Friday, February 22, 2013

News Nuggets 1189

DAYLEE PICTURE: The Cuckoo Wasp in Italy.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Pope Benedict Retired After Inquiry into 'Vatican Gay Officials', says paper from the Guardian [of the UK]
"Pope's staff decline to confirm or deny La Repubblica claims linking 'Vatileaks' affair and discovery of 'blackmailed gay clergy'"

Iran Is Still Botching the Bomb (Jacques E. C. Hymans) from Foreign Affairs
"It is Time for Israel and the United States To Stop Overreacting. ... Rather than being hampered by James Bond exploits, Iran's nuclear program has probably suffered much more from Keystone Kops-like blunders: mistaken technical choices and poor implementation by the Iranian nuclear
establishment. There is ample reason to believe that such slipups have been the main cause of Iran's extremely slow pace of nuclear progress all along."

Iran Can’t Agree to a Damn Thing (Patrick Clawson) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Let's face it: The Islamic Republic is just too dysfunctional to cut a nuclear deal."

Republican Strategists Doubt Wisdom Of Hammering Obama Over Benghazi from the Huffington Post
"I missed the meeting among Republicans where it was decided this would become an angry cause célèbre that should be pursued at all costs and with no holds barred," Republican strategist Ed Rogers told NPR. "I think there is Benghazi fatigue -- a lot of conscientious followers of the news that are somewhat bewildered by why this issue has lingered."
When you have nothing, anything becomes everything!

Joe Biden’s Shotgun Approach to Politics Good for Obama Administration (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"Far from being a gaffe, Biden’s ‘buy a shotgun’ comment undercuts the ‘Obama wants your guns’ crowd—and is another example of the vice president’s important role in selling White House policy, says John Avlon."

The Republican Party Needs a Reality Check (Michael Gerson) from the Washington Post
"Republican primary voters, party activists and party leaders have a choice to make, ruthlessly clarified by recent events. They can take the path of Democrats in 1988, doubling down on a faltering ideology. Or they can follow the model of Democrats in 1992 and their own party in 2000, giving their nominee the leeway needed to oppose outworn or extreme ideas and to produce an agenda relevant to our time."
Good idea.  Won't happen.

Why the GOP Needs its Own Bill Clinton (Ryu Spaeth) from The Week
"The party of Reagan could use a figure like Bubba, who shepherded Democrats out of the political wilderness."

The Fading Conservative Brand (Rod Dreher) from the American Conservative 
"My side was losing, but we found it easier to blame the fools who voted for Reagan, or to blame Reagan for being such an accomplished liar, than to examine ourselves and our own beliefs. (When I did begin to do that, my liberalism, which was primarily attitudinal, faded away.) This is pretty much the case with conservatism today, I’m afraid."

Poll: Obama’s Popularity With Latinos Soars After Immigration Push from Talking Points Memo
"President Obama is riding a huge surge in popularity in public opinion surveys among Hispanics, who are overwhelmingly excited about his second-term efforts to pass immigration reform.  Obama’s approval rating stands at 73 percent among Hispanics, a 25-point swing from his low of 48 percent in late 2011."

How Immigration Threatens to Tear the GOP Apart (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake) from the Washington Post
"The Republican political establishment sees immigration reform as a political necessity. Much of the party’s base sees it as the end of the rule of law.  And therein lies the problem for a party trying to pick itself up off the mat following an across-the-board defeat in 2012."

Marco Rubio Is Not Ready for Prime Time (Aaron David Miller) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"If the Florida senator wants to save the Republican Party, he's got to come up with a foreign policy for the real world."

Boehner: Sequester Threatens National Security And Jobs, But I Won’t Stop It (Commentary) from National Memo
"Republicans — by Speaker Boehner’s own admission — are threatening national security and hundreds of thousands of American jobs to protect tax breaks for corporations and the richest Americans who have benefited most from the recovery. If that’s the lesson they learned from the 2012 election, 2014 could be a very good year for Democrats."

Democrats' Economic Narrative Still Trumps GOP's (Stuart Rothenberg) from Roll Call
"Congressional Republicans figured that after the fiscal cliff, they’d have the advantage talking about the sequester and, down the road, the continued funding of the government. Clearly, they were wrong."

Why Obama is Rising in the Polls — and Republicans Aren't (Harold Maass) from The Week
"A Bloomberg poll puts the president's approval numbers at a three-year high, while GOP leaders are at a three-year low.  ... This poll suggests the GOP isn't just wrong, its understanding of public attitudes is the exact opposite of reality. The public is prepared to hold Republicans responsible for this self-inflicted wound that will undermine the economy, the military, and public needs. The one thing the GOP is counting on — avoiding blame at all costs — is already failing miserably. "

Ann Coulter Lashes Out At Republicans And Latinos Over Immigration Reform from the Huffington Post 
I usually ignore Coulter because she is such an incendiary political ambulance chaser -- but here I think she unintentionally says what many average GOP voters think -- and she showcases why all talk of Republicans wooing the Latino vote is so much empty rhetoric.  Most Latinos got Coulter's message long ago.
"Ann Coulter has given up on the Latino vote. In an opinion piece riddled with errors and unattributed statistics, the conservative columnist lashed out at Republicans working to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, saying that Latinos will never vote for the GOP because they are too poor and government-dependent."

The Most Underrated (and Overrated) Presidents! (Chris Cillizza) from the Washington Post
"In honor of President’s Day earlier this week, we asked Fixistas to give us their nominees for the most underrated and overrated presidents in history — and why."
I agreed with most of the under-rated examples (exception: John Tyler) - and disagreed with all of the over-rated examples.  The problem with these kinds of public nomination assessments is they reflect so much how ignorant most Americans are of their own history.  Of course Washington, Jefferson and FDR look over-rated -- if you are clueless about what they actually accomplished!

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