Friday, August 30, 2013

News Nuggets 1293

DAYLEE PICTURE: Cliffside caves in the sand in Nepal.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

One Great Big War (David Brooks) from the New York Times
"What’s the biggest threat to world peace right now? ... it’s the possibility of a wave of sectarian strife building across the Middle East. ... we are seeing the emergence of a single big conflict that could be part of a generation-long devolution, which could end up toppling regimes and redrawing the national borders that were established after World War I."

Meet the Military Forces Gathering on Syria's Doorstep (John Reed) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"While the United States is ready to strike a handful of targets on the ground in Syria, any international conflict there will take place on a much larger stage. The entire region is full of a witches' brew of military hardware from more than half a dozen nations with interests in the Syrian conflict."

Syria Isn’t Iraq. Everything Isn’t Iraq (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"The purpose of air strikes is to impose a cost on regimes that deploy chemical weapons against civilians. Attacking the Syrian regime won’t stop all future massacres of civilians, or even all chemical attacks on civilians, but it does strike, on balance, as better than doing nothing at all."

The Unsaved World (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"Greece, where output is down more than 20 percent since 2007 and is still falling fast. Nobody knows when recovery will begin, and my guess is that few observers expect to see the Greek economy recover to pre-crisis levels this decade. Why are things so much worse this time?"

Fast-Food Workers Hold Massive Nationwide Strike For Livable Wages from Talking Points Memo
"Thursday’s walkouts and protests reached about 60 cities, including New York, Chicago and Detroit, organizers said. But the turnout varied significantly. Some targeted restaurants were temporarily unable to do business because they had too few employees, and others seemingly operated normally."

A Record-High Number of Young People Are Still Living With Their Parents: Why? from the Atlantic
"A story about jobs, bachelors, bachelor's degrees -- and a very weird government definition of "home""

Refusing To Help Constituents With Obamacare: Ethically Wrong? from Talking Points Memo
"What is perhaps an unprecedented refusal by some House Republicans to assist constituents in navigating Obamacare raises an interesting question about where principled opposition bleeds over into dereliction of duty."

Summers Pick Fits Obama’s Preference for Beaten Path (Era Klein) from Bloomberg
"Four years later, any newcomers Obama appointed are gone. The top slots on the economic team are all held by members of the Clinton clique."

Hogtie Texas: Voter suppression draws a strong federal response from the Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"An onerous voter ID law and a redistricting plan dared federal reaction and now deservedly gets it."

Our Congressional Fantasy from the Washington Post (Mann and Ornstein) from the Washington Post
"For a moment, we want to rise above the pessimism about politics that permeates the capital and the nation and imagine a best-case scenario for what might happen when Congress returns from its August recess."

GOP's Sad, Empty Threats (Brian Beutler) from Salon
"House conservatives evoke shipwrecked sailors marooned on a desert island who don't realize the war ended years ago.  ... The administration’s position is unshakable. The GOP’s is so ridden with loopholes, it’s a wonder more Republicans aren’t copping to the fact that the “whale of a fight” John Boehner predicted will be more like a staged professional wrestling match."

Leaderless Republican Party Endures Humiliating Week (Brian Beutler) from Salon
"Republicans' flailing spectacle during the March on Washington anniversary displayed a party with no direction."

The GOP Shouldn’t Run a Fool’s Errand (Charlie Cook) from National Journal 
"GOP lawmakers who want to shut down the government or impeach President Obama are just plain dumb."

A Party Full of Rodeo Clowns: GOP Flips the Bird to Racial Justice (Joan Walsh) from Salon
"By spurning invitations to celebrate the 1963 March, Republicans show they don't care about seeming racist anymore."

Toxic Populi (Timothy Egan) from the New York Times
"The digital village square is the marketplace of ideas. But what if that marketplace looks like the “Star Wars” bar — or worse?"

Thursday, August 29, 2013

News Nuggets 1292

DAYLEE PICTURE: A view of the city of Baiterek in Kazakhstan.  From National Geographic.

Reinforce a Norm in Syria (Nicholas D. Kristof) from the New York Times 
"Striking Syria now may seem inconsistent, but it’s better than consistently doing nothing in the face of atrocities."
I've long held a similar view of America foreign policy in general.  It is commonplace in the Arab middle east to hear US foreign policy slammed for being "inconsistent" and/or biased.  I've long responded that foreign policy informed by any kind of humanitarian values can only be thus.  Most countries in the world have very consistent foreign policies: they don't give a rat's ass what atrocities other leaders inflict on their people.  Period.  China and Russia exemplify this tendency.  It is far more remarkable that the US and others feel some compulsion to act than they they simply sit back on their laurels and "tsk tsk" from the sidelines.

How the Obama Administration Reversed Course on Syria Strikes (Eleanor Clift, Josh Rogin) from the Daily Beast
"In 48 hours, the Obama team went from controlled anger over a reported chemical-weapons attack to prepping for air strikes against Assad. Eleanor Clift and Josh Rogin go inside the shift—and assess the risks."

Kim Jong-un's Ex-lover 'Executed by Firing Squad' from the Daily Telegraph [of the UK]
"Kim Jong-un's ex-girlfriend was among a dozen well-known North Korean performers who were executed by firing squad nine days ago, according to South Korean reports."

Fast-Food Strikes Set for Cities Nationwide from ABC News
"It's expected be the largest nationwide strike by fast-food workers, according to organizers. The biggest effort so far was over the summer when about 2,200 of the nation's millions of fast-food workers staged a one-day strike in seven cities."

No Widespread Premium Increases Coming Under ObamaCare, Study Says from The Hill  
"A major new study on the likely effects of ObamaCare is challenging claims that the law will result in widespread premium increases in the individual and small-group markets."

All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes from the US Department of the Treasury
"The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage."
This is a BIG deal!!

Boehner, Cantor Turned Down Chance to Speak at March Anniversary (Updated) from Roll Call
"“They asked a long list of Republicans to come,” Bond continued, “and to a man and woman they said ‘no.’ And that they would turn their backs on this event was telling of them, and the fact that they seem to want to get black votes, they’re not gonna get ‘em this way.”"
The cold, hard reality is that the GOP has nothing to offer or to say to African Americans.  Indeed, the only use they have for minorities in general is to use them as rhetorical punching bags for racist cheap shots and fear-mongering.

Republican Lawmakers Retaliate Against Heritage Foundation from the National Journal
"Conservatives kick the right-wing think tank's employees out of planning meetings after a blowup over the farm bill. ... For Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who had publicly endorsed the farm bill, the defeat was a black eye."
More evidence of DEEP GOP divisions -- not just among their voters but within the basic power structure that helps get Republicans elected.  The Heritage Foundation is a very influential conservative think tank that gives intellectual and academic cover for much of the party's bad policy agenda.

