The Cool War (David Rothkopf) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Cold War technology made war unthinkable. Cool War technology makes it irresistible."
Revealed: al-Qaeda's 22 Tips for Dodging Drones from the Daily Telegraph [of the UK]
"Al-Qaeda's list of 22 tips for dodging drone attacks - including at least one believed to originate with Osama bin Laden - has been found hidden inside a manila envelope in a building abandoned by Islamists in Mali."
Did a Secret Vatican Report on Gay Sex and Blackmail Bring Down the Pope? from the Atlantic
"... according to the major Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the real reason he resigned is because he did not want to deal the repercussions of a secret 300-page Vatican dossier that allegedly found, among other things, an underground network of high-ranking gay clergy, complete with sex parties and shady dealings with the already scandal-ridden Vatican bank. Here's what we know:"
Infused with New Confidence, Obama Takes No Prisoners (Gerardo Morina) from the Corriere Del Ticino [of Switzerland in English]
"His re-election for a second term has infused Barack Obama with confidence. In less than four years, the president leaves the White House. He could from now on adopt the gait of a lame duck. After all, he never has to win the consent of the voters again. ... But his agenda is ambitious, and Obama will defend it with the air of one who has decided to attack and is able to look beyond the politics of the moment."
For Obama Team, Calm, Not Crisis, in Latest Fiscal Battle from the New York Times
"President Obama is just seven days away from the first big test of his second term, as deep spending cuts loom."
Democrats Find Sequester Advantage In GOP Intransigence (Michael McAuliff) from the Huffington Post
"In a memo sent Friday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee argued that "Tea Party House Republicans are determined to drive the country over the sequester cliff, and their rigid ideology will not only kill more than a million jobs, but will do even more damage to an already imperiled Republican brand.""
Sequester Showdown (Michael Scherer) from Time Magazine
"Talking to Republicans and Democrats drafting strategy, there is a clear difference in morale. Republicans are fighting a battle they never wanted to be fighting, with little momentum, a smaller soap box and the most fragile unity within their own caucus. Obama and the Democrats, by contrast, feel ascendent, buttressed by high polls and a recent ballot box win, and are ready to mark what they will believe to be the next body blow to the Republican no-new-taxes-ever vision of shrink-the-beast governing."
Governors Fall Away in G.O.P. Fight Against More Medicaid from the New York Times
"After vigorous lobbying by the health industry, seven Republican governors are moving to accept federal funds under the health care law to add medical coverage for more low-income people."
GOP Governors Make Peace with Obamacare (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"“It is not a white flag of surrender,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. This was technically true: Scott did not wave a banner of any color when he announced Wednesday that he wants Florida to expand Medicaid, a key piece of Obamacare. But make no mistake: Scott, a tea party Republican and outspoken critic of the law, was laying down arms in defeat."
Organizing for Action Targets GOP Lawmakers in First Ad Buy from the Los Angeles Times
"The online ad buy, which cost close to six figures, is the first such campaign by Organizing for Action, the month-old advocacy group formed by top advisors to President Obama to build momentum for his legislative agenda. The ads are going live the same day as the group launches its first national mobilization, a so-called day of action featuring 100 events around the country aimed at demonstrating support for Obama’s gun violence reduction plan."
The Obama people here are engaging in an interesting experimet. Executive branch targeting of specific lawmakers has a poor track record of producing results -- HOWEVER, given the unprecedented results Team Obama got from these same folks in the last election, I'm paying more attention to see if there is anything substantively different in this effort. There might be. At minimum, I suspect that OFA will succeed in cementing the youth vote and other constituencies that OFA's microtargeting were able to tap into in 2012 but that the GOP largely missed. Thus, at least this approach could easily yield some potential long-term lasting gains at the grassroots level.
Deluded Republican Reformers (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"Conservative pundits’ ideas about fixing the GOP are totally meaningless, says Michael Tomasky, until they deal with the problem of their party’s rage-driven fanaticism."
Texas GOP Chair: State Could Be In Play In 2016 If Hillary Runs from Talking Points Memo
"It's been more than three decades since Texas went blue in a presidential election, but a top Republican there fears that the GOP may not have the state's 38 electoral votes in the bag in 2016 if Hillary Clinton is at the top of the Democratic ticket."
Conservative Group Calls for End of Arpaio Recall. Threatens Lawsuit. Ha Ha Ha! (Mother Maggs) from Daily Kos
"They should be worried, which is why they're pulling out the legal mumbo-jumbo to squelch the recall effort. First they argue that it's unconstitutional to recall Sheriff Arpaio because he hasn't done anything wrong. There are "no valid reasons," they say. I'll let that sink in for a minute. No, nothing wrong. Only crime, cronyism and political vendettas."
American Star Power Still Rules the Globe (Richard Wike) from CNN
"Surveys consistently show that movies – and more broadly, American popular culture – are a strong suit of U.S. soft power. And, while studio executives spend considerably more time thinking about box office returns than public diplomacy, Tinseltown is actually pretty effective at nudging America’s international image in a positive direction. ... And it’s not just Europe – about seven-in-ten of those surveyed in Japan, Brazil, and Mexico, for example, say they enjoy U.S. movies, music, and television. In nearly all countries included in the survey, America’s pop culture is especially attractive to young people. For instance, a stunning 94 percent of Germans under age 30 like it, while just 47 percent of those 50 and older agreed. Huge age gaps are also found in Russia, France, Britain and elsewhere."
Rush Limbaugh Is “Ashamed” Of His Country For The First Time In His Life (Dorsey Shaw) from Buzz Feed
"The conservative radio star blames insults to his intelligence and a “fear and panic” strategy rolled out by Democrats, Republicans and the media in response to proposed spending cuts."
Time for a snide rejoinder: What's good for the goose is good for the gander: you don't like it here, why don't you go and check out some of those small government wonderlands like Somalia or Ethiopia ... or better yet that model of right-wing reconstruction Iraq? You can send us a podcaste once in a while.
The Most Breathtaking Pictures Yet of Russian Meteorite: Photographer Captured Exploding Space Rock on Camera... Despite Thinking it was Nuclear Bomb That Would Kill Him from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A professional photographer today told of the moment he feared a nuclear bomb had gone off when the Russian meteorite tore through the sky as he took pictures of an idyllic rural scene.
WASHINGTON DC PHOTO NUGGET!!
What the National Mall Looked Like 150 Years Ago (And Now) from the National Journal
"In the days of Lincoln, the capital city was a sparsely adorned swamp."