Tuesday, April 30, 2013

News Nuggets 1226

DAYLEE PICTURE:  The Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park in Utah.  From National Geographic.

In Defense of Leading from Behind (Leslie Gelb) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"So what if it's a terrible slogan? It's still the right strategy."

In Syria, U.S. Inaction is Better than Intervention (Eugene Robinson) from the Washington Post
"President Obama is right to resist the mounting pressure for military intervention in Syria. Action by U.S. forces may or may not make the situation better — but certainly could make things worse."

The Tortured Tsarnaevs: The Boston Bombers’ Family History: Theft, Violence, and Religious Strife (William Saletan) from Slate
"...three of the nation’s leading newspapers—the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times—have dispatched teams of reporters to dig into the family’s background and the sons’ radicalization. This weekend, all three papers published extensive articles. Here’s a summary of the most intriguing patterns and conflicts they found."

U.S. Image Rebounds in Mexico from the Pew Global Attitudes Survey 
"Fewer See Better Life North of the Border, but 35% Would Migrate. ... On the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to Mexico, the United States is enjoying a resurgence of good will among the Mexican public, with a clear majority favorably inclined toward their northern neighbor and more now expressing confidence in Obama."

Introducing a Special Report on Education: How are Schools Adapting to the New Demands of the 21st Century? from Smithsonian Magazine
"You might not know it from the news reports, but there's never been a more exciting time to be going to school in America. Innovations abound, from the way we teach math to the way we teach teachers, from how kids get to school to the actual design of the buildings. The global economic climate has sparked an intense desire to focus on traditionally second-string subjects, like science, technology and engineering. And structural experimentation in blended learning, charter schools and virtual classrooms are evolving the very idea of what public education should look like."

How Voter Backlash Against Voter Suppression is Changing Our Politics (John Nichols) from the Nation
"“From the tours we did in 22 states, it became clear to us that many blacks that were apathetic and indifferent became outraged and energized when they realized that [Republicans] were changing the rules in the middle of the game, in terms of voter ID laws, ending ‘souls to the polls,’” Sharpton told theGrio.” So what was just another election, even though it dealt with the re-election of the first black president, took on a new dimension when they realized that they were implementing the disenfranchisement of black voters.” This was a big deal for Obama and the Democrats."

Black Turnout, GOP Denial Both High (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast 
"For the first time, black turnout exceeded white turnout in 2012. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to alienate black voters. Michael Tomasky on the GOP’s self-destructive behavior."

Republican Immigration Nightmare Could Recur (McKay Coppins) from BuzzFeed 
""We are really balanced here on a little precipice and if this, pardon the pun, goes south, we could be in very serious trouble. If [the legislation] stalls or is killed off by conservatives, we could take the Hispanic community and turn them into the African-American community, where we get four percent on a good day... We could be a lost party for generations.""

George Bush’s True Legacy? A Republican Party in Denial (Ramesh Ponnuru) from Bloomberg News Service
"Conservatives rejected Bushism without demonstrating any understanding of why it was adopted in the first place, or why it was rejected. That’s George W. Bush’s political legacy: a weakened Republican Party unable to face its flaws."

The Integrated Prom was a Whopping Success (John Aravosis) from Americablog
"Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, Georgia finally held its first inter-racial, integrated, prom this past Saturday night – and the dance was a wild success. According to news reports, over half of the high school attended.  (And I’m told it wasn’t just the African-American half – a large number of white students attended.)"

Healing A Shelter Dog's Broken Back And Wounded Spirit from Hope-for-Paws via Youtube

We haven't had one of these in ages!!
Heracleion Photos: Lost Egyptian City Revealed After 1,200 Years Under Sea from the Huffington Post
"It is a city shrouded in myth, swallowed by the Mediterranean Sea and buried in sand and mud for more than 1,200 years. But now archeologists are unearthing the mysteries of Heracleion, uncovering amazingly well-preserved artifacts that tell the story of a vibrant classical-era port."

Monday, April 29, 2013

News Nuggets 1225

DAYLEE PICTURE: A chicken farm in Pennsylvania.  From National Geographic.

More Backlash Against Senators on Gun Vote from Public Policy Polling 
"New PPP polls in Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio find serious backlash against the 5 Senators who voted against background checks in those states. Each of them has seen their approval numbers decline, and voters say they're less likely to support them the next time they're up for reelection. That's no surprise given that we continue to find overwhelming, bipartisan support for background checks in these states."
The best news I've heard about gun control since the Newtown shootings!  The only time lawmakers will begin to turn away from the NRA is when voters start holding them to account!!

Americans Wanted Gun Background Checks to Pass Senate (Frank Newport) from Gallup
Support varies from 85% among Democrats to 45% among Republicans.

Why Obama Remains Cautious About Syria (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"The White House still hopes to convince Russia to join in an internationally supported move for a political transition."

Obama Is Right on Chemical Warfare in Syria (Leslie H. Gelb) from the Daily Beast
"Obama is right not to rush to war, given our checkered past on the use of chemical weapons and the sinkhole of hatreds in Syria, writes Leslie H. Gelb."

Bombing Suspects' Mom Also in Terror Database (Eileen Sullivan and Julie Pace) from the Associated Press
"U.S. intelligence agencies added the mother of the Boston bombing suspects to a government terrorism database 18 months before the bombings, two officials told The Associated Press. She called it "lies and hypocrisy" and said she has never been linked to crimes or terrorism."

The Story of Our Time (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"Those of us who have spent years arguing against premature fiscal austerity have just had a good two weeks."

Politics of Paranoia (Charles Blow) from the New York Times
"The politics of the political right have become the politics of paranoia. ... It is no wonder, then, that in this environment, a Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday found that while 47 percent of Americans were angry or disappointed that new gun control legislation in the Senate (including the enormously popular background-checks provision) had failed to pass, 39 percent were very happy or relieved. Fifty-one percent of Republicans had those sentiments, compared with 22 percent of Democrats. This underscores just how frightened of the government far-right Republicans are."

The Political Perils of Obamacare Implementation (Jamelle Bouie) from the Washington Post
"For the short-term, at least, Republicans will work to derail the Affordable Care Act, and Democrats will likely take the blame for the problems it creates. If there’s any good news, it’s that if Obamacare works, Democrats will reap the benefits of that as well."

In a First, Black Turnout Passes White Turnout (Hope Yen) from the Associated Press
"America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home."

Cuomo: If Hillary is Running for Prez, I’m Out (Frederic Dicker) from the New York Post
"Cuomo quietly ‘concedes’ 2016 race."

False Flags, Sharia, and Gun Grabs: GOP Lawmakers Embrace the Crazy (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"The conspiracy theories percolating up to local party leaders and even the halls of Congress should be a warning sign for the GOP, writes John Avlon."

