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

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