from Salon
"Mussolini has always had a loyal following among the far-right fringe in post-War War II Italy. But now, even many ordinary Italians are defending the father of Fascism as a good leader with sound social policies and a knack for making trains run on time. Later, they say, he was led astray by Hitler and pressured to imposing the anti-Jewish 1938 Laws for the Defense of the Race."
Who Will Be Next Pope After Pope Benedict XVI's Resignation? from the Huffington Post
"Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi confirmed that the College of Cardinals will meet to elect the next pope some time in March, according to CNN. A new pope is expected to be in position by Easter on March 31. There are 118 electors eligible to vote for Benedict's successor as of January 2013, according to USA Today. Italy has the most cardinal-electors at 28, and the United States follows with 11. Some are already offering their guesses on who will be the next pope."
Who Will Be the Next Pope? Let the Speculation Begin! (Abby Ohlheiser) from Slate
"... expect plenty of speculation (of both the informed and uninformed varities) to come pouring in about who Benedict's successor will be. So who are among the early favorites?"
Last Pope to Resign Did So in Midst of Vatican Leadership Crisis from the New York Times
"The last pope to resign, Gregory XII, did so in 1415, 10 years into his tenure, in the midst of a leadership crisis in the church known as the Great Western Schism. Three rival popes had been selected by separate factions of the church, and a group of bishops called the Council of Constance were trying to heal the schism."
Obama Weighing Executive Actions on Housing, Gays and other Issues from the Washington Post
"President Obama is considering a series of new executive actions aimed at working around a recalcitrant Congress, including policies that could allow struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages, provide new protections for gays and lesbians, make buildings more energy-efficient and toughen regulations for coal-fired power plants,..."
Obama's State of the Union: Aggressive (Glenn Thrush) from Politico
"President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech will be less a presidential olive branch than a congressional cattle prod."
Obama Prepares To Screw GOP Base (Brian Beutler) from Talking Points Memo
"By the same logic, Democrats have been “screwing” young people for almost 50 years, by requiring workers to finance Medicare spending. Likewise, on closer inspection, the ACA is an even more devastating blow to young men than to young women, because it ends gender rating and thus represents an enormous transfer of wealth from men to women. And yet young people, like almost all people, are huge fans of Medicare, and I predict they’ll be big fans of the ACA, too."
GOP’s Campaign Against Chuck Hagel Amounts to Political Farce (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast
"Sen. Lindsey Graham’s decision to link delaying action on the defense secretary nominee to Benghazi is rock bottom in the Republicans’ campaign against Hagel—which is fundamentally unserious and petty, says Peter Beinart."
The Five Stages of Republican Grief (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"“We’ve had a period of this movement at the grass-roots level, call it Tea Party or something else, and it seems to me we’re seeing the normal progression of a grass-roots populist movement,” said Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota. “It ran out of control for a few years — that’s why we call it a movement rather than an organization. But it’s receding a bit now. That’s allowing natural leaders to reassert themselves, and institutional forces to reassert themselves.” Just don’t call this process moderation."
Republicans Push Back as Rove Aims to Appoint Himself Kingmaker (Lloyd Green) from the Daily Beast
"Rove’s latest plan to return the GOP from the political wilds is infuriating base Republicans. ... Rove has met with denunciation by the Tea Party, and this intraparty conflict stems from what the Republican Party is and who Rove is not. One thing is certain: he is not Chuck Schumer, and that is a problem for both Rove and his party. ... In their eyes, Rove is more Wizard of Oz than Architect, more profiteer than player. They might add that he is no Chuck Schumer."
Karl Rove's Latest Project Won't Solve the GOP's Problem (Nate Cohn) from the New Republic
"So long as GOP primary voters prefer ultraconservatives to party-approved candidates, it's hard to imagine that Rove's millions will make a discernible difference—especially if his organization triggers counterattacks from conservative donors, which may well be in the planning stages already."
The GOP “Civil War” is Going to Make Both Sides Rich (Alex Pareene) from Salon
"Karl Rove and the conservative movement's never-ending gravy train."
New Rove Group Could Backfire on G.O.P. (Nate Silver) from the New York Times
"An analysis of Republican Senate primaries in 2010 and 2012 suggests that money is usually the least pressing problem for the incumbents and other establishment-backed candidates whom Mr. Rove’s group might be inclined to support. Instead, some insurgent candidates won their races despite having been at more than a 10-to-1 fund-raising disadvantage heading into the primary."
MULTIPLE CAVITIES NUGGET!!
Meet Kickstart: Mountain Dew’s Breakfast Soda from Salon
"Ever want to "Do the Dew" before lunch? You're in luck: PepsiCo's new morning drink is set to launch this month."
Mmm mmm!! Just what every growing boy needs! A sugary energy drink to displace the OJ or the whole milk!! Yum yum!