History Will Not be Kind to George W. Bush (Jonathan Bernstein) from the Washington Post
"The problem for Bush is that the headline policies — management of the economy and of foreign relations, the latter dominated by war in Iraq — don’t look good now and aren’t likely to look any better any time soon. I can’t think of a war that looked like a failure 10 years after it was launched that historians later decided was a success after all..."

Tear Down This Icon: Why the GOP Has to Get Over Ronald Reagan (Jennifer Rubin) form the Washington Post
"The Republican Party can remain a Ronald Reagan historical society, or it can try to endure as a force in national politics. But it can’t do both."

After Casting Key Fifth Vote For Bush, Justice O’Connor Now Regrets Bush v. Gore (Ian Millhiser) from Think Progress
"Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the conservative retired justice who provided the fifth vote to install George W. Bush as president, is now having second thoughts about that decision:..."

Republicans Face Senate Recruitment Woes In Key States from the Huffington Post
"Republicans are struggling to recruit strong U.S. Senate candidates in states where the party has the best chances to reclaim the majority in Washington. It's a potentially troubling sign that the GOP's post-2012 soul-searching could spill over into next year's congressional elections."

Michele Bachmann's Troubling Lack of Candor from the Editorial Board of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune 
"Bachmann’s typical response is to ignore the negative publicity and the questions about her judgment and act like nothing happened. That strategy has served the charismatic conservative firebrand and four-term U.S. House representative fairly well—up to this point. Her core supporters usually shrug off bad press as media bias. The media, particularly in this age of nonstop news coverage, gives up and speeds off to the next political gaffe or miniscandal of the day. But Bachmann’s just-ignore-it approach is completely unacceptable for the high-profile political imbroglio she’s in now."

In Defense of Henry Kissinger (Robert Kaplan) from the National Interest 
"He was the 20th century's greatest 19th-century statesman. ... In the summer of 2002, during the initial buildup to the invasion of Iraq, which he supported, Henry Kissinger told me he was nevertheless concerned about the lack of critical thinking and planning for the occupation of a Middle Eastern country where, as he put it, “normal politics have not been practiced for decades, and where new power struggles would therefore have to be very violent.” Thus is pessimism morally superior to misplaced optimism."

Friday, April 26, 2013

News Nuggets 1224

DAYLEE PICTURE: A rare Blue-Eared Kingfisher in Thailand.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

The Ball's In Your Court, Mr. President (Bruce Riedel) from the Daily Beast
"It is clear Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people. And Obama must now take action. By Bruce Riedel."

What Would a Fighter Jet Buy 60 Years After Eisenhower’s Speech? from the New York Times
"With some idea that the speechwriters might have been using reliable data, it is worth seeing what a modern heavy bomber, a fighter jet and a destroyer would buy 60 years later."

The Jobless Trap (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"...while debt fears were and are misguided, there’s a real danger we’ve ignored: the corrosive effect, social and economic, of persistent high unemployment. And even as the case for debt hysteria is collapsing, our worst fears about the damage from long-term unemployment are being confirmed."

Lawmaker Unemployment Hearing Attended By Single Member of Congress At Opening from the Huffington Post
"More than five years since the start of the Great Recession, unemployment remains a major economic problem in the United States, with long-term unemployment among its most stubborn aspects. Nobody told Congress. A hearing Thursday on long-term unemployment held before the 19-member Joint Economic Committee began with just a single lawmaker in attendance. Panelists testifying on the problem and its potential solutions spoke only to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the committee's vice-chair, for the beginning of the roughly 90-minute session."

Obama Political Arm Strikes Fear in GOP from Politico
"As if President Barack Obama’s political machine hasn’t left them battered and bruised enough, Republicans are fretting that it could help Democrats win the House next year. The president’s deep-pocketed political arm, Organizing for Action, can’t by law spend most of its money on elections, and officials insist it won’t play directly in the 2014 midterm. But Republicans aren’t buying it: They’re convinced OFA will find other, indirect ways to help Democrats capture the House and allow Obama to finish his presidency unchecked by Congress."

After Boston: Don't Get Fooled Again by the 'War on Terror' Hawks (Conor Friedersdorf) from the Atlantic
Yes, of course terrorism is real. But that doesn't mean the hawkish approach to counterterrorism hasn't been discredited."

Judge Made Call to Advise Suspect of Rights from the Wall Street Journal [partial subscription wall]
"A federal judge decided to advise Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of his Miranda rights, even though investigators apparently still wanted to question him further under a public-safety exception.  The judge's move, made on Monday in the hospital where Mr. Tsarnaev was recovering, has prompted some Republican lawmakers to press the Justice Department as to why it didn't make a stronger bid to resist the judge's plans."
Ah -- HERE it comes!  They're not going to blame the judge ... ultimately, they're not even going to blame the DOJ folks on the scene.  It's Attorney General Holder and President Obama's fault -- that Tsarnaev wasn't denied his constitutional rights!  SHAME on them!

GE Capital Cuts Off Lending to Gun Shops from the Wall Street Journal [subscription wall]
"General Electric Co. is quietly cutting off lending to gun shops, as the company rethinks its relationship to firearms amid the fallout from the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. "
Ok -- then let's get after insurance companies.  People who own semi-automatic rifles (or other made-to-kill humans weapons): no health insurance for you.  No homeowners insurance for you.  No life insurance for you.  If you keep x type of weapons in your house, the answer is "no."

Fight Club on the Hill (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"House conservatives met Wednesday for the latest installment of their “Conversations with Conservatives” luncheon series, but they took their places on the dais without sampling the Chick-fil-A sandwiches and nuggets on offer. These days, House conservatives prefer to eat their own. ... Cantor can forget warm and fuzzy for now; he has enough trouble just making his colleagues sound humane."

Riding Along With a Towson University Student’s ‘White Patrol’ (Caitlin Dickson) from the Daily Beast
"After torpedoing a CPAC panel on race relations with comments about ‘his people,’ a young white supremacist is conducting patrols ‘to protect’ white classmates at Baltimore’s Towson University. Caitlin Dickson rode along with the man the Southern Poverty Law Center calls ‘the future of organized hate.’"
Ah, George Zimmermans of the world UNITE!!

George W. Bush's Reluctant Re-Emergence on the Political Scene (Tom DeFrank) from National Journal
"The ex-president is preparing to dedicate his library this week, but these days he's more interested in painting, golfing, and enjoying time away from politics."

Yes, George W. Bush Was a Terrible President, and No, He Wasn’t Smart (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"The opening of the Bush museum today has opened up a flood of pent-up Bush revisionism. ... the main question hanging over Bush is his record itself. The most useful defense of the Bush record is probably Jennifer Rubin’s — useful because it is so slavish and so crude it inadvertently exposes all the catastrophic weaknesses in the Bush record that more clever defenders have usually learned to tiptoe around."