Move Over, Obamacare: Impeachment Is The Right’s New Lost Cause (Gene Lyons) from the National Memo
"Yeah, you with the “Impeach Obama” bumpersticker on your car. The guy standing on a freeway overpass waving a “Honk for Impeachment” sign. You may as well go around in a little bird’s nest hat, like Donald Duck’s eccentric friend Gyro Gearloose."

First Term Troubles - Corbett's Numbers Continue to Drop from the Philadelphia Inquirer 
"Ridge and Rendell recovered, posting popularity numbers above 50 percent by the time they ran successfully for re-election. A Daily News/Franklin & Marshall College Poll being released today tells a different story for Gov. Corbett, a Republican up for re-election next year. Corbett's poll numbers continue to drop precipitously."

Martin Luther King’s Adorable 5-year-old Granddaughter Steals the Show at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of his 'I Have a Dream Speech' from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Yolanda Renee King, 5, kept her cool as Barack Obama hugged her mother and father and even gave her a tickle as she stood regally at forefront of the event honoring her grandfather’s march on Washington at the Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action."

America's Oldest Settler? Fruit Tree Planted by Pilgrim is Still Going Strong aged 383 Years from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"English Puritan named John Endicott planted the sapling in Plymouth Rock Thought the pear sapling imported from across the Atlantic from England Pilgrim Fathers landed at Cape Cod in 1620 to start a new colony"

Researcher Controls a Colleague’s Hand by Channelling his Brain Signals Through the INTERNET from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Scientist sent a brain signal via the internet to control hand of colleague.   This is the first ever demonstration of human-to-human brain interface. The technology could be used to help those with illnesses communicate wish for food, but some have raised ethical concerns."

Sabattus man says ‘shoot’ posting wasn’t a threat against Obama, defends using racial slur from the Bangor Daily News [of Maine]
"“We’re about to lose our benefits because of this ass****.”  Marsters said his wife, Mary, had been in and out of the hospital recently and if they lose spousal benefits, something he fears Obama will suspend, his wife will die. ...  Marsters commented on Facebook that “(Obama) is not a legal president.” Marsters was adamant that Obama’s birth certificate was a fraud. “They’ve shown us how it’s done,” he said. “It’s all done in layers on computers. How come nobody from his school’s come forward to say, ‘Oh, I know him.’ How come people from his family never say, ‘I know him. I went to his wedding; I was his best man?”"
Usually I don't post partisan rants like this one -- but this one SO EXEMPLIFIES how badly the GOP and Rush Limbaugh et al., have polluted our national politics and made people like this gentleman so deeply (and unnecessarily) anxious and unhappy.  All of this guy's "gotcha" questions about Obama's background -- ALL OF THEM -- are easily answered by a cursory look at the numerous Obama biographies that are out there.  Nobody from Obama's school ... "LOTS of those folks have come forward.  ""People from his family..." Jesus, there have been several books written about many people in his family!  What about his best man? That specific guy has actually been interviewed several times!  Even the up-front item -- Obamacare will suspend his wife's medical benefits -- bet the farm that this is false!  What I am most left with for this guy and his wife are pity, sadness, and a real fear that someday someone as warped as he is will go much further than simply posting death threats to Obama on his Facebook page.  Obama has been lucky so far that the vast majority of these deluded people combine the triple virtues of incompetence, ignorance, and sloth to create a perfect balance between all-talk and no-action.  My prayers that this will always be the case.



Beagles Rescued From Certain Death from VivaTV

Videos on how the dogs fared once they got to Los Angeles can be found here, here, and here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

News Nuggets 1291

DAYLEE PICTURE: An aerial view of the almost pre-Roman landscape of Ghadames, Libya.  From National Geographic.

Six Reasons the U.S. Will Continue to Dominate the Global Economy (A. Gary Shilling) from Bloomberg 
"Beyond the bright prospects for the return to rapid U.S. economic growth and the resulting decline in federal debt as a percentage of gross domestic product, the U.S. will enjoy six major long-term advantages over its competitors. ..."

Pennsylvania DEP Attempted To Suppress Controversial Study That Criticized Shale Gas from State Impact PA
"A state report outlining how climate change will impact Pennsylvania is currently a year and a half late – and there’s still no indication of when it will be released publicly. The Department of Environmental Protection missed its legally-mandated deadline to publish the report in the spring of 2012.  ... However StateImpact Pennsylvania has obtained a copy of the original draft climate report and internal DEP emails, which reveal an attempt by its Policy Office to suppress controversial research that questions the benefits of natural gas."
Another stellar accomplishment of the Corbet administration!

By Crossing Obama’s Red Line, Assad has Forced the US to Act (David Blair) from the Daily Telegraph [of the UK]
"For the world’s good, America’s credibility as a superpower must be maintained"

Here’s Why Obama is Giving Up the Element of Surprise in Syria (Max Fisher) from the Washington Post
"If his goal were to fully enter the Syrian civil war and decisively end it, then, yes, secrecy would be the way to go. But the administration has been very clear that it has a much more modest goal: to punish Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad for his suspected use of chemical weapons so that he, and future military leaders, won’t do it again."

Syria Debate Deepens Republican Divide from Buzz Feed
"The rapidly approaching conflict in Syria has begun to draw a deep rift between two sides of a Republican party that have long been drifting apart over foreign policy, pitting the hawkish holdovers of Bush-era neoconservatism against an ascendant libertarian wing that opposes humanitarian intervention."

A Brief History of How Living Alone Came to Seem Totally Normal from the Atlantic
"No change in the American household has been more pronounced over the last 40 years than the rise of people living alone. In 1970, only 17 percent of U.S. households contained such singletons, solo men and (more often) women getting by without kids, spouses, parents or unrelated roommates. Today, more than a quarter of all households (27 percent total) meet this definition."

Why Rebublicans Are Starting to Love Health Reform (Daniel Gross) from the Daily Beast
"Turns out a lot of Republicans love Obamacare, reports Daniel Gross. Or at least, they like coverage for their kids, health-care rebates and a ban on denying coverage for preexisting conditions."

In Dramatic Reversal, Michigan Senate Passes Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion from Talking Points Memo
"The GOP-controlled chamber approved the bill by a 20-18 vote at about 8 p.m. Tuesday after being in session for more than eight hours, much of it spent in caucus debating how to get the expansion passed. Eight Republicans finally joined 12 Democrats to pass the bill."

