DAYLEE PICTURE: The Solheimajokul Glacier in Iceland. From the Daily Mail of the UK.
UP-FRONT IRAQ WAR NUGGET!!
Govt Report: We Wasted a Ton of Money in Iraq from the Associated Press via Talking Points Memo
"Ten years and $60 billion in American taxpayer funds later, Iraq is still so unstable and broken that even its leaders question whether U.S. efforts to rebuild the war-torn nation were worth the cost. In his final report to Congress, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen’s conclusion was all too clear: Since the invasion a decade ago this month, the U.S. has spent too much money in Iraq for too few results."
The Real Radicals of the Iraq War: Its Proponents (Conor Friedersdorf) from the Atlantic
"Compare a huge anti-war rally with a few "Bush = Hitler" signs to what mainstream conservative writers were saying."
Why Being So Right Feels So Bad on Iraq (Peter Van Buren) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Why did it take the State Department 10 years and billions of dollars to figure out that Iraq reconstruction was a massive failure?"
Jobs to Fill, Employers Wait for Perfection from the New York Times
"American employers have a variety of job vacancies, piles of cash and countless well-qualified candidates. But despite a slowly improving economy, many companies remain reluctant to actually hire, stringing job applicants along for weeks or months before they make a decision. If they ever do."
GOP Antics Will Not Damage Obama One Bit (Jonathan Bernstein) from Salon
"Partisan shots and mini-controversies rarely make a dent. To hurt Obama, the GOP will need a lot more than that."
A Great Day for the Filibuster, and for Filibuster Reform (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"I wish filibuster reform would occur as part of a calm, bipartisan effort to fix the Senate. But I think the likelier process looks like what’s happened over these last few days — but on steroids."
GOP Smackdown: Wonks vs. Pols from Politico
"The latest front in the battle for the future of the Republican Party: the wonks versus the pols. Conservative thinkers are increasingly agitated that, four months after a second straight presidential drubbing, GOP officeholders are not taking bold steps to bring a 1980s-style Republican platform into the 21st century.""
Politicians Massively Overestimate Conservatism Of Constituents: Study from the Huffington Post
"Politicians, especially conservative ones, massively overestimate the conservatism of their constituents on the issues of gay marriage and universal health care, an academic paper published Sunday has found."
Do Conservatives Actually Want to Win Elections? (Ramesh Ponnuru) from Bloomberg News Service
"People who want to see American politics take a turn to the right, and a few who don’t, have been giving a lot of advice to conservatives lately. Move this way on the social issues; move that way on economics; get more technology-savvy. You’ve heard it all, sometimes from me. Maybe all this advice is based on a false premise. We’ve been assuming that conservatives want to start winning political and policy victories again. But a few news items from last week suggest that many of them have different priorities."
The Politics of Purity: As Republicans Argue About 2012’s Primaries, They are Really Debating their Future from the Economist [of the UK]
"There is breathless talk of civil war as each side blames the other for losing races that were in the party’s grasp. Actually, it is worse than that. The warring factions (mostly) agree that losing is bad. Their big dispute is over the Republicans who win elections."
Are Republicans the New Democrats? (Andrew Romano) from the Daily Beast
"Who would have guessed last year that the GOP would be endorsing a litany of previously unthinkable positions? Elections have consequences, and this time, an identity crisis seems to be one of them."
Radical-right Wing Groups Reach All Time High (Alex Seitz-Wald) from Salon
"There are now more conspiracy-minded Patriot groups than at the height of the militia movement in the 1990s."
What the Washington Post Didn't Tell You About the Daily Caller's Senate Sex Story (Adam Weinstein) from Mother Jones Magazine
"In its November story, the Caller reported that the two women were represented by attorney Melanio Figueroa, but provided no details about this lawyer. And the Washington Post report did not mention him by name. Yet Figueroa does have a public profile. He was once an aide to a former president of the Dominican Republic whom Menendez had publicly criticized. This raises an obvious question: Was the Caller drawn into an a politically motivated scheme?"
Welcome to Life as a Potential Presidential Candidate! (Chuck Todd) from NBC News
"Here’s something to remember about Bush: He hasn’t run a race since 2002 (before Facebook, Twitter, and more partisan media). And the backlash he’s received in the past 24 hours could either convince him that he doesn’t have the stomach for a run, or it could steel him for what to expect over the next three and a half years."
The Mighty Jeb Bush Comes Down to Earth (Beth Reinhard) from the National Journal
"Bush's waffling on immigration has stunned reformers, frustrated his friends, and left Democrats relishing the PR disaster."
FL-GOV: Anger and Kudos as Florida Governor Tacks Left from New York Times
"Facing stubbornly low approval ratings, Mr. Scott has crisscrossed the state advertising his enthusiasm for education, state workers, highways, commuter rails, early voting, the disabled, environmental protection and jobs."
Camelot in Tokyo: Can Caroline Kennedy Shake Up Japan’s Sexist Politics? (Coco Masters) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"The buzz surrounding the nomination is still largely speculative. But with Bloomberg having set the pace, Japanese news media from MSN Sankei News to NHK now have a catalyst for contemplation. One headline reads: "Is Kennedy's Daughter a Japanophile?" The rumor does raise interesting questions about what Kennedy -- as a global celebrity, the first woman in the role, and an education advocate -- could signify for Japan."