DAYLEE PICTURE: A white tiger at Six Flags in Valego, California.
From Eldad Hagar of Hope for Paws.
The Scars of the U.S. War in Iraq (Robert Nolan) from US News and World Report
"Insiders note the report offers a scathing criticism of CIA interrogation programs like those portrayed in the film Zero Dark Thirty revealing a pattern of failure to disclose details or grossly distorting the success of the program. If Zero Dark Thirty's performance at the Oscars is any indication—it was nominated but failed to win in any major categories—the American public doesn't care much to discuss the uncomfortable lessons of our involvement in Iraq over the past decade."
Using Magic to Turn Russia Into a Superpower (Alexander Golts) from the Moscow Times [of Russia in English]
"The only real way to fulfill Putin's order is if the Defense Ministry fudged the numbers. That would explain why the ministry reacted favorably to the announcement by several college presidents that they agree to let students do a three-month stint in the army without interrupting their studies. Putin's other requirements for the military would also take a miracle to fulfill."
U.S. Need for Foreign Oil Falls Dramatically from the International Institute for Strategic Studies
"Over the last seven years, the United States has dramatically reduced its dependence on oil imports. From their peak in 2006, imports have fallen 40% as a result of declining demand (see Figure 1) and strong growth in domestic production of liquid fuels, leading to predictions that the US could reach oil self-sufficiency within 15-20 years."
The Market Speaks (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"Even a casual trawl through the headlines of  turns up one dire pronouncement after another [about Obama's economic policies]. ... So what the bad predictions tell us is that we are, in effect, dealing with priests who demand human sacrifices to appease their angry gods — but who actually have no insight whatsoever into what those gods actually want, and are simply projecting their own preferences onto the alleged mind of the market. What, then, are the markets actually telling us?"
Gay Marriage and Christian Imagination (Peter J. Leithart) from First Things
This sounds like it was a real great debate!
"Andrew Sullivan demanded that Wilson defend his position with secular, civil arguments, not theocratic ones, and in this demand Sullivan has the support of liberal polity. Sullivan’s is a rigid standard for public discourse that leaves biblically-grounded Christians with little to say. ... Whatever the political needs of the moment, the longer-term response to gay marriage requires a renaissance of Christian imagination. Because the only arguments we have are theological ones, and only people whose imaginations are formed by Scripture will find them cogent."
It’s Not Just Dinner: Why Obama’s Meetups Really Matter in Washington (Eleanor Clift) from the Daily Beast
"A sudden flurry in casual meetings with Republican leaders was unthinkable at this White House. But this week’s sitdowns could open a whole new chapter for this president."
"At this White House ..." Clift (like so many) forgets that during his first months in office, Obama was doing exactly what he's doing now -- and got only contempt from the GOP and its media minions. I think Eleanor is being very "old school" in her views here. There is a part of me that wishes that she was right and that personal relationships could actually overcome the deep partisanship that has gripped Washington. I'm quite skeptical. The following item I think is more grounded in the current reality.
Dems Settle in for War of Attrition Against GOP (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Democrats are increasingly pessimistic about forcing real concessions from Republicans in the near term — for example, by using the threat of a government shutdown to force them back to the table — and are instead settling in for what will amount to a months-long war of attrition in hopes of ultimately getting Republicans to cave on new revenues."
The Moral and Economic Benefits of Compassionate Conservatism (Matt K. Lewis) from The Week
"I have already presented several reasons to explain the trend toward a more libertarian brand of conservatism, but there is an obvious if simpler explanation: Conservatives are reflexively seeking to become the opposite of Barack Obama. If Obama wants collectivism, then the opposite of that isn't responsible and voluntary communitarianism, but radical individualism. If Obama wants to redistribute wealth via government, then the opposite of that isn't to encourage private charity, but to flaunt the virtues of selfishness."
The Brewing GOP Civil War Over National Security (Ryu Spaeth) from The Week
"A day after Rand Paul spoke out against drones, two of his Republican colleagues smack him down."
Rand Paul’s Drone Filibuster Sparks GOP Civil War from Talking Points Memo
"Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) epic 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan for CIA director finally came to an amicable resolution Thursday, but not before sparking a battle within the Republican Party hierarchy — the latest in a series of internal struggles the party has faced since the election."
How Is the GOP Out of Touch? Let Me Count the Ways (Brad Bannon) from US News and World Report
"At the surrender ceremony after the British defeat at Yorktown in 1781, the British band played “The World Turned Upside Down.” Republicans, like the British, will realize that America has changed only after they lost the battle and the war. A new generation of selfless voters, the
millennials have replaced the baby boomers as the focus of American politics but Republicans are stuck in a time warp in the 1980s."
PRES-2016: Hispanic Voters Vastly Prefer Hillary Clinton Over Marco Rubio (Dan Amira) from New York Magazine
"According to a (caveat: very, very early) Quinnipiac poll, 60 percent of Hispanic voters would support Clinton in 2016, compared to a mere 24 percent for Rubio."
GOV-2014: Governorships a Big Opportunity for Democrats in 2014 (Stuart Rothenberg) from Roll Call
"Republicans like to point out that while they lost the presidency and seats in both chambers of Congress in 2012, their party continues to hold governorships in 30 states, including nine of the country’s 12 largest states. But most of those governors — 23 to be exact — were elected in 2010, a great GOP year that doesn’t reflect the nation’s (or many states’) political fundamentals."
HOLLYWOOD PHOTO NUGGET!!
Before it was Tinseltown: Vintage Pictures from 100 Years Ago Show the Sleepy Town of Hollywood Before it Became the Centre of the Showbiz Universe from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Before the film industry took root in Southern California, the area that would became known as Tinseltown was nothing more than a village outside the growing city of Los Angeles."
IRREVERENT CATHOLIC NUGGET!!
Some may find this video parody to be offensive. I find it pretty funny!
The Vatican as the TV Show Dallas (Video) from YouTube via AmericaBlog
Pictures: Extinct Species That Could Be Brought Back from National Geographic
""People were painting pictures of woolly mammoths in caves in France 35,000 years ago, so we have this amazing history with them," Poinar said."
ANOTHER PREHISTORIC NUGGET!!
Species Revival: Should We Bring Back Extinct Animals? from National Geographic
"Scientists are debating whether to bring back vanished species."
A Tasmanian Tiger, extinct since the early 20th century.