Impeaching Obama May Be Absurd But That Won’t Stop the Right Wing Fringe (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"The far right wants to impeach the president over Obamacare, but what truly matters is that this could become a real litmus test for conservatives. By Michael Tomasky."
A "real litmus test"?  I would say "another litmus test."  The defunding of Obamacare is right there staring at Republican lawmakers.  There are a host of lesser issues (immigration, gay marriage, gun laws ... and impeachment) that are lurking just around the corner, and Republican lawmakers are going to be sorely tested in 2014 and 2016 to give lip service to a wide array of increasingly unpopular positions or (as in the case of impeachment) positions completely disconnected from reality.  Indeed, even now Boehner and McConnell have so boxed themselves in rhetorically that is difficult to see how they will ever get through the budgetary battles that are coming up this Fall.  

Need some evidence?  See this item:
The Impeachniks Roar (Paul Waldman) from the American Prospect
"Before you know it, every Republican member of Congress is going to have to take a stand."

Just to get a fuller grasp of the "logic" concerning impeachment:
The Case for Impeaching Obama (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
"Conservative activists across the country are more obsessed than ever with removing the president from office. What do they think he's done to deserve it?"
Even a cursory look at this list shows actions that don't or won't meet the test of "high crimes and misdemeanors".  EVEN IF some of these actions were unconstitutional, it would actually take court rulings stating as much before any actual charges could *legitimately* be made in the House of Representatives.  Such efforts (see the birther litigation) have never passed muster at any court in the land.  It's no accident that the impeachment caucus has focused their efforts almost exclusively on Congress, the one place where judicial precedent doesn't matter.  All you need is the votes.  Technically, the GOP has the votes in the House -- but Boehner and the Republican leadership are not interested in wasting more time on a year+ long impeachment process.  They know there is no case for impeachment.  Moreover, they know that Obama is way more popular than they are -- and that, even if they could corral their caucus to pass out an impeachment resolution, it would die in the Senate.  An ironic side light to this conversation: the Bush administration has already shown Obama and future presidents how to short-circuit virtually any impeachment proceedings before they even get started: get some justice department lawyers to write opinions that say a president's actions are actually legal.  This is what happened with the torture issue (remember John Yu?) and with the federal attorney firings under Bush.  As a constitutional lawyer, I would be amazed if Obama wasn't hip-deep in legal opinions justifying all of the things on Ball's list.  

Embracing Misinformation on Obama (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post  
"... a large number of that 29 percent who said Obama was responsible for the Katrina response knew that he wasn’t but saw it as a chance to register their displeasure with the president. Obama has driven a large number of Republican voters — Jensen puts it at 15 to 20 percent of the overall electorate — right off their rockers. And to that, there is only one thing to say."
I have long suspected this to be the case.  

The 1963 March on Washington Still Vividly Inspires Those Fighting for Change (Jon Favreau) from the Daily Beast
"Tone-deaf media coverage and indifferent politicians were no match for the thousands who marched on Washington in 1963 to support the Civil Rights movement. Jon Favreau on why the march continues to inspire us."

Attorney Of Brian Lewis, Fired Fox News Executive, Warns Roger Ailes from the Huffington Post
"In a statement to Gawker, attorney Judd Burstein said that Lewis is no longer bound by confidentiality and that "Roger Ailes and Newscorp have a lot more to fear from Brian Lewis telling the truth about them than Brian Lewis has to fear from Roger Ailes and his toadies telling lies about Brian Lewis." Click over for the complete statement."
This could get really interesting. In case you haven't been following this inside-media story, Lewis was Roger Ailes's right hand guy and overall hatchet man since the 1990s.  He knows where ALL the bodies are buried there!

Searching For The Other Frank Girl (Jillian Cantor) from the Daily Beast 
"Jillian Cantor discusses the inspiration for her new novel, which imagines a different fate for Anne Frank's older sister, Margot.

Vice President Julian Castro? (Scott Conroy) from Real Clear Politics  
"Close your eyes for a moment and imagine it's the summer of 2016. Fresh off her victory in the primaries, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is searching for a running mate. ... It’s a hypothetical scenario, but not one that requires a stretch to think Clinton’s gaze might land here, upon the nation’s seventh largest city, where Mayor Julian Castro would be a few months shy of his 42nd birthday and have seven years in office under his belt."
Based on what I've heard about Castro, he and Clinton would make for an INCREDIBLE ticket in 2016!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

News Nuggets 1290

DAYEE PICTURE: A storm over a field in Lake Pointsett in South Dakota.  From Harpers Magazine.

Military Strikes on Syria 'as Early as Thursday,' US Officials Say from NBC News
"In three days of strikes, the Pentagon could assess the effectiveness of the first wave and target what was missed in further rounds, the senior officials said."

Obama’s Guns of August (Fred Kaplan) from Slate
"President Obama will likely bomb Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. Here is the logic—and limits—for the president’s plan of attack."

Is Bombing Syria Obama’s Best Bad Option? (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"Obama has good reasons not to let the Syrian regime’s apparent use of chemical weapons stand, but getting drawn into war with Iran would be even worse. Michael Tomasky on the torturous choice."

Obama’s New Syria Options (Leslie H. Gelb) from the Daily Beast
"With the latest chemical-weapons attack, U.S. officials are talking about Obama using military force, but with a diplomatic and humanitarian twist."

This Week in Poverty: '90 Percent of Workers Aren’t Getting Bupkis' (Greg Kaufmann) from the Nation
"One of the obstacles to addressing poverty in this country is that too many people think of low-income people as different, flawed or less than, which often leads not only to a lack of empathy but to outright blame. However, a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows just how much Americans across the economic spectrum have in common when it comes to stagnating wages."

A Texan Tragedy: Ample Oil, No Water from the Guardian [of the UK] 
"Fracking boom sucks away precious water from beneath the ground, leaving cattle dead, farms bone-dry and people thirsty."
No surprise.  Between oil spills (from traditional oil wells), massive animal feedlot operations -- and now fracking, the people (and government) of Texas have treated their aquifers as endless and indestructible resources.  Now the piper wants his money.  Will the citizens there EVER wake up?!

GOP Rep: It’s “Arrogant” to Think Humans Caused Climate Change from Salon 
"Congressman Todd Rokita questions how people "can somehow change the climate of the whole earth""
Climate Change Deniers need to learn to keep their mouths shut, especially if they are lawmakers like this one.  Increasingly, these people simply sound stupid right out of the box, even the scientist types who have sold their souls on this issue.  Scratch the surface and thier partisan, ideological agendas shine through.  Don't believe me?  Check out this item from NPR.  This scientist's underlying agenda shines through after just a few questions.