The Ron Paul Institute: Be Afraid, Very Afraid (James Kirchick) from the Daily Beast
"The former presidential contender is back, this time as head of a new ‘institute’ for ‘peace’ comprised of anti-Semites, 9/11 truthers, and dictator-lovers. James Kirchick reports."
Where Ron is, can Rand be far behind?

Monday, April 22, 2013

News Nuggets 1223

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Barn Owl in Norfolk, VA.  From National Geographic.

I Knew the Boston Bombers’ Mother: What She Told Me About 9/11, Islam, and Her Sons (Alyssa Lindley Kilzer) from the Daily Beast
"I got facials from Dzhokhar and Tamerlan’s mother for years—in the living room of the family’s home. And I became uncomfortable as I watched her religious zeal and offensive political views grow over time."

FBI Hunting 12-Strong Terrorist “Sleeper Cell” Linked to Brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from the Daily Mirror [of the UK]
"Police believe the pair were specially trained to carry out the devastating attack."
I would not take this story on face value (interesting as it is) -- the Mirror is not known as a bastion of great investigative journalism.

Top Conservatives Admit Boston Bombing Suspect Cannot Be Tried In Military Tribunal from Think Progress
" In a statement Graham released yesterday with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Rep. Pete King (R-NY), however, the four conservatives acknowledge that shunting Tsarnaev into a military commission is not a lawful opinion."
I have found these discussions deeply unsettling.  Here's the logic: Tsarnaev might be tried by a military tribunal -- because he is an "enemy combatant."  Really?  Which "enemy" is he serving, one might ask.  Chechen rebels?  Are we at "war" with them?  Not that I am aware of.  The Russians?  Sorry, Mitt Romney.  The answer there is "no." The evidence that these guys were Al Qaeda terrorists is nil.  The logic seems to be that they are "enemy combatants" in America's "War Against Terror"!  It has nothing to do with actual ties to real "enemies" or even with for-real terrorist groups.  Here's the math at work: Muslin + terrorist act = enemy combatant.  It really is that simple -- and that stupid.

Brothers in Marathon Bombings Took Two Paths into Infamy from the Boston Globe
"The two young brothers from Cambridge seemed to be on promising paths, one a scholarship student at college, the other fighting for a national title in amateur boxing. And then, apparently with little warning, they veered violently off track, deep into the darkness, setting off deadly bombs, authorities are convinced, at one of Boston’s most iconic and joyful events."
In case you've been missing it, the Boston Globe's coverage of the bombings and the manhunt has been EXCEPTIONAL!!

Another Cause for Alarm in Iran's Nuclear Program: Earthquakes (Jillian Keenan) from the Atlantic
"The country's nuclear power plant is built near tectonic plates, and reports show it may not be safe in the event of a major seismic event."

Keeping Taliban fighters in Guantanamo Hurts U.S. Interests (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"For an example of how the U.S. government can work at cross-purposes in dealing with terrorism, take a look at the failed effort to release Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. It shows how an incorrect analysis — that the Taliban and al-Qaeda pose the same threat — can lead to a cascade of bad policy that has undermined U.S. interests."
SOME PEOPLE have been saying this for many years.

Danes Rethink a Welfare State Ample to a Fault from the New York Times 
"COPENHAGEN — It began as a stunt intended to prove that hardship and poverty still existed in this small, wealthy country, but it backfired badly. Visit a single mother of two on welfare, a liberal member of Parliament goaded a skeptical political opponent, see for yourself how hard it is. It turned out, however, that life on welfare was not so hard. The 36-year-old single mother, given the pseudonym “Carina” in the news media, had more money to spend than many of the country’s full-time workers. All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16."
I see here the creation of the Danish version of Ronald Reagan's "welfare queen."  Are the Danes paving the way for their own version of "austerity"?

Obama’s Second Term is Upending What We Think We Know About Washington (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
",,,even if you can’t do a rigorous test of how best to govern, you can still experiment with different approaches. Right now, the Obama administration is running one of the most consequential tests in recent history. The early results will unnerve many who think they know how Washington works."

Made In The USA (Rana Foroohar and Bill Saporito) [subscription wall] from Time Magazine
"Manufacturing is Back -- But Where are the Jobs?"

Where the Recession Hit Us Hardest: An Interactive Map (Nicole Allan) from the Atlantic
"How different regions and industries have weathered the downturn—and the recovery."

Why the Rich Don't Give to Charity (Ken Stern) from the Atlantic
"The wealthiest Americans donate 1.3 percent of their income; the poorest, 3.2 percent. What's up with that? ... Last year, not one of the top 50 individual charitable gifts went to a social-service organization or to a charity that principally serves the poor and the dispossessed."

Questioning the Mission of College (Frank Bruni) from the New York Times 
"Do we want our marquee state universities to behave more like job-training centers, judged by the number of students they speed toward degrees, the percentage of those students who quickly land good-paying jobs and the thrift with which all of this is accomplished? In the service of that, are we willing to jeopardize some of the trailblazing research these schools have routinely done and the standards they’ve maintained?"

About the Obamacare ‘Train Wreck’ (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post 
"Insofar as the Republican Party has a strategy on Obamacare, it’s goes like this: ... step one: Create problems for Obamacare. Step two: Blame Obamacare for the problems. Step 3: Political profit!"

Charts: Challenging the Myth That Guns Stop Crime (Josh Harkinson) from Mother Jones Magazine
"A new report from Violence Policy Center shoots even more holes in the argument that a well-armed society is a safer society."

Has Obama Turned a Generation of Voters Into Lifelong Democrats? The Prospects for a New Liberal Age (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
Answer: yes.
"There’s a saying that a young person who isn’t a liberal has no heart, and an old person who isn’t a conservative has no brain. Republicans may be tempted to take solace in the idea that young, liberal voters will sooner or later grow up, but they should resist that fantasy. Paul Ryan, it turns out, had it exactly backward: those Obama posters may fade, but partisan loyalties are durable."

Mars, Our First Outpost on the Final Frontier (James Fallows) form the Atlantic
"James Fallows talks with space entrepreneur Eric Anderson about the next wave of space exploration."

My Fair Mother (Luca Dotti) from Vanity Fair
"With Roman Holiday, which earned her the 1953 best-actress Oscar, Audrey Hepburn became not just a major Hollywood star but also a living icon for the Eternal City. Alongside intimate photographs from his new book, Audrey in Rome, Luca Dotti recalls his mother’s three-decade love affair with the Italian capital, while Laura Jacobs examines what the images reveal about her style."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

News Nuggets 1222

DAYLEE PICTURE: A close look at winter ice in rural Sweden.  From National Geographic.

