Monday, April 1, 2013

News Nuggets 1209

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Kyrgyz Yurt (traditional portable hut) in Afghanistan.  From National Geographic.

Time to Get Serious (John Podhoretz) from Commentary Magazine
"To paraphrase Sun Tzu, you need to know your political antagonist if you are to prevail against him—and you need to know yourself. The truth is that Barack Obama and his liberal followers have been doing very serious work over the past four years, and the same cannot be said, alas, of far too many people who oppose them."
Podhoretz, one of the most partisan ideologues on the right, reveals a lot about the conservative mindset regarding Obama and (I think rightly) diagnoses one of the major errors Republicans have made: underestimating and even dismissing Obama.  They made the same mistake with Clinton back in the 1990s.  It is just one more problem the GOP faces by relying on the conservative media machine: it has tended to overemphasize or give too much volume to those who view Obama (and the Democrats generally) with contempt.  This, in turn, has led too many conservative political operatives and activists to overestimate Obama's weakness and underestimate how politically savvy he really is.  Even in this piece, however, Podhoretz swims freely in the ocean of right-wing dark fantasies. As with Clinton back in the 1990s, it will take a full six years if not longer for the GOP to even begin to appreciate Obama's political skills.

Ex-Reagan Budget Director: George W. Bush's Policies Bankrupt The Country from the Huffington Post
"A former adviser of Ronald Reagan has some choice words for George W. Bush. David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director from 1981 to 1985, slammed Bush and his former boss in an op-ed in The New York Times Sunday. Stockman argued in the piece that Reagan’s view on the deficit “created a template for the Republicans’ utter abandonment of the balanced-budget policies of Calvin Coolidge.”"

Lessons From a Comeback (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"...reports of the state’s demise proved premature. Unemployment in California remains high, but it’s coming down — and there’s a projected budget surplus, in part because the implosion of the state’s Republican Party finally gave Democrats a big enough political advantage to push through some desperately needed tax increases. Far from presiding over a Greek-style crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown is proclaiming a comeback. Needless to say, the usual suspects are still predicting doom..."

Three Days that Saved the World Financial System (Neil Irwin) from the Washington Post
"In only 15 minutes, the Dow Jones industrial average had fallen about 1,000 points, razing the stock prices of some of America’s biggest companies to a single penny. It would later be known as the “flash crash” and would be chalked up to strange technical factors. But in the heat of the moment, it flashed a different sort of danger. To the leaders of the European Central Bank who made up the Governing Council, who that very day had dismissed risks to their financial system, the crash seemed a striking referendum on what they had done — or rather, not done."

Stuffy Old Men: Region, Religion, Race and Class Define and Buffet GOP (Lloyd Green) from the Daily Beast
"The once-Republican Solid South is starting to look like a blue-and-red checkerboard, writes Lloyd Green."

Why Conservatives Hate College (Neil Gross) from Salon
"The right's decades-long war on academia and "liberal professors" is about defining an elite "populists" can oppose."

The New, Nicer Anti-gay Marriage Debate (Alex Pareene) from Salon
"Ross Douthat tries his best, but the arguments for "traditional" marriage aren't getting any better."

Will the GOP’s Plan to Fight Obamacare in the States Backfire? (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"The question, though, is whether governors who purposefully do a very bad job implementing Obamacare will hurt the law, or just themselves and their states. Call it the California v. Texas question."

How Immigration Reform is Scrambling American Politics (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"Since the beginning of the Obama era, Republicans have seen big, bipartisan legislative victories for the Obama administration as defeats for the Republican Party. ... The rules of politics are designed such that it’s not in the interest of the minority party to work with the majority party. There are moments when countervailing forces — be they public opinion or policy desires — can overcome the basic zero-sum nature of politics. But they’re increasingly rare."

Healthcare an Obstacle as Republicans Court Latinos from the Los Angeles Times
"As GOP members of Congress seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they risk undermining outreach efforts among the law's biggest supporters."

Opinion: No Sign of a Break to Washington’s Dismal Deadlock (Juan Williams) from The Hill
"Senate Democrats have offered a revealing peek at how they plan to keep their majority in place in 2014."

Americans' Top Critique of GOP: "Unwilling to Compromise" (Lydia Saad) from Gallup
"As Republican leaders openly scrutinize their party after a 2012 election that was disappointing for them, rank-and-file Republicans, independents, and Democrats voice the same primary criticism of the GOP: it is "too inflexible" or "unwilling to compromise." When asked to say what they most dislike about the Republican Party, 26% of Republicans, 17% of independents, and 22% of Democrats offer this critique -- leading all other mentions."

The Ultimate Easter Bunny: Heavyweight Ralph Weighs 3st 8lbs (that's Heavier than an Average Three-year-old Child) from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"He eats a diet of cabbage, broccoli, corn on the cob, sweetcorn, half a cucumber, a carrot, half a bag of watercress, two sweet apples, two slices of brown bread and Weetabix with cream crackers EVERY single day.""

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