In Kentucky, Just Don't Call It Obamacare (Joan McCarter) from Daily Kos 
"... government workers at the Kentucky State Fair are hawking the virtues of Kynect, the state’s health benefit exchange established by Obamacare. The man is impressed. "This beats Obamacare I hope," he mutters to one of the workers. "Do I burst his bubble?" wonders Reina Diaz-Dempsey,
overseeing the operation. She doesn't."

Majority Of Republicans Oppose Shutdown Over Obamacare Defunding from Talking Points Memo
"In the survey of 1,000 registered voters, 53 percent of Republicans said they opposed that plan, which has been popularized by figures such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), while 37 percent favored the plan. Among all voters, 71 percent opposed the strategy, while 23 percent favored it."

Colin Powell Warns GOP Voting Restrictions Will ‘Backfire’ — Again from the National Memo
"“The country is becoming more diverse,” Powell explained. “Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans are going to constitute a majority in a generation. You say you want to reach out, you say you want to have a new message, you say you want to see if you can bring some of these voters to the Republican side. This is not the way to do it.”"

The Republican Party's 'Defund Obamacare' Disorder (Michael Cohen) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"In denial of political reality thanks to its Tea Party fringe, the GOP is revving up for a debt ceiling showdown it can only lose."

Mitch McConnell Pressed On Obamacare By Conservative Group from the Associated Press via the Huffington Post
"A conservative group is launching a radio ad challenging Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to oppose any money for President Barack Obama's health care law even if it means triggering a government shutdown. The Senate Conservatives Fund is spending nearly $50,000 on the 60-second commercial that will begin airing on Tuesday in Kentucky, where McConnell is locked in a tough race for a sixth term."
Fifty grand -- to undercut ONE OF THEIR OWN!

And then there's this item:
The Big Difference Between Cruz and Paul from Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
"The difference appears to be in the different goals both men may have right now. Rand Paul seems to be intent on trying to take over the GOP and win the internal argument; Ted Cruz seems to be about creating the brand of Ted Cruz and establishing ANTI-party credentials."

And then this one:
Can the Tea Party Find Any Candidates? (Alex Roarty) from the National Journal
"Conservatives fret that they're squandering a trio of golden opportunities to knock off vulnerable GOP senators."

The Armageddon Caucus (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post via Real Clear Politics
"If I were betting, I'd wager we will somehow avoid a total meltdown. House Speaker John Boehner seems desperate to get around his party's Armageddon Caucus."

Marco Rubio, the Real Threat in 2016, Has Been Eclipsed by Ted Cruz (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast
"Likable, authentic, and working to expand the Republican Party? Of course Rubio has been overtaken in the polls by Cruz, whose convictions match up perfectly with the GOP base."

Monday, August 26, 2013

News Nuggets 1289

DAYLEE PICTURE: A street scene in Salvador, Brazil.  From National Geographic.

Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald Challenge Independent Story from the Huffington Post 
"NSA leaker Edward Snowden accused the British government on Friday of leaking sensitive material to a newspaper he'd never worked with, the Independent, and attributing the material to him — a charge the paper heatedly denied. The paper published an exclusive story about a secret British spy base in the Middle East on the front of its Friday edition.  ... Snowden said he thought the British were "seeking to create an appearance that the Guardian and Washington Post's disclosures are harmful, and they are doing so by intentionally leaking harmful information to The Independent and attributing it to others.""
I think this story showcases very well some of the central difficulties with large-scale leaks like the ones let loose by Assange, Manning and now Snowden.  They (including Greenwald, the Wikileaks people, and so many of their acolytes) really DON'T have a handle on the details of the materials they've disclosed.  As I've noted before, it takes months to properly process with any degree of rigor even a couple hundred pages of this kind of material -- never mind TENS OF THOUSANDS of pages.  And I see no evidence so far that any of these people made even a casual attempt to fully grasp what they had.  It takes a lot of background knowledge to understand what is actually being disclosed.  Foreign and domestic diplomats and national security experts can read this material and easily deduce a hundred times more intelligence from it than Assange, Manning, Greenwald (or even the folks at the Guardian for that matter).  I strongly suspect that Snowden/Greenwald's cache of leaked material DID contain the intel cited by the folks from the Independent -- but that S-G did not have the expertise to see it.  The editor from the Independent says as much.  The second difficulty this episode showcases is that, as voters, we will NEVER know the harm these leaks have caused to national security.  All we get is the asserted benefits of transparency with none of the costs.  To hear Greenwald et al., you would think there have been no costs at all -- and the reality is we don't know.

Free at Last: On Martin Luther King's Dream 50 Years Later (Joshua Dubois) from the Daily Beast
"Instead of being in a state of perpetual struggle, an endless existential march, I believe there is far more evidence to support the idea that we are right on the verge of Zion. And the only thing that will stop us from getting there is the hopeless belief that we can’t."

Who Are the Long-Term Unemployed? from the Atlantic
The long-term unemployed tend to be people who 1) are a little bit older, and 2) got laid off from their last job..."

China's Water Pollution Off the Charts, Must Outsource Food Production (VL Baker) from Daily Kos
"With its successful bid to purchase the U.S. pork giant Smithfield, which is pending U.S. governmental approval, China has revealed its major vulnerability—that of feeding its own people. Its race to get to the top of global manufacturing has extracted the heavy cost of fouling its water, land and air..."

Rachel Maddow Tackles Voter Suppression In Boone, North Carolina from the Huffington Post
"In the video clip above, Maddow reveals the obstacle course thousands of Boone residents will now have to conquer in order to vote."

The Best Republican Efforts Are Not Enough to Defund Obamacare (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"The majority of congressional Republicans, as well as the public, think that defunding Obamacare is a bad idea. Michael Tomasky on what that means for the election cycles ahead."

Speaking of 'Republican best efforts'
Tea party: Obamacare is Now ‘BoehnerCare’ from the Washington Times 
"Tea party activists are planning to rally outside of House Speaker John A. Boehner’s Ohio office on Tuesday, telling the Republican speaker that if he doesn’t use this year’s spending fight to defund the health care law, it will hence be known to them as “BoehnerCare.” “If he funds it, he will own it,” said Janet Porter, president of Faith2Action, one of the groups participating in the rally."
As we were noting last week, this is more evidence of DEEP divisions within the GOP.  In case you've never done so, even trying to put together a rally is a lot of work!  The fact that these Tea Party people are choosing to expend resources here rather than devote their energies to something else more potentially useful or something targeting, say, Obama or the Democrats, says something about how messed up relations are right now for the GOP at the grassroots level.  Granted, I'd be surprised if they got 50 people to show up for this event -- but who knows?  If a really big crowd did show, it would just further demonstrate the splintering of the GOP coalition.