Life in America Unraveled for Brothers from the Wall Street Journal 
"The two Chechen brothers accused in the Boston Marathon bombing set about building American lives after coming to the U.S. about a decade ago. ... But a close examination of the Tsarnaev family's life in the U.S. shows a hopeful immigrant trajectory veering off course."

How String of Events Involving Tsarnaev Brothers Unfolded from the Washington Post
"As their photographs spread rapidly across the Internet, the Tsarnaev brothers decided to make their move. Not waiting for police to find them, they gathered guns and homemade explosives for what became a final, bloody rampage on a community still in shock from the bombing three days before."

'I Don’t Understand Them,' Bombing Suspect Said of Americans from FOX News 
“I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them,” the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police hours after the pair was identified as suspects, told a photographer in 2009."
Shockers!!  Actual original for-real news reporting from Fox News!

Older Bombing Suspect ‘Was Up to No Good,’ Cousin Says from the Boston Globe
"A relative of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects said he repeatedly warned the 19-year-old fugitive Dzhokhar Tsarnaev about the bad influence of his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed overnight in a shootout with police. A picture has begun to emerge of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev as an aggressive, possibly radicalized immigrant who may have ensnared his younger brother Dzhokhar — described almost universally as a smart and sweet kid..."

This Is A Religious War, Ctd. (Andrew Sullivan) from The Dish
"Muslims under theocratic rule assume that if those cartoonists weren’t speaking for our government, than our government would silence them. It’s just an example of how these two governing philosophies, ours and that of say Saudi Arabia or Iran, can’t coexist peacefully. ... this kind of violence will continue for as long as the separation of church and state is a foreign concept to so much of the world."

Our Boston Is Now the World (Howard Fineman) from the Huffington Post 
"As if we needed any further proof, this week in Boston proves that there is no "over there." Ours is not a planet in which distance matters; nor does the passage of time. It may be that centuries-old grievances are erupting worldwide like volcanic lava."

Pyongyang Palace Intrigue from the New York Times
"North Korea’s recent nuclear brinkmanship is a sign not of strength but of weakness. No matter how hard this Communist dynasty tries to conceal this fact from the outside world, problems at home — especially strains within the regime itself — are an important factor behind its aggressive external behavior."

China's Victim Complex: Why are Chinese leaders so paranoid about the United States? (Ely Ratner) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Senior Chinese officials claim, even in private, that the United States masterminded a number of actions against China in the region ... Alas, this argument runs counter to both reality and U.S. strategy. The United States has de-escalated tensions by responding to crises in the South China and East China seas with intense, high-level U.S. diplomacy."

China Is a Real Threat to Russia (Dominique Moisi) from Les Echos via Real Clear World [translated from French into English]
"... the more Russian leadership feels weak, the tougher it is - inside and outside the country - with its citizens or foreign powers. This is a self-defense reflex ... To justify this evolution, Russian leaders use an emotional weapon - humiliation."

'Like 1930s Germany': Greek Far Right Gains Ground from Der Spiegel [of Germany in English]
"Nowhere else in Europe are neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists profiting as greatly from the financial crisis as in Athens. As they terrorize the country with violence, the police stand back and prosecutors are powerless."
The shadow of fascism is now clearly in view and expanding in Europe.  Americans and the US media need to WAKE UP to what's happening there.

Barack Obama's Lesson for David Cameron and Ed Miliband - Beware the Polls (Nate Silver) from the London Evening Standard
"As Labour holds on to its lead, the polling guru of the 2012 US race warns that time is running out for the Tories."

Part-Time Work Becomes Full-Time Wait for Better Job from the New York Times
"These almost invisible underemployed workers do not count toward the standard jobless rate of 7.6 percent. A broader measure, which includes the involuntary part-timers as well as people who want to work but have stopped looking, stands at 13.8 percent. “There’s nothing inherently wrong with people taking part-time jobs if they want them,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago. “The problem is that people are accepting part-time pay because they have no other choice.”"

When Our Kids Own America (Gene Demby) from NPR
"America's seismic demographic shift is upending life in our suburbs, cities and our popular culture. So why are we still clinging to the same stories to make sense of these changes?"

Boy Scouts Propose Lifting Ban on Gays, but Only for Youth from Reuters 
"The Boy Scouts of America on Friday moved to partially lift its long-standing ban on gays, with a decision that would allow openly gay youth members but continue to bar gay adults in one of the largest youth serving organizations in America."

Romney Strategist: We Were Two Years Behind Obama (Sean J. Miller) from Campaigns and Elections
"During a panel at C&E’s CampaignTech conference in Washington on Thursday, Jones said his team needed between nine and 24 months to catch up to Obama’s online organization. Part of the reason they were so far behind was staffing."

Could the NRA's Big Victory Backfire? (John Cassidy) from the New Yorker
"...the N.R.A. decided to go for an all-out victory, making a mockery of representative democracy. In the long run, this outrage could easily backfire on the N.R.A. and its allies."

Friday, April 19, 2013

News Nuggets 1221

DAYLEE PICTURE:  Barack and Michelle Obama at memorial service for Boston Marathon bombing victims.  From Getty Images via the Washington Post.

Police Shootout With Suspected Boston Bombers In Watertown Caught On Camera (VIDEO) from the Huffinton Post
"The two suspects wanted for the Boston Marathon bombings engaged in an explosive shootout with police overnight Thursday and into Friday in Watertown, Mass. The incident left Suspect 1 dead."

Ruslan Tsarni, Uncle Of Marathon Bombing Suspects, Says They 'Deserve' To Die (AUDIO) from the Huffington Post
"Ruslan Tsarni told the station that he'd lived with suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Cambridge for about 10 years. In an emotional interview, he said he realized that his nephews may be responsible after reading a report on Tsarni was also shocked but "not sympathetic" to learn that 26-year-old Tamerlan had been killed."

Boston Bomb Suspect's Dad Tells Him to Surrender, Warns ' Hell Will Break Loose' if Son Dies from ABC News
"The father warned, however, "If they killed him, then all hell would break loose." "If they kill my second child, I will know that it is an inside job, a hit job. The police are to blame," the father told ABC News. "Someone, some organization is out to get them.""
Great.  I think we can begin to get inside the mentality of the two suspects when you hear the nutiness of their father.

The Story Behind the Bombers (Christopher Dickey, Eli Lake, Daniel Klaidman) from the Daily Beast
"Did al Qaeda ideology inspire the attack or were the two brothers driven by other motivations? Christopher Dickey, Eli Lake, and Daniel Klaidman report on the latest."

