Sunday, March 3, 2013

News Nuggets 1194

DAYLEE PICTURE: Red-banded Poison Dart Frog in Cauca, Columbia.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

How to Win a Cyberwar with China (Dan Blumenthal) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"It's time for the Obama administration to start playing offense, or it might soon have a real war on its hands."

Euro Zone Unemployment Rises to Record (David Jolly) from the New York Times

"The unemployment rate in the euro zone edged up in January to a new record, official data showed Friday, as the ailing European economy continued to weigh on the job market."

The Jobs Picture Is Far Worse Than It Looks (Mort Zuckerman) from US News & World Report
"As in the Great Depression, millions are suffering unemployed—but this time they're invisible. ... the predicament of our times is worse than that, and worse in its way than the 1930s figures might suggest. Employers are either shortening the workweek or asking employees to take unpaid leave in unprecedented numbers. ... Altogether, the broadest measure of unemployment today is approximately 14.5 percent, way above the 7.9 percent headline number you read about."
I think Zuckerman is spot-on with his clear-eyed economic assessment here -- and he is someone I rarely agree with on anything.

How the Aging of America is Hurting the Republican Party (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"Frum’s critique, put simply, is that demographics are destiny for political parties. A party made up of old people will have trouble cutting Medicare, and lo and behold, today’s Republican Party, despite believing Medicare the key cause of our budgetary troubles, is even more protective of its near-term spending than the Democrats. A party so reliant on elderly voters could hardly be otherwise. But demographics don’t just drive political parties. They also drive policy. And what’s striking about Voegeli’s agenda is its distance from the demographic realities driving American policy."

Want to Work in the White House? (Rosa Brooks) from Foreign Policy Magazine

"The unofficial guide to getting a job in the Obama administration."

Beltway Brain Fever: People Who Agree With Obama But Have to Pretend Otherwise (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"Respectable centrist position agrees with Obama’s position. But to agree with one party is not a respectable centrist thing to do. And so a wide stream of coverage and commentary on this issue is dedicated to actively misleading Americans about what the two sides are proposing."
I suspect Chait is on-the-money here with the way the sequester has been covered in the MSM.

Stymied by a GOP House, Obama Looks Ahead to 2014 to Cement his Legacy from the Washington Post
"President Obama, now facing the consequences of automatic spending cuts and the complications they raise for his broader domestic agenda, is taking the most specific steps of his administration in an attempt to ensure the election of a Democratic­controlled Congress in two years."
I saw this pretty clearly shortly after the election.  Obama has concluded (sadly but correctly I think) that his No. 1 priority between now and the end of 2014 has to be taking down the GOP's power in the House.  On the one hand, this is a high risk strategy.  Many Presidents have tried to use their bully pulpit to curb the power of the opposition and to deliver serious electoral damage to them.  Such efforts usually fail.  In addition, the country has SO MANY things that need to be dealt with right now, Obama is taking a high risk that strangely mirrors the position taken by the GOP in early 2009 when Republican lawmakers decided that they would not work with Obama on anything and that their highest priority was to defeat him in 2012.  History does have its examples, though, (Harry Truman).  Moreover, as Jonathan Chait noted some weeks ago, we really have not seen in recent history a party that is chewed up as badly as the GOP was at the polls -- and yet come away choosing to double down on the same strategy and issue set that just lost them the election.  

GOP Creamed in Budget Polls (Howard Kurtz) from the Daily Beast
"In a Washington Post/ABC poll, 67 percent disapprove of the way that Republicans are handling federal spending. Obama’s 52 percent disapproval rating looks better only by comparison. But here’s the killer for the GOP: Fifty-one percent of Republicans deliver a negative verdict on their party’s handling of the spending issue. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, just 29 percent say they agree with what the Republicans want to do in Congress, compared with 45 percent who agree with Obama’s agenda. As for divisiveness, 22 percent say the GOP is trying to unify the country, compared with 48 percent who say that of Obama and 37 percent who hold that view of the Democratic Party." 

Press Corps to Woodward: Really? (Dylan Byers) from Politico
"Since POLITICO published the full email exchange between Woodward and Sperling, journalists from across the political spectrum have voiced skepticism over Woodward's decision to paint himself as the victim of White House pressure."

Chait gets a two-fer today!
What the Hell Happened to Bob Woodward? [Updated] (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"To reconcile Woodward’s journalistic reputation with the weird pettiness of his current role, one has to grasp the distinction between his abilities as a reporter and his abilities as an analyst. Woodward was, and remains, an elite gatherer of facts. But anybody who has seen him commit acts of political commentary on television has witnessed a painful spectacle."
One thing that Chait and other Woodward critics have failed to mention is that Woodward had his political roots as a Republican back in the 1960s -- and, as Chait notes, Woodward, while gathering loads of interesting newsy nuggets in his books on Bush and the Iraq War and Obama and the budget war of 2011, largely missed MANY larger truths about those events.

In Closed-Door Meeting, Cantor Warned of ‘Civil War’ (Katrina Trinko) from National Review

"House majority leader Eric Cantor is increasingly frustrated with a group of House Republicans who are working against the leadership, and he’s not afraid of voicing his dismay. In a closed-door conference meeting on Wednesday, Cantor told one GOP member that if they blocked the
Senate-passed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) from coming to the floor, they’d cause “civil war” in the ranks."

Has Ted Cruz Hit The Tipping Point? (Michael Falcone) from ABC News 

"“Ted’s always been ambitious, he’s always been arrogant,” said one Republican strategist who has known Cruz since before coming to Washington. “I think the honest truth is, he’s doing exactly what he’s said he was going to do when he campaigned.” But keeping his promise has also earned him his share of criticism — and not just from those on the other side of the aisle — from prominent fellow Republicans too."
Ah!  The next Rick Perry!  Got presidential ambitions?  Go for it!!  He'll be just the right ingredient for the 2016 GOP primaries to inflict maximum damage on the likes of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio.

Ann Romney Has Not Gotten Over Losing the Election (Ryu Spaeth) from The Week

""She feels the pain and the what-ifs and the hurt more than" Mitt does, says Fox News host Chris Wallace."

Forensic Exam of King Richard the Lionheart Reveals Embalming Practices from Scientific American

"An analysis of Richard I's heart shows that Christians in the Middle Ages practiced embalming, which the Church has tried to downplay due to its pagan origins."

From Misty Mountains in China and Crater Lake of Oregon to Britain's Green and Pleasant Lands: Dazzling Images in International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition Go on Display from the Daily Mail [of the UK]

These images are amazing!!  Here are just a few.

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