GOP in Fantasyland (Eugene Robinson) from the Washington Post via Real Clear Politics
Charlatans are peddling the fantasy that somehow they can prevent the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from becoming what it already is: the law of the land. Congress passed it, President Obama signed it, the Supreme Court upheld it, and many of its provisions are already in force and others will soon take effect."

GOP Poll Finds Strong Opposition to Government Shutdown (Byron York) from the Washington Examiner
"A new poll done for Republican members of Congress has found huge public opposition, and solid opposition among Republicans, to the idea of shutting down the government over the issue of funding Obamacare."

Republicans Only Have As Much Leverage As Obama Gives Them (Molly Redden) from the New Republic
"Acting as though they are trying to craft a win-win situation for themselves and Democrats, Republicans are creating a laundry list of expectations: “The more issues thrown in the same debate, the better—as they create more leverage points, Republicans say. ... And yet, it is not at all clear that Republicans have much leverage."

No, You’re Not Impeaching Anyone (Joan Walsh) from Salon
Tom Coburn, Ted Cruz and other crackpots can't stand up to their base and face reality. Can this party ever change?"

Demographic Shifts May Help Virginia Dems (John Harwood) from the New York Times

Axelrod Mocks Coburn Analysis that Obama is 'Perilously Close' to Impeachment (Jed Lewison) from Daily Kos
"“I think he was way out of bounds, and he speaks to a kind of virus that’s infected our politics that really has to be curbed,” Axelrod said."

Rep. Dave Joyce On Unfilled Jobs: Businesses Can't Find Enough 'Sober,' 'Drug-Free' Workers from Huffington Post
"In a speech to a local Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) argued that part of the problem is that there are millions of jobs that remain vacant each month. ... "And the trouble is, it's because they either can't find people to come to work sober, daily, drug-free and want to learn the necessary skills going forward to be able to do those jobs," he added."
These days, is it possible for a Republican to open his mouth and not offend millions of Americans?

Theater Owner Won't Show 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' (Amber Coulter) from the News-Enterprise [of Kentucky]
"Fonda’s famous anti-Vietnam War statements and demonstrations caused Boutwell to view her as a traitor to America. He said no movie involving her will show in his theater as long as he’s in charge."
Normally I don't bother to discuss stories this trivial -- but this one further makes a case I've been harping on about for years: the inability of many baby boomers to EVER get over what happened in the 1960s!  Conservative boomers especially can go from 0 to 60 on the rage scale so fast if some current political figure (say, Barack Obama) can somehow be linked to some 1960s-era event/figure/trend.  These folks will be using their wheel chairs as brick bats until the end of their days!

Preparing to be 'Empty Nesters,' the Obamas Turn to Sunny (Kevin Liptak) from CNN
"His two daughters, Sasha and Malia, are still years away from heading off to college, but Obama said he and his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, are still bracing for it. "What I'm discovering is that each year, I get more excited about spending time with them, they get a little less excited," Obama said of his two daughters in an exclusive interview with CNN "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo to air Friday."

Rescuing two dogs, a brother and a sister from life on the streets from Hope for Paws

Thursday, August 22, 2013

News Nuggets 1288

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Eurasian Eagle Owl jumps to the other end of a camera in Yorkshire, England.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Bismarck Is Lovely This Time of Year (Matthew Yglesias) from Slate 
"Lack of mobility is hardly the cause of macroeconomic distress in the United States. But it’s not helping. And it turns out that the population has grown more moving-averse over time. This aversion appears to be particularly concentrated among the native-born working class and especially men—not coincidentally the precise group that has suffered the most severe downward pressure on wages."

Americans Are Working Too Damn Hard (Laura Flanders) from the Nation 
"The anniversary of Dr. King’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is coming up. A lot of us will go to Washington again to mark that occasion, and we’ll march for jobs again, as well we should, given the current climate. But can I admit something? I wish we were marching for less work, not more of it."

Welcome to the Age of Denial (Adam Frank) from the New York Times
"The triumph of Western science led most of my professors to believe that progress was inevitable. While the bargain between science and political culture was at times challenged ... the battles were fought using scientific evidence. Manufacturing doubt remained firmly off-limits. Today, however, it is politically effective, and socially acceptable, to deny scientific fact."

The Movement to Defund Obamacare, Explained (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic 
"The activists pushing the latest Tea Party cause can't explain how their effort to stop health-care reform could ever possibly succeed. Will they shut down the government?"

GOP Leaders Near Day of Reckoning (Greg Sargent) from Washington Post 
"Republican leaders will have to level with the base about the party's lack of leverage to stop Obamacare."

Republicans Wave White Flag, Admit Shutdown Tactic is Hopeless (Brian Beutler) from Salon
"Regardless of Ted Cruz's posturing, listen closely and it's clear the GOP knows its debt limit strategy is toast."

Republican Governors: Shhh, Don’t Call Our Obamacare Money Obamacare! from Talking Points Memo
"A variety of Republican governors have sought federal funds under Obamacare, many of them to expand Medicaid eligibility for more residents, a centerpiece of the law that the Supreme Court made optional for states last year. But shhh! Don’t call it Obamacare, they say, for they despise that law."

Justice Scalia Goes Gun Crazy (Adam Winkler) from the Daily Beast
"In a recent speech Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that the Second Amendment was in part the right to revolt against tyranny. That’s just a plain wrong and dangerous."

The Great Democratic Hope: Government Shutdown from Politico
"They’d never say it publicly. But catch many Democrats in an honest moment and they would admit that a Republican-led government shut down this fall might be the best thing — perhaps the only thing — that could revive their fading hopes of capturing the House next year."

Why the GOP May Lose Virginia’s Statehouse (Jamelle Bouie) from the Daily Beast
"... if the latest poll from Quinnipiac University is any indication, the conventional wisdom is wrong—McAuliffe is stronger than expected, and Cuccinelli is much weaker than anyone imagined."

Two GOP Operatives Reveal How to Turn Texas Blue (Kevin Mahnken) from the New Republic
"Before they set their sights on the prize seats, Mackowiak said, Texas Democrats need to roll out a few small-bore wins, develop a pipeline of lower-level candidates, and reintroduce themselves to the electorate."

PRES-2016: Meet Hillary Clinton's Inner Circle from the Washington Post 
"A look at some of her closest advisers, from those you may recognize to some you may not."
There had better be some new ones!  If it's the same cast as '08, I already see a campaign in trouble.