China Local Authority Debt ‘Out of Control’ (Simon Rabinovitch) from the Financial Times [of London]
"A senior Chinese auditor has warned that local government debt is “out of control” and could spark a bigger financial crisis than the US housing market crash. ... “We audited some local government bond issues and found them very dangerous, so we pulled out,” said Mr Zhang, who is also vice-chairman of China’s accounting association. “Most don’t have strong debt servicing abilities. Things could become very serious.” The International Monetary Fund, rating agencies and investment banks have all raised concerns about Chinese government debt. But it is rare for a figure as established in the Chinese financial industry as Mr Zhang to issue such a stark warning."

Why Some Small Colleges are in Big Trouble (Jon Marcus) from the Boston Globe
"Money is tight. Competition is brutal. Are some Massachusetts schools on the road to ruin?"

Why the Senate Vote May Signal 2016 Problems for the Gun Lobby (Ronald Brownstein) from the National Journal
"... the vote suggested that, after years in which gun-control has been sublimated as a political issue, support for expanding background checks and possibly further steps has again become a political norm in almost all of the blue-leaning states that underpin the recent Democratic advantage in the race for the White House."

On immigration, Republicans Grab Tea Party Monster by the Tail (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"The regular care and feeding that more “responsible” Republican officials give to the right’s delusions are complicating the party’s efforts to moderate on other fronts, too."

The MarcoPhone (Ed Kilgore) from Washington Monthly
"I’m having trouble feeling bad for Rubio getting a taste of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a Tea Party delusion. But it’s a real enough problem for him if he wants to ride the two horses of “Latino candidate” and “Tea Party candidate” to the White House. "

Lost Dog Dora Reunited with Family after Seven Months! from YouTube 
"Dora was reunited with her family at Collin County Animals Services in Mckinney, TX."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

News Nuggets 1220

DAYEE PICTURE: Ice "hummocks" that have formed on Lake Baikal in Siberia.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

President Obama Seizes the Spotlight After the Boston Marathon Bombings (Howard Kurtz) from the Daily Beast
"The president is taking command by using television and heading to Boston. Howard Kurtz on how he’s learned from his past missteps."

Messing With the Wrong City (Dennis Lehane) from the New York Times 
"Trust me, we won’t be giving up any civil liberties to keep ourselves safe because of this. We won’t cancel next year’s marathon. We won’t drive to New Hampshire and stockpile weapons. When the authorities find the weak and terminally maladjusted culprit or culprits, we’ll roll our eyes at whatever backward ideology they embrace and move on with our lives."

The Limits of Intelligence Collection (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"Officials can only speculate at this point about perpetrators. But the early evidence looks more like the work of a lone individual or a small group than that of a larger terror network. ... A decade has taught the United States that the most destabilizing consequence of 9/11 wasn’t the terrorist act itself but the way the country responded."

Taking the ‘Service’ Out of the Service Sector (Harold Meyerson) from the Washington Post
"Penney employed at least 150,000 people for almost a decade, but within a year of Johnson’s arrival it had cut its labor force to 116,000. The retailer administered layoffs in wholesale fashion: At the company’s headquarters, employees were summoned to meetings in groups, some of more than 100 workers , where they were all summarily dismissed. The Johnson plan didn’t work out so well."

Why Republicans Suddenly Became Afraid Of Their Own Budget Shadow from Talking Points Memo
"... now that they’ve gotten their way, and the Senate has passed a budget, suddenly they’re the ones squeamish about “regular order.” Instead of promptly appointing negotiators to convene a so-called conference committee and iron out the differences between the wildly different House and Senate budgets, House Republicans are eager to either return to the smoke-filled back rooms of legend, or kill the budget process altogether. ... Democrats are privately pleased to find Republicans back in a box. But in public they’re pressing and taunting Republicans to back up words with action."
I'm not sure if it is a legacy of the Clinton years or what, but I have observed for some time that Republican lawmakers are obsessed with winning 24 to 48 hour news cycles ... and not thinking any further ahead than that.  You can see it with the current budget negotiations, the response to the Boston Marathon bombing, and any number of other stories.

GOP Fights to Rebrand the Party of No (Zeke Miller) from Time Magazine 
"While GOP officials at the party’s spring meeting in Hollywood had plenty of ideas for changing their public rhetoric, however, positive new policy ideas were in shorter supply."

How Out of Touch is Today’s GOP? (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post 
"It finds that only 23 percent of Americans — that would be fewer than one in four — believe the Republican Party is “in touch with the concerns of most people in the United States today,” while 70 percent believe that it is “out of touch.” Among independents, those numbers are 23-70. Among moderates they’re 20-75. By contrast, Americans say by 51-46 that Obama is in touch. Among moderates that’s 56-42."

PRES-2016: Rand Paul: 2016 Presidential Run Under Consideration, But No Decision Yet from the Huffington Post
"Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, popular with conservatives and libertarians in the GOP, said Wednesday he is considering a presidential campaign in 2016 but will not make a decision before next year."

SC-GOV: Ex-wife Says Former SC Gov. Sanford Trespassed from the Associated Press
"Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford must appear in court two days after running for a vacant congressional seat to answer a complaint that he trespassed at his ex-wife's home, according to court documents acquired by The Associated Press on Tuesday."
This comes TWO days after Sanford secured the GOP nomination to run against the Democrat for a House seat.  

MN-House: Michele Bachmann Book Tour Faces New Questions from the Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Congressional ethics investigators are examining whether top staffers in Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign played an improper role in the 2011 tour to promote her personal memoir, two former Bachmann aides have told the Star Tribune."

Bean Leaves Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite by Using Tiny, Impaling Spikes from the Smithsonian Magazine
"For years, people in Eastern Europe’s Balkan region have known that kidney bean leaves trap bedbugs, sort of like a natural fly paper. In the past, those suffering from infestations would scatter the leaves on the floor surrounding their bed, then collect the bedbug-laden greenery in the morning and destroy it. In 1943, a group of researchers studied this phenomenon and attributed it to microscopic plant hairs called trichomes that grow on the leaves’ surface to entangling bed bug legs."

Spectacular Frozen Waterfall Created by Resident who Left Hot Tap on ALL Winter from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"It came out of seventh-floor resident Wen Hsu's flat after he left the tap on.  58-year-old was last remaining resident in soon-to-be-demolished building."

Monday, April 15, 2013

News Nuggets 1219

DAYEE PICTURE: The Naxi, Yi, and Bai ethnic minorities in China hold ceremonies at Jade Mountain in Yunan Province in China.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

The Nuggetsman will be in transit tomorrow all day so the next posting will be on Wednesday.

The Biggest Threat To China's Economy (Gordon Chang) from Forbes Magazine 
"... events since early last month in North Asia—the tearing up of the Korean War armistice, Pyongyang’s promises of pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the U.S., and the deployment of North Korea’s mobile missiles, to name just a few of them—suggest the biggest threat to the Chinese economy may be the least discussed one: turmoil in the region."

