Saturday, March 30, 2013

News Nuggets 1208

DAYLEE PICTURE: A butcher shop in Havana, Cuba.  From National Geographic.

“The State of War” – Kim Jong Un’s Bombastic, and Ominous, Bluster (Gordon G. Chang) from the Daily Beast
"The one-a-day rhetorical blasts suggest something Is terribly wrong in North Korea, writes Gordon G. Chang. ... As he makes threat after threat, Kim is making it more difficult for himself to back down, especially since his regime has, over the course of decades, built its legitimacy on the use of deadly force."

China’s Glass Ceiling (Geoff Dyer) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Sure, the Middle Kingdom is becoming a superpower, but it's always going to be No. 2."

Nice Speech, Mr. President: Obama Said All the Right Things in Jerusalem. Now What?" (Daniel Levy) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Having handed over the blank check, he added the advisory note to user: If used badly, all that support would still not be enough to save Israel from the inevitable fallout from its current path."

Obama’s Pragmatic Approach to Mideast (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"Obama is moving instead toward a more pragmatic approach in Syria, with the CIA playing a central role, supplemented by the State Department and the U.S. military. The United States will train Syrian rebels and help build governance in areas liberated from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad."

Only 43.8 Percent of Military Identify As Republican, Down From 56 Percent In 2005 (Jason Sattler) from National Memo
"The military is also less conservative than it was seven years ago. In 2005, a total of 50 percent of respondents described themselves as “conservative” or “very conservative.” The next year that number fell to 44 percent. And in 2012 it hit 42.72 percent, making it slightly more popular than the next most popular group, “moderate,” at 41.54 percent."

Cheating Our Children (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
" Suddenly, the argument has changed: It’s not about the crisis next month; it’s about the long run, about not cheating our children. The deficit, we’re told, is really a moral issue. There’s just one problem: The new argument is as bad as the old one. Yes, we are cheating our children, but the deficit has nothing to do with it."

Obama Administration Moves Ahead with Sweeping Rules Requiring Cleaner Gasoline from the Washington Post
"The Environmental Protection Agency will move ahead Friday with a rule requiring cleaner gasoline and lower-pollution vehicles nationwide, amounting to one of President Obama’s most significant air pollution initiatives, according to people briefed on the decision."

Republicans’ Hispanic Outreach Effort Off To A Rocky Start (Henry Decker) from National Memo
"The idea behind the memo seemed to be that, if Republicans won’t attract Hispanics with appealing policy proposals, they should at least try to stop driving them away with racially charged language. Clearly, Representative Don Young (R-AK) didn’t get the message."

Gay Marriage And Children: The Worst States For Kids Of Same-Sex Parents from the Huffington Post
"There are millions of children in the U.S. being raised by same-sex couples, and many of them live in states that don't recognize their parents' relationship or make it difficult for both parents to claim legal ties to the child. Discriminatory laws cause these children "immediate legal injury," Kennedy said."

Conservatives React to DOMA and Prop 8: The Best of the Worst (Katie McDonough) from Salon
"Gay marriage could be the end of children -- or capitalism. Erick Erickson just hopes there's room enough in hell."

Clinton’s Take on Gay Marriage Today (Robert Shrum) from the Daily Beast 
" The former president’s new rationalizations on DOMA are a futile effort to redeem his tarnished legacy."

The Coming GOP-Evangelical Divorce (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast 
"It may take a couple of election cycles, says Michael Tomasky, but Republican moderation on social issues is inevitable—and many evangelicals will respond by withdrawing from politics."
I have been predicting for some time that I thought evangelicals would eventually go this pathway.  Historically, the compromise-laden road of routine US politics eventually wears out even the most vigorous religious political movements.  With the exception of the abortion issue (from which I think religious conservatives will never concede the field), evangelical voters now look across a landscape of issues where longterm defeat or stasis are clearly in view.  Of course it starts with all aspects of the gay issue set -- but it goes much further.  The whole world of so-called "family values" (school prayer, state-support for religious institutions and religious messages, creation science) has either hit some rhetorical deadend or been roundly rejected by younger voters.  I think evangelicals have already largely shifted their attention to the states -- but as with so many issues, the demographics do not look good.

Clinton Is Strongest-Ever Frontrunner. If She Runs. (Albert R. Hunt) from Bloomberg
"The rules are different for Hillary Clinton. No non- incumbent in the history of contemporary U.S. presidential politics ever looked so formidable three years before an election."

Exclusive: Congressional Ethics Probe Adds to Michele Bachmann’s Political Woes (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"Add the Office of Congressional Ethics to the long list of probes and lawsuits that may be the only enduring legacy of Bachmann’s presidential face-plant. John Avlon exclusively reports."

Squid Wearing 'Crittercam' Reveals Speed, Color Change, Migration Patterns (VIDEO) from the Huffington Post
"To see firsthand how an elusive species of jumbo squid lives, scientists have strapped video cameras to the carnivorous sea creature in the eastern Pacific. The footage has helped reveal some remarkable secrets of the Humboldt squid: They are capable of amazing bursts of speed, up to nearly 45 mph (72 km/h); they "talk" to each other by changing their body color; and they hunt in big synchronized groups."

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