PRES-2016: Bolton 2016? (Robert Costa) from National Review
"The hawk seriously considers a presidential campaign."
A three-ring circus simply won't contain the extraordinary number of GOP clowns who seem to be seriously considering running in 2016.  Here's the list so far: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and Pete King.  The bigger problem this creates is for the small coterie of semi-serious prospects for 2016 that are still out there: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio (I'm sorry.  Given the latest polling out of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal is gone from this list).  The stature of these folks will not be enhanced if they spend x number of highly televised debates debating with a stage chock full of idiots!  Moreover, the debates themselves will not only force the semi-serious types to embrace the more extreme positions of their party and field the dopiest questions, the debates probably will NOT adequately prepare them for what they will face in the general election.  NO WONDER the GOP establishment is pulling the primary debates from all but the most GOP friendly outlets!

Barack Hussein Milhous Nixon Impeachment Update (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"First he concluded he wanted to impeach Obama, and then he asked his lawyers how he could do that. Finally, he regards the appearance of evidence for impeachment as a matter of when rather than if (“until we have evidence,” not “unless we have evidence”)."
Everywhere one turns we see the discredited, sullied trailings of the right-wing counter narrative, one grounded in endless assertion.  They have no facts and no evidence -- only lots of big bull horns.

Why We Can and Must Focus on Preventing Alzheimer’s (David Perlmutter) from the Daily Beast
"New research shows that our diet has a significant impact on our neurological health. But why aren’t doctors acting to prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, rather than only treating them? David Perlmutter, author of the new book The Grain Brain, on the need to change our approach to healthcare."


Incredible Moment Louisiana Sinkhole Swallows 40ft High Trees in a Swamp from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
This is a pretty intense video!
"Sinkhole opened up last August after locals noticed gas bubbling on the surface and a strong smell of diesel.  It is now at least 28 acres, the size of around 21 football fields, and is continuing to grow."


Stunning Photographs Reveal Iceland in All its Splendor from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
Check out all of them!

News Nuggets 1287

DAYLEE PICTURE:  Kauai's Kalalau Trail in Hawaii.  From the Washington Post.

These next four items tie in with the issue I raised last week about the prospects for a real schism in the GOP.  As I noted, it is these state-level hard-core activist/campaign-junky types that are the bones and sinew of both parties -- and what are we seeing here? A strategist (who worked for Eric Cantor no less) who has just HAD IT with where the GOP is going -- then same thing for another GOP official in Iowa.  And then seven members of Maine's GOP committee saying they are LEAVING THE PARTY because Boehner et al (basically) are too compromising and weak! Seven!  Remember -- these are not just average voters.  These are the essential building blocks for a national party.  No wonder Boehner and other GOP establishment types are doing contortions to keep these people on side.  Based on these stories (and many others) it seems clear that moderate GOPers and a substantial number of Tea Party types are all moving to jump from the party altogether.
Veteran GOP Strategist Endorses, Advises McAuliffe from the Associated Press
"Longtime Republican political strategist Boyd Marcus is endorsing Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor and will advise his campaign. Marcus was an architect of Republican former Gov. Jim Gilmore's 1997 successful campaign. He also has advised the campaigns of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Richmond."

Iowa GOP County Chair Resigns, Says Party ‘Headed In Wrong Direction’ from Talking Points Memo
"The co-chairman of Iowa's Polk County Republican Party has stepped down and registered as an Independent, writing in a resignation letter that the GOP is "headed in the wrong direction," the Des Moines Register reported Tuesday."

Seven Members of Maine Republican State Committee Leave Party from the Portland Press Herald [of Maine]
"One of Maine's three voting members of the Republican National Committee and six other members of the Maine State Republican Committee have resigned and left the party, lambasting Gov. Paul LePage, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans for abandoning what they said are key principles for libertarians and conservatives. ... "(We) can no longer allow ourselves to be called nor enrolled as Republicans; we can no longer associate ourselves with a political party that goes out of its way to continually restrict our freedoms and liberties as well as reaching deeper and deeper into our wallets," reads the letter, signed by Maine Republican National Committeeman Mark Willis and 11 others. "We instead choose the path that focuses on ways to help our fellow Mainers outside of party politics.""

Republicans are Losing August (Taegan Goddard) from The Week
" Ten months after a brutal loss in the 2012 election, the battle for the heart and soul of the party rages. ... With Democrats defending many open Senate seats in red states, Republicans may see a "dead cat bounce" in the midterm elections. But make no mistake: The party is slowly breaking apart."

Obama's Egypt Policy Makes Perfect Sense (Aaron David Miller) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Barack Obama's Middle East policies have logic and coherence. Indeed, they follow strict directives that the president has imposed. I call them BHO's Five Commandments, and they tell you all you need to know about why the president does what he does from Cairo to Damascus."

Obamacare Exchanges Looking More Popular Than Expected (Jason Sattler) from the National Memo
"Though it received responses from fewer than half of the states, the estimates already surpass the seven million people the Congressional Budget Office predicted would take advantage of the exchanges in 2014."

The GOP’s Obamacare Youth Hoax (Matt Miller) from the Washington Post 
"It’s rare for a political party to trumpet a position that unintentionally reveals its myopia, incoherence and expediency. Yet such is the trifecta with the Republican campaign to call attention to Obamacare’s young “victims.” ... They think Obamacare is a form of injustice akin to slavery. Which makes employer-provided health care slavery on steroids. Where’s the outrage? If conservatives were consistent and principled, they would devote far more time and effort to liberating 20 million young Americans from the socialism baked into employer-based insurance and look past the Obamacare exchanges as a puny sideshow."

There Won’t be Any GOP Alternative to Obamacare (Jonathan Bernstein) from the Washington Post
"Conservative opposition to the Affordable Care Act has run Republicans into a brick wall."

Fast Food Strikes Go Nationwide on Aug. 29 (Laura Clawson) from Daily Kos 
"While the groundwork has been laid for the strikes thus far—in cities like New York, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis—by serious organizing ahead of time, the call for a national strike clearly aims to spur workers in other places to self-organize, with an online toolkit and invitation to contact organizers."

Business Tries to Tame Tea-Party Conservatives It Helped Elect (Jill Lawrence) from National Journal
"Gridlock, shutdown threats, and default are on the table this fall as weapons in the spending wars."

Republicans Need to Get Real to Reach Fiscal Deal With Democrats (Charlie Cook) from National Journal
"It's difficult to understand why any Republicans on Capitol Hill would like their odds in any kind of budget showdown this fall that could result in a government shutdown. Very simply, they would be going into a game with an incredibly weak hand, and their odds of winning would be quite small."