How China’s Jets Threaten Russia (Richard Weitz) from The Diplomat 
"China’s suspected proclivity for copying weapons systems has made Russia wary of exporting its technology. Still, the Russians may one day end up with a taste for ‘Made in China’ hardware."

Inside North Korea: A Rare Dispatch from Deep Within the Lunatic Rogue State Enslaved by Zombie and Sons from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"John Sweeney enters the secretive state to see 'the true North Korea'.  Travelled undercover as a tourist as journalist are barred from the state. He found the regime 'a more frightening tyranny than Saddam's Iraq'."

Young Adults Getting Critical Health Services Under Obamacare (Joan McCarter) from Daily Kos
"The ADM cohort was more likely to incur claims related to mental health, substance abuse, and pregnancy.” This group had higher health care spending than the otherwise insured 19-26 year old population because they used more medical services and because of higher hospital inpatient spending."

President Obama, Republicans Fight the Class War (Martin and Harris) from Politico
"That fundamental reality of the Obama years — that the president won a second term in large part because he gave new life to an old brand of class-based politics — continues to echo six months later as the dominant factor shaping American politics this spring, as the parties slog through the latest fiscal fight. Both parties are in the midst of intense and far-reaching debates about how to respond."

Conservatives to Obama: Spend More! (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast 
"From Sarah Palin to Paul Ryan and now Greg Walden, why do Republicans keep attacking Obama for trying to save money? Peter Beinart explains this weird phenomenon."

Republicans Fear Clinton in 2016 (Zeke J Miller) from Time Magazine 
"... more than two dozen operatives and officials expressed worry that none of their party’s potential 2016 candidates can take her down. One early primary state RNC member put it simply: “If she gets in, we’re toast.”"

Rand Paul Forces Suffer Setback vs. GOP Establishment from Politico 
"In the GOP’s ongoing establishment vs. grassroots saga, chalk one up for the establishment. Since Mitt Romney’s loss, the Rand Paul wing of the party has been on the ascendency. But libertarians hit a roadblock Friday as the Republican National Committee opted at its spring meeting to keep in place a host of rules rammed through by the Romney campaign at last year’s national convention."

The Endless Vetting Of Marco Rubio (McKay Coppins) from Buzz Feed
""Rubio is just 41, but he has already served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. And his quick rise to national stardom, along with his long, varied career in state politics, well-known financial troubles, and ties to an embattled former congressman have combined to prompt many in the political class -- including some of his most enthusiastic boosters -- to speculate that the Senator's pristine political brand will collapse under the weight of national scrutiny.""

The Albany Machiavelli (Chris Smith) from New York Magazine
"For all his speechifying about the 'us' of government, he runs a government of one, controlling decisions large and small. And the way Cuomo wins his battles--strong-­arming and horse-trading; a mastery of talking past inconvenient questions and facts--tends to antagonize enemies and allies, as in the most recent round of budget wrangling, in which he managed to chafe both liberals and business fat cats. People are afraid of him..."
He's positioning for a presidential run.  Politically, he sounds like someone who could be a formidable candidate -- but in all other respects h sounds like bad news!

Spokesman: Gov. Deal Won't Comment on Wilcox Prom from WMAZ-TV [of Macon, Georgia]
"Better Georgia asked Deal and others "to publicly support the students of Wilcox County who are fighting to end a 'separate-but-equal' high school prom." ... Wilcox County High School has no official prom, but for years, some parents and students have organized a private whites-only segregated prom. School officials say they have no control over that and have issued a statement in support of the integrated prom."

20 Foxes And The People Who Keep Them As Pets from Buzz Feed
"While some say that foxes are destructive, smelly and hard to train, these animal lovers see them as the perfect pet. And who can blame them?"

Police Seal Off House on Holiday Island After Seven Meter Wasps Nest Found from the Daily Mail [of the UK] 
"The nest was reportedly found at a property on the island of Tenerife.  It is said to have been 22ft long and covered nearly an entire room. Experts believe wasps migrating from Africa may have created it."

Friday, April 12, 2013

News Nuggets 1218

DAYLEE PICTURE: The Milky Way as seen from New Zealand.  From National Geographic.

There's No North Korea Crisis (Robert A. Manning) from the National Interest
"... there is no crisis, only a farce. This time around, it is louder and more melodramatic. But we have seen time and again North Korea throwing a political tantrum in response to annual U.S.-ROK military exercises or the latest round of UN Security Council sanctions in response to Pyongyang testing a nuclear device or launching a missile. ... The world is not on the brink of an imminent nuclear confrontation. North Korean troops and artillery are not about to pour across the Demilitarized Zone. This is all nothing more than political theater."

New Details About Lockheed's Latest Stealth Drone (John Reed) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Remember, the sea service is looking to field an unmanned, stealthy, fighter-size jet capable of taking off from aircraft carriers and doing everything from spying to bombing to conducting air-to-air refueling by 2020 under a program called Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike -- or UCLASS."

A New Budget for a New Party (Ron Brownstein) from National Journal 
"Obama's fiscal proposal aligns him with the politics of minority, millennial, and college-educated voters."

The 'Emerging Democratic Majority' Isn't Assured—Unless the GOP Refuses to Change (Nate Cohn) from the New Republic
"If the white share of the electorate declines further, Republicans won’t just need to match their best performance of the last 24 years among white voters, they’ll also need to match their best performance of the last 24 years among non-white voters. If they can’t make the requisite 16-point gain among non-white voters—a tall order, to say the least—then the next Republican candidate will enter truly uncharted territory, potentially needing to win up to 64 percent of the white vote just to break 50 percent of the popular vote."

Social Conservatives Threaten Revolt Against GOP (Henry Decker) from National Memo
"Social conservatives are threatening to revolt against the the Republican Party, in the latest sign that the Republican National Committee’s “Growth & Opportunity Project” has little to no chance of success."

Family Research Council Says 'Don't Send a Dime' to GOP (Justin Sink) from The Hill
""Until the RNC and the other national Republican organizations grow a backbone and start defending core principles, don’t send them a dime of your hard-earned money," Perkins said in the email, a copy of which was obtained by CNN."
YOU tell'em, Tony!!  I've been telling people not to send money to the RNC for years!

Did Being Black Cost Obama Votes? from Taegan Goddard's Political Wire 
"A new Harvard study concludes that "racial animus in the United States appears to have cost Obama roughly four percentage points of the national popular vote in both 2008 and 2012.""

RNC's Celeb Plan Falls Flat in Hollywood from Politico
"The Republican National Committee is meeting this week in the most touristy part of Tinseltown, but it’s apparent the “Celebrity Task Force” recommended by last month’s “autopsy” report isn’t going to happen. The proposed task force was the most mocked of 219 suggestions from a five-member committee tasked with looking into why the party fared so poorly in 2012."

