How the 1980s Explains Vladimir Putin from the Atlantic
"As the Soviet system disintegrated, the Russian president was a young KGB agent serving in an isolated part of East Germany. Here's how the experience would shape him -- and his country."
The Disastrous Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI (John Cassidy) from the New Yorker
"By setting its face against the modern world in general, and by dragging its feet in response to one of the worst scandals since the Reformation, Benedict’s Vatican has called the Church’s future into question, needlessly alienating countless people around the world who were brought up in its teachings."
How Christopher Dorner Went Down (Christine Pelisek) from the Daily Beast
"Tear gas, high-speed car chases, a slain officer. Christine Pelisek tells the inside story of the last stand of L.A.’s rogue cop—and who started the fire that appears to have killed him."
Obama’s 2024 Strategy (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"It’s true that much of what he called for in his SOTU isn’t going to happen in the next four years. But maybe, says Michael Tomasky, Obama is seeking a different kind of victory."
I Dare You (Jacob Weisberg) from Slate
"Obama knows that and has incorporated the reality of obstructionism into his political strategy. His big speech set what he hopes will become a lose-lose trap for Republican legislators: accede to his agenda, or face his mobilized supporters in 2014."
Most GOP lawmakers don't think much of this threat and given how gerrymandered House districts are these days one can see why they might be complacent. But this complacency might be very misplaced. See this:
Romney’s Pollster Warns GOP Members Not to Count on Six-Year Itch (Daniel Newhauser) from Roll Call
"House Republicans got a refresher course in why they lost the White House this morning and a warning to beware of President Barack Obama’s bully pulpit this election cycle. ... “I kind of emphasized to the members that second midterm elections have never been friendly to the president,” Newhouse said in an interview. “You can’t count on that. That’s not going to happen. We’ve got to realize that the House Republicans are going to be Obama’s top target.”"
Of course, a lingering question one might have from this item might be: given their track record in this last election, why should anyone listen to a Romney pollster?! It's breathtaking how high-priced leaches like Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, and these pollsters never seem to lack for work no matter how consistently wrong their track records.
The NRA's Wayne LaPierre, Unhinged and Unchained (Hunter) from Daily Kos
"In a conspiracy theory-riddled message, LaPierre offers up the newest NRA rationale for why a constant stream of actual gun violence, ... is nothing to worry about. It's because someday, and real soon now, all of government might collapse, and when that happens all the true patriots are going to have to start shooting people."
Republican Leaders Worry Their Party Could Divide in Two (Ron Fournier) from the National Journal
"As Rand Paul mulls a presidential campaign, GOP frets over impact of disaffected voters and shifting coalitions. Democrats should worry, too. Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailMore Sharing Services."
I've often wondered why so few people questioned the development of a SECOND response to Obama's SOTU addresses. Why did anyone consider it necessary for the Tea Party to have their own response verses the standard GOP response? It really makes me wonder about the relationship most Republicans have with their own party.
MUST-READ GOP NUGGET!!
Can the Republicans be Saved From Obsolescence? (Robert Draper) from the Sunday New York Times Magazine
"Jacobson and Spencer have taken up evangelizing — and the sermon, delivered day after day to fellow conservatives in the form of a 61-point presentation, is a pitiless we-told-you-so elucidation of the ways in which Democrats have overwhelmed Republicans with their technological superiority. They walked me through a series of slides showing the wide discrepancies between the two campaigns."
The Grand Old Jurassic Party (Steve Erickson) from the American Prospect
"With its focus on ideological purity, the Republican species is on the brink of extinction. ... The Republican Party will vanish not because of what its says but because of what it believes, not because of how it presents itself but because of who it is when it thinks no one is looking."
Rahm Emanuel May Be Toying With 2016 Presidential Run (Lloyd Grove) from the Daily Beast
"Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel might make a go for 2016, two well-connected Democrats tell Lloyd Grove—as long as Hillary doesn’t. And the potty-mouthed Chicago mayor could win."
Ah, with so many historical barriers being breeched, is another possible? First black president? Done deal. First woman president? First hispanic president? Both easily visible on the near horizon. First president whose every other sentence begins with "f@#k" or some other four-letter expletive? Somehow that may be a bridge too far!
Elizabeth Warren's Quiet Plan for the Senate from Politico
"For a left-leaning icon and national media darling, the role of silent senator is a sharp departure from her rousing campaign and outspoken consumer advocacy. It’s the same tactic used by other first-term senators who entered the chamber to great fanfare, including former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton."
PROGRESSIVE SENATOR NUGGET!!
Elizabeth Warren Embarrasses Hapless Bank Regulators At First Hearing (VIDEO) from the Huffington Post
""There are district attorneys and United States attorneys out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it. I'm really concerned that 'too big to fail' has become 'too big for trial,'" Warren said."
The Rap on Rubio (Maureen Dowd) from the New York Times
"Gotta start makin’ changes, as Tupac says. And Marco Rubio is doing just that as he leads a desperate white, male Republican Party away from country to gangsta."
Joe Arpaio's Teabagger Pals Muster "Shadow Army" Against Recall Effort (w/Update) (Stephen Lemons) from the Phoenix New Times
"So the pro-Joe goobers are holding a meetin' come Saturday to figure out how to organize a "`shadow army' of `shadow warriors'" willing to "stand toe-to-toe" with the "paid progressive socialists ... collecting petition signatures.""
ODD HOTEL NUGGET!!
All Odd Cons: World's Wackiest Hotel Where You Can Spend the Night in a Trojan Horse, a Troll's Lair or Even Sleep with a Mermaid Belgium Hotel Offers Guests a Chance to Unwind in an Imaginary World from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A Belgium enthusiast has created one of the world's weirdest and most wonderful hotels where you can spend the night inside a Trojan horse or even sleep with a mermaid. La Balade Des Gnomes, near the picturesque town of Durbuy, in Belgium, offers guests a unique experience where they can unwind in an imaginary world."