Republicans are their Own Worst Political Enemy (Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan) from the Washington Post
"“The party is acting as if the entire world is a GOP primary,” said Mike Murphy, a prominent Republican campaign consultant. “That is a very dangerous way to operate. We have massive image problems with the greater electorate, and the silly antics of the purist wing are making our dire problems even worse.”"

Republicans May Need Nancy Pelosi to Bail Them Out (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Top Democrats are increasingly convinced Republicans will simply not be capable of averting disaster in this fall's fiscal confrontations."

Republicans Move to the Center? Nope, They’re Crazier Than Ever (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"If you thought the GOP would adopt more moderate positions after its 2012 debacle, you were wrong. From debate threats to defunding Obamacare and even more purges, Michael Tomasky on how the insanity’s only increasing."

But Can the GOP Revise the Party? (Bill Schneider) from Reuters
"Republicans do have a debate problem. ... many Republican candidates are outside the mainstream on issues like climate change and evolution and contraception and immigration and rape and safety net programs. It looks like Republicans are trying to hide something. But the debates are not the party’s problem. The party is the party’s problem."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

News Nuggets 1286

DAYLEE PICTURE: Two Red-Eyed Frogs from Indonesia.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

California Republicans Turn to Immigration to Fight Extinction from Politico
"Already the California Republican Party is on the rocks: Democrats hold every statewide office and an unbreakable supermajority in both chambers of the state Legislature. It’s a situation top players in the state party say is the direct result of missing the demographic tidal wave before it hit — a lesson the national party should remember as they debate immigration reform."
THIS is the future -- and its coming way faster than predicted.  This is what is heading at the GOP nationally over the 6-10 years.

Obama and Egypt: The Limits of Pragmatism (John Cassidy) from the New Yorker
“Obama looks like a president in full flight from a world that looks nothing like what he imagined when he took office.”  That’s not a fair criticism. It isn’t that Obama is running away from the reality in Egypt, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries, or that he doesn’t have a coherent stance towards the region. He’s got a policy, and it’s the pragmatic, self-interested approach that the United States had adopted throughout the Middle East for decades until George W. Bush blundered into Iraq."

Secret Memo to Chinese Party Warns Against Western Ideas (Christopher Buckley) from the New York Times
"A document released to Communist Party cadres enumerated what it called subversive social currents, including Western-inspired notions of human rights, that must be fought."

Obama’s Snowden Dilemma (Scott Horton) from Harpers Magazine
"How will the Obama Administration handle Edward Snowden’s case in the long term?"

Glenn Greenwald Vows to Release UK Secrets After they Detained his Partner for 9 Hours from Raw Story
"The journalist who first published secrets leaked by fugitive former U.S. intelligence agency contractor Edward Snowden vowed on Monday to publish more documents and said Britain will be “sorry” for detaining his partner for nine hours."
Ah, Greenwald, such a man of high principle!  I recall Assange expressing similar sentiments!  These and similar statements (in my view) reveal part of what's really going here (and with Snowden, Manning, and Assange).  All of them have had it in for the US gov't for years, and, when the heat is on, their response is to look for ways to further "damage" the US.  Principle gives way to the personal.  Rather than issue hubristic threats, he would have been wiser to adopt a slow-and-steady, unflappable position of principle.  But I guess it is too late for that.

America’s Thriving Cities, From Seattle to Boston (Brandy Zadrozny) from the Daily Beast
"With low unemployment, growing populations, and burgeoning economies, these are the top 20 urban capitals of American progress."

Why Jobs Go Unfilled Even in Times of High Unemployment (Amy Sullivan) from the Atlantic
"Companies say too many applicants just don't have the right skills. Partnerships between employers and community colleges are looking to fix that."

Stupid Is A Strategy (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"The idea of a common core disturbs a lot of people on the right not because they fear that it will lead to left-wing indoctrination — it’s far too bland for that — but because it could get in the way of right-wing indoctrination, which is what they believe schools should be doing."

Maybe the Sequester Wasn't So Overstated After All ((Alec Macgillis) from the New Republic
"Not long ago, the emerging Beltway consensus was that the impact of the budget sequestration that went into effect last spring had been wildly overstated. ... Well, just in the past few days there've been several dings in that happy complacency as more and more people—including at least one esteemed conservative—become aware of sequestration's real and unexaggerated consequences."

Business Groups Aren’t Too Happy About Tea Party Mania They Helped Unleash (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Now that these conservatives are trying to drag Congress into multiple confrontations that could do untold economic damage, however, the groups that played such a big role in shaping this Congress are none too happy with the forces they helped unleash."

Graying Prisoners (Janie Fellner) from the New York Times
"MORE and more United States prisons resemble nursing homes with bars, where the elderly and infirm eke out shrunken lives. Prison isn’t easy for anyone, but it is especially punishing for those afflicted by the burdens of old age. Yet the old and the very old make up the fastest-growing segment of the prison population."

NYC's Disappearing Neighborhood Hospitals (Allison Kilkenny) from the Nation
"Since 2000, nineteen hospitals across the city have closed due to financial pressures—a number that could have even been higher had a judge not recently ordered Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Brooklyn to resume services."

War on the Core (Bill Keller) from the New York Times
"... more and more, I think Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s Republican rising star, had it right when he said his party was in danger of becoming simply “the stupid party.” A case in point is the burgeoning movement to kill what is arguably the most serious educational reform of our lifetime. I’m talking about the Common Core, a project by a consortium of states to raise public school standards nationwide."

Obamacare is Good for Young People. Here’s Why (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"No one is young, healthy and rich forever, so health insurance is insulation against the inevitable."

Anti-Obamacare Rage, Once a GOP Hit, Fizzles Despite Town Halls (Jamelle Bouie) from the Daily Beast
"Heritage Action may be launching town halls against the health-care law, but the rage that fueled the Tea Party wave has died down—and even Republicans are starting to walk away, says Jamelle Bouie."

Dems’ Secret Budget Weapon (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post 
"Little-noticed wrinkle creates big leverage."

The Defund Obamacare Movement Falls on Hard Times from the National Journal
"The defunders try to drum up support on the road as potential allies say no sale."

Tea Party Groups to Target Skeptical GOP Senators on Defunding Obamacare (Aaron Blake) from the Washington Post
"A pair of tea party groups is teaming up to pressure key Republicans to support an effort to defund Obamacare.  Tea Party Patriots and the grassroots group For America are launching online ads against a dozen GOP senators who either oppose the effort or haven’t announced a position."