Jane Fonda Tells Veterans Boycotting Her Movie 'The Butler' to 'Get a Life' from Fox News
"This week, Fonda had a simple message for Reyes and the page's fans. “Get a life." In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Fonda said of her casting: “If it creates hoopla, it will cause more people to see the movie… I figured it would tweak the right. Who cares?” ... But Fonda isn’t the only casting choice in "The Butler" causing some to roll their eyes."
This story is so interesting on so many fronts not least of which is how it showcases perfectly the on-going centrality of Vietnam and the 1960s issues set to the contemporary conservative movement.   Any time right wingers can resurrect the left-wing ghosts from that era just sends them into peals of partsan rapture -- never mind that most Americans could not care less!  Fonda sees this clearly.

State GOP to Auction AR-15 Style Rifle at Dinner (Jim Brunner) from the Seattle Times
"When the Washington State Republican Party holds its annual fundraising dinner this weekend, one of the items up for auction will be an AR-15 style rifle  — the type of semi-automatic weapon targeted by many gun-control advocates since Adam Lanza used one to rapidly kill 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school."
WOW!!  The latest from the numb and dumb wing of the GOP.  This is almost like the times back in the early 20th century when people would sell hangman's noose type souvenirs after particularly gruesome lynchings.  The "f--- you!" message to the victims in Newtown is hard to miss here.

How Teenagers Spend Money (Derek Thompson) from the Atlantic
"Ah, life without a mortgage, insurance, or savings."

Gay Man Separated from Husband in Hospital was Beaten and Harassed from Raw Story
"New information from an account of Gorley’s arrest published online and from an interview that Gorley’s daughter Amanda did with John Aravosis from Americablog paint an upsetting and disturbing picture of the ordeal that Gorley faced trying to assert his legal rights of power of attorney at his husband’s bedside."

Annie Hart: "I Set Out to Rescue Dogs, But the Dogs Rescued Me" from the Huffington Post
"Over the past year, I've been getting involved with several animal rescue groups in the Los Angeles area where I live. Their Facebook pages are compelling and the dramatic rescue videos they post often go viral - with good reason. Nothing tugs at the heartstrings like a homeless, terrified, dog being saved from a horrible, lonely death on the streets. One local group - the Bill Foundation - stands out from the crowd, taking on the most desperate, seemingly hopeless dogs you could imagine."

Jackie Robinson Again (Roger Angell) from the New Yorker
"... he very first black player in the majors: a carefully selected twenty-eight-year-old college graduate and Army veteran primed and prepped in 1947 by Dodger President Branch Rickey, who exacted a promise from him that he would never respond, never complain, never talk back, no matter what taunts or trash came at him from enemy players out of the stands. He did us proud, but at a cost beyond the paying."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

News Nuggets 1217

DAYLEE PICTURE:  A baby Large-spotted Genet (a relative of the mongoose) at the National Zoological Gardens in South Africa.  From Zooborns.

Will Chinese Troops Cross the Yalu? from Foreign Policy Magazine
"U.S. intelligence looks at Beijing's military options in North Korea. ... Although current consultations between Washington and Beijing are taking place behind closed doors, we do have a window into how the United States assessed China's options during a similar crisis nearly two decades ago -- options that included Chinese troops crossing the Yalu to secure its borders."

North Korea Threatens War, and South Korea Wants Revenge (Gordon G. Chang) from the Daily Beast
"The bellicose threats from Pyongyang are the same as ever. But this time, South Korea isn’t going to let a provocation go by without retaliating. Gordon G. Chang explains why."

How to Keep NATO Strong (Anders Fogh Rasmussen) from Foreign Policy Magazine 
"For Europeans, the transatlantic alliance cannot be taken for granted."

Curtains for Hezbollah? (Jamie Dettmer) from the Daily Beast
"The civil war in Syria is undermining the Shiite movement. The fall of Assad could spell its end. By Jamie Dettmer in Beirut."

Pope Emeritus Benedict's Health has Worsened Following Reports 'He Will Not be With Us Much Longer' from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"The health of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has deteriorated, the Vatican has revealed. Senior church officials were forced to make their fears public after a respected Vatican expert declared 'we won't have him with us for very much longer'."

How Boehner’s Crazy Method Is Letting Obama’s Agenda Move (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"President Obama’s second-term agenda is actually chugging along at what by current standards counts as a brisk pace. ... Things are happening. But they are happening in the characteristically and necessarily odd way that has come to be seen as normal in the Washington of Barack Obama and John Boehner."

Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner? (John Dickerson) from Slate
"There is nothing substantively new about Obama's budget plan. He has offered versions of the same plan privately to Republican leaders, but now he's trying to go around those leaders. One requirement for building trust with Republican senators is putting these offers on paper. This is meant to show individual senators that he is making good on the promises he has made in private conversations, but it also offers them the cover they need with their constituents."

Will the Christian Right Flee the GOP? (Alex Seitz-Wald) from Salon 
"Republican civil war heats up as social conservatives feel abandoned and threaten to form a third party."
Oh yes.  Thelma turns to Louise and shouts "Hit the gas!"

The GOP-Fox Circus Act (Reed Richardson) from the Nation
"This ongoing debate about whether broadening conservatism's appeal requires new messages or just new messaging has ignored the 800-pound gorilla in the room, however. Noticeably absent from all the right wing's public self-criticism is any interest in confronting the potent role played by the Republican Party's single most important messenger, Fox News."

Rand Paul goes to Howard University in Peace, Receives Quiet (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"Tea party titan Rand Paul, visiting Howard University on Wednesday, told students that he had been called “either brave or crazy to be here” at the historically black college. Probably some of each: brave, because he’s trying to sell himself and fellow Republicans to African Americans, a singularly resistant demographic; and crazy, because he based his pitch on revised history and airbrushed facts — and the Howard kids weren’t fooled."
Conservatives (and GOP pontificators especially) live in an alternative universe where their out-dated and not-so-subtly racist version of black history goes unchallenged.  Most conservatives (especially older ones) assume that what they were taught in grammar school was the "correct" version of US history and that blacks essentially "lived" that same history.  What Rand Paul encountered yesterday was what happens when that self-serving marinaded-in-ignorance version meets reality.  Let's be clear (and perhaps even charitable): Paul looked like a well-intentioned fool.

Said in a more snarky way, see this item:
Rand Paul and the Sweet Smell of Your Own Crap (Josh Marshall) from Talking Points Memo
"The gist of what happened yesterday was that Paul took this clown show to an audience at an historically black college where, yeah, they actually do know that Lincoln freed the slaves and that Frederick Douglass was a Republican. And they’ve even heard about the Dixiecrats. ... The GOP is so deep into its own self-justifying racial alternative reality that there’s some genuine surprise when the claptrap doesn’t survive first contact with actual black people."

Home Ec.: The Economic Logic of the "New Domesticity" from the New Republic
"The brilliance of Emily Matchar’s new book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, is that it exhaustively describes what disillusioned workers are opting into: a slower, more sustainable, and more self-sufficient lifestyle that’s focused on the home. The woman who leaves the public workplace is “the Brooklyn hipster who quit her PR job to sell hand-knitted scarves at craft fairs,” Matchar writes. “She’s the dreadlocked ‘radical homemaker’ who raises her own chickens to reduce her carbon footprint."
Yes -- and how are they paying their student loans?  I have long been skeptical of sweeping gender narratives about how "women" are choosing some "simpler" more home-centered life.  Really?  Who are these people?  It has long seemed to me that they are middle and upper-class women who actually have more choice in the matter.  I suspect working-class women would view this narrative with disbelief mixed with bitter humor.  It's simplicity as an affluent person's life-style choice.

The Ever-Shrinking Role of Tenured College Professors (in 1 Chart) (Jordon Weissmann) from the Atlantic
"For almost 40 years, we've been witnessing the rise of the adjuncts. ... Once, being a college professor was a career. Today, it's a gig.  That, broadly speaking, is the transformation captured in the graph below from a new report by the American Association of University Professors."

Revealed: These Five Famous Flops are the Worst-selling Cars to Ever Hit American Roads from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Some are ill-conceived - appealing to a non-existent segment of the market. Others are poorly designed - offering the wrong features or inadequate options. Others are shoddily made and suffer from crippling recalls and poor reliability.  Some are just bad cars. The Yugoslavian Yugo GV is reviled by car critics as the most heinous vehicle ever to hit American roadways.  These are the five least-popular cars ever mass-produced for the American market."
Where's the AMC Gremlin?  That one should have made the list somehow.

The Ultimate Remote-Control Helicopter: US Military Set to Use Full-Sized Aircraft that is Actually a DRONE from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"At first glance, it looks like a perfectly normal helicopter. But Northrop Grumman’s new MQ-8C Fire Scout is missing one key thing - a pilot. The craft, shown off at a trade show this week, has been stuffed with electronics so it can be flown as a drone - but with all the same capabilities as a normal helicopter."

Dolphins See Themselves in Mirror from CNN via YouTube

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

News Nuggets 1216

DAYLEE PICTURE: The Painted Dunes in California's Lassen Volcanic National Park.  From National Geographic.

Pro-Gun Absolutism: The Gun Lobby’s Push to Privatize Law and Order (Will Marshall) from the Daily Beast
"In the gun lobby’s America, you’ll have to kill if you don’t want to be killed. Will Marshall on the delusional project of outsourcing public safety to private vigilantes."

Republican Threats To Filibuster Gun Bill Appear To Be Falling Apart from Talking Points Memo
"Numerous Republicans said Tuesday they won’t vote to block gun control legislation from reaching the floor, making Senate Democrats increasingly optimistic that they’ll have the necessary votes to begin debating their bill, even though final passage remains uncertain."

Stay Cool. Call North Korea’s Bluff (Andrei Lankov) from the New York Times
"People who talk about an imminent possibility of war seldom pose this question: What would North Korea’s leadership get from unleashing a war that they are likely to lose in weeks, if not days? ... the use of nuclear or other terror weapons would be certain to invite overwhelming retaliation, delivering North Korea’s decision makers to a fiery oblivion. Suggestions that those leaders are irrational and their decisions unfathomable are remarkably shallow. North Korea is not a theocracy led by zealots who preach the rewards of the afterlife."
While in the main I agree with this author, the real danger here lies in North Korean military leaders either buying into their own rhetoric (a real possibility given how misinformed many of them are about the US and the rest of the world generally) or becoming obsessed about "losing face" as the whole world watches.  See the following item for more on these types of concerns.

With Friends Like These… (Helen Gao) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Even the Chinese are finally starting to think their allies in Pyongyang are a little bit crazy."

Getting Ready for Post-Castro Cuba (Arturo López-Levy) from the National Interest
"In Cuba, a post-Castro era is looming on the horizon. The Obama administration should muster the political will to prepare the United States for February 2018, when neither Fidel nor Raúl Castro will remain at the helm of the Caribbean island."

Obama Budget Catching Hell From Both Sides: Why That’s a Good Sign (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"Liberals are howling ‘sellout’ over Social Security reform, and Republicans are readying their reflexive ‘tax and spend liberal’ attacks. That’s how you know Obama’s budget is a good one, says John Avlon."

Supreme Court Nominee-in-Waiting (Jeffrey Toobin) from the New Yorker 
"The next Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins on Wednesday afternoon, April 10th. Technically, Sri Srinivasan is just a candidate for the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, but few are misled. The stakes in this nomination are clear: if Srinivasan passes this test and wins confirmation, he'll be on the Supreme Court before President Obama's term ends."

Obama Could Win in 2014 Midterms by Losing Legislative Battles Now (Eleanor Clift) from the Daily Beast
"The president may be in trouble on guns, immigration, and the deficit, but Eleanor Clift reports that his failure could boost Democratic chances of winning back the House."
As I have noted here before, I think taking back the House in '14 is Obama's paramount goal for this next year.

Memo to the GOP: Ideas Win Elections; Winning the Issues is the Winning Strategy (David Winston) from National Review
" If the Republican party is going to fix its branding problem, then it must first focus on generating products (policies derived from those principles and ideas) that will bring back customers. That’s the real challenge ahead for the party and its candidates. Unfortunately, much of the Republican campaign-consulting community — from strategists to pollsters to ad gurus — treats candidates and their ideas as liabilities, not assets. For decades, their strategic focus has consisted of negative ad campaigns and little else."

Paul Stumbles Trying To School Howard Crowd On Black History from Talking Points Memo
"As Rand Paul told it, the biggest problem keeping African Americans from voting Republican is that they didn’t know Republicans have long been leaders on abolition and civil rights. As students at Howard University heard it, the problem was that Paul was condescending, misleading, and removed from the issues facing their community."
What a dope!  Thank God it looks like he'll be running for president in 2016.

Vichy Lives!—In a Way (Robert O. Paxton) from the New York Review of Books 
"L’Héritage de Vichy is an unconventional work—more a catalog of curiosities than a regular book. It advances a strong claim: that contemporary France still bears today many traces of the Vichy regime that governed under German occupation from 1940 to 1944."

Think Apartments in New York are Cramped? Extraordinary Images of the 'Living Cubicles' that are Home to Millions in Hong Kong from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Incredible shots offer a glimpse into the reality of living in one of the most densely populated areas of the world.  Hong Kong is home to a population of seven million crammed into an area of just 424 square miles. Claustrophobic nature of Hong Kong high-rises captured by German
photographer Michael Wolf"