Disney Animated Films: Best/Worst (Christian Blauvelt) from Entertainment Weekly
"From ''Snow White'' in 1937 to 2010's ''Tangled,'' a remarkable library of classics (but nobody's perfect...)."

Monday, August 19, 2013

News Nuggets 1285

DAYLEE PICTURE:  Old Hill Street Station in Singapore.  From National Geographic.

CIA Admits It Was Behind Iran's Coup (Malcolm Byrne) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"The agency finally owns up to its role in the 1953 operation."

Pushback Against Safety Net Cuts During August Recess (George Zornick) from the Nation
 "This opposition to cutting Social Security—and the push to actually expand it—is operating on a pretty slow burn during this annual Congressional recess. The question is how much heat concerned citizens and activists can bring to DC when it’s dealmaking time in the fall."

Judge Blocks Pennsylvania Voter ID Enforcement, Again (Adam B) from Daily Kos
"Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley today entered a preliminary injunction barring election officials from requiring Pennsylvania voters to present photo ID at this November's elections, now the fourth straight election for which the law has been placed on hold."

Why GOP Pitch to 'Missing' White Voters Will Likely Fail (Ruy Teixeira) from the Democratic Strategist
"White voters are likely to become less, not more, conservative over time, presenting a huge obstacle to this ever-increasing white Republican vote strategy. Start with the white working class. ... white working class voters are declining precipitously as a share of voters (down from 54 to 36 percent between 1988 and 2012) while white college graduates are increasing their share (from 31 to 36 percent over the same time period)."

One Reform, Indivisible (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"On the unstoppability of Obamacare: We have this system in which Congress passes laws, the president signs them, and then they go into effect. The Affordable Care Act went through this process, and there is no legitimate way for Republicans to stop it. ... their rudest shock is yet to come. You see, this thing isn’t going to be the often-predicted “train wreck.” On the contrary, it’s going to work."

Conservatives Say Grassroots Support Building for ObamaCare Shutdown (Erik Wasson and Elise Viebeck) from The Hill
"House conservatives say grassroots support is building for their effort to risk a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare. Conservatives who back the strategy said their spines have been stiffened by support at town-hall meetings."

Was Obama Rodeo Mask Just a Case of Clowning Around? (Kathleen Parker) from the Washington Post
"Question: If a black person wears a George W. Bush mask, is he racist? The next logical question answers the first: What if the clown wears a Bush mask at an event attended primarily by blacks and invites the crowd to cheer for the bulls?  This unlikely event would feel offensive for the same reasons the recent clown event did. The Missouri rodeo audience was mostly white and the masked man in the ring was depicting a black man. This changes everything we think about humor, about clowns and about good old-fashioned fun."

GOP Elites in Full Blown Panic (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post 
"Republicans are in jeopardy of convincing voters they cannot govern, as top GOPers seem to fear, it’s not clear that this is only because a shutdown has become a real possibility. A shutdown, because of its visibility and destructiveness, is obviously a glaring symbol of an inability to govern, one that voters (as the 1990s showed) easily understand in such terms."

A Terrifying Look into John Boehner’s Awful Job (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"Costa identifies two strategies Boehner and Cantor employed: One was patient, delicate diplomacy with the GOP’s right flank. The other was reckless, ridiculous promises they’ll never be able to deliver on. Both come with huge costs."

The GOP Stares Into The Abyss (Andrew Sullivan) from The Dish
"At some point, if an actual party keeps supporting ever-more-extreme policies and ever-more-harsh rhetoric, it will pay a price in popularity and elections. It’s the kind of price that is not paid in one news cycle – in fact, the news cycle mentality can even keep the show on the road for a while. ... But as these incidents accumulate and feed off each other, general impressions are formed by the intermittently interested general public. And they are not good."

If The GOP Risks Default Over Obamacare, The President Should Remember What Bill Clinton Said (Jason Sattler) from the National Memo
"The serious threat of default is a cudgel that no political party has ever used so brazenly before. If the GOP is going to wield it again and again knowing that what they’re demanding is unreasonable, President Obama should just say, “the Constitution requires me to pay the bills Congress racked up, and I intend to pay them.”"

Can a Republican Win 270 Electoral Votes in 2016...or Ever? (Myra Adams) from the Daily Beast
"As a conservative here is what I know: The GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee will be more conservative than ever, and have a heck of a time winning the Electoral College."

The Past’s Future Republican (Frank Bruni) from the New York Times 
"... if Republicans care about safeguarding their future, their wisest and best bet may be to reach back into their past. In a pack not exactly brimming with moderate, sensitive voices, Bush’s stands out as less strident, more reasonable and more forward-looking than his potential rivals’."

Senate Conservatives Fund To Make McConnell ‘Feel The Heat’ In KY Campaign from Talking Points Memo
"On Friday, a leading tea party-aligned group previously associated with Jim DeMint announced they were planning a "statewide media campaign in Kentucky" to make McConnell "feel the heat" and support a conservative effort to defund Obamacare."
That's right -- spend BIG on defeating people like Mitch McConnell!!

Russell Moore: From Moral Majority to 'Prophetic Minority' (Naomi Schaefer Riley) from the Wall Street Journal
"The new leader of the Southern Baptist political arm says Christians have lost the culture and need to act accordingly. ... The easy days of mobilizing a ready-made majority are gone. By "prophetic minority," he means that Christians must return to the days when they were a moral example and vanguard—defenders of belief in a larger unbelieving culture. He views this less as a defeat than as an opportunity."

New Package, Same Fox: Ailes Courts the Non-Elderly (Jordon Chariton) from Salon
"Millennials reject the network's anti-Obama focus -- leaving Roger Ailes with an aging audience and big trouble.  ...  Roger Ailes will eventually be met with a monumental decision: change his network’s DNA to a more moderate version to stave it off from extinction, or ride out into the sunset with the older folks that got him to No. 1 in the first place."

Superhero Smackdown: Who Would Win in a Fight: Marvel or DC? (Douglas Wolk) from Slate
"As with those two crime fighters, DC and Marvel are both colorful public fronts with staggering amounts of corporate cash and power behind them: DC Entertainment is owned by Time Warner, and Marvel Entertainment is part of the Walt Disney Company. That’s where the similarities end."

Are You White? Then You Should Probably Watch This (Aisha Harris) from Slate
"In this new film, he attempts to address a few very complex questions about race and ethnicity, while featuring interviews with notable scholars including Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, and Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree. Interspersed throughout are candid comments from white students discussing their views on affirmative action and whiteness. The film poses some big questions: “What does it mean to be white?” “Isn’t racism a thing of the past?” “What about us?” “Shouldn’t we be colorblind?”"