Thursday, February 28, 2013

News Nuggets 1193

DAYLEE PICTURE: A mother and baby Sperm Whale in the Caribbean near Dominica.  Form the Daily Mail of the UK.

A Political DUI (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"We have a political system that is the equivalent of a drunk driver. The primary culprits are the House Republicans. They are so intoxicated with their own ideology that they are ready to drive the nation’s car off the road."

GOP Divisions Throw Wrench In Sequester Alternatives from Talking Points Memo

"It’s well known that Republicans are divided over whether they should drag out a sequestration fight with President Obama, or meet him part way by agreeing to new tax revenues. But the divisions actually run deeper than that."

Republicans are Losing the Spending Argument (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake) from the Washington Post
"For the past several years, congressional Republicans have focused relentlessly on a single message: Washington — led by President Obama — is spending too much money, and it needs to stop. But according to new Washington Post-ABC News polling, that laser-like focus isn’t helping Republicans win the argument over federal spending — with 67 percent of those tested disapproving of the “way Republicans in Congress are handling federal spending.”"

Sequester Poll Gives GOP Low Marks On Federal Spending from the Huffington Post
"Both parties give their rivals low marks, but troublingly for the GOP, its approval rating among its own is only nominally higher than Obama's overall rating. Just 44 percent of Republicans said they approved of their party's approach, compared to 51 percent who disapproved, and Republicans were more likely than Democrats or independents to say they disapproved of both sides of the debate."

Cuts Will Turn Off Voters GOP is Courting (Maria Cardona) from CNN 
"Instead of trying to find a way to avoid these steep cuts, and to keep faith with their newfound concern for the middle class, Republicans are doubling down on the "my way or the highway" mentality that put them in an electoral hole to begin with."

Moderate, Conservative Republican Groups Call Each Other ‘Cancer,’ ‘RINO’ Ahead of 2014 (Patrick Howley) from the Daily Caller

"Former Ohio Republican congressman and Republican Main Street Partnership head Steve LaTourette on Wednesday blasted a new effort by the conservative organization Club for Growth to field primary challengers for moderate Republican congressmen, calling the organization a “Cancer” on the Republican Party. Club for Growth quickly shot back, calling LaTourette a “liberal RINO.” The feud between the two organizations highlights the growing conflict within the GOP as the party prepares for the 2014 midterm elections."

Why Asian-Americans Have Turned Their Backs on the Republican Party (Lloyd Green) from the Daily Beast
"As recently as the 1990s, the fast-growing group leaned right. Lloyd Green on what changed."

Hillary the Field-Clearer: When it Comes to Non-incumbent White House Candidates, She Really Could Break the Mold if She Runs (Steve Kornacki) from Salon
" one who has actively promoted Clinton’s field-clearing potential, I’d argue that an even closer examination of the history of modern presidential nominating contests suggests the former secretary of state could potentially enjoy an easier path to the nomination than any non-incumbent who’s run."

No, Hillary Clinton is Not Too Old to be President (Joan Walsh) from Salon 
"Even some Democrats suggest she can't win the White House at 69. Here's why that's silly -- and maybe sexist."

Dems 2016: Will Hillary Clinton Clear the Field? from Politico
"The ranks of Democratic governors are filled with ambitious politicians boasting records that would probably play well with primary voters in 2016. But even as they eye a move from the statehouse to the White House, there’s broad recognition among the chief executives that the next generation of Democrats may have to wait longer than four more years to take their place as President Barack Obama’s heir."

PPP: Russ Feingold Poised For Comeback, Could Top Scott Walker Next Year from Talking Points Memo
"The poll indicated that Feingold could get the last laugh on the Republican who ousted him in the 2010 midterms. In a hypothetical 2016 Senate matchup, 52 percent said they would vote for Feingold over Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who picked up 42 percent support."

Why the GOP Doesn’t Love Chris Christie (David Freedlander) from the Daily Beast
Christie’s snub by CPAC underscores that many on the right still distrust the New Jersey governor over his Obama embrace, attacks on Republican lawmakers over Sandy aid—and because they don’t think he’s much of a conservative."

Tessa's Rescue and Rehab - A Blind Dog Who Couldn't Walk from Hope-for Paws and the Bill Foundation


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

News Nuggets 1192

DAYLEE PICTURE:A Rough Green Snake in a maple tree in Japan.  From National Geographic.

China Has Its Own Debt Bomb (Ruchir Sharma) from the Wall Street Journal 

"Not unlike the U.S. in 2008, China is at the end of a credit binge that won't end well."

Revanchist China (John Lee) from Project Syndicate
"As Obama and Abe forge a common strategy aimed at helping to manage China’s rise peacefully, they must understand that China’s conception of renewal seeks to resurrect a glorious past, and that this implies revision, not affirmation, of the existing regional order. This means that they will have to limit China’s strategic and military options, even if they cannot constrain its ambitions."

Italy’s Political Mess: Why the Euro Debt Crisis Never Ended (Michael Schuman) from Time Magazine
"The political upheaval in the euro zone’s third-largest economy in the wake of this week’s national election shows us just how troubled the euro zone really is, and how dangerous its debt crisis remains to the global economy."

Overturning The Voting Rights Act Would Be Seminal Moment For Conservative Legal Movement from Talking Points Memo
"The case carries important implications, not merely for voting rights in the mostly southern regions targeted by Section 5 but also for the conservative legal movement’s longstanding efforts to limit the scope of federal power."

Trust and Society (Bruce Schneier) from the Montréal Review
"In today’s society, we need to trust not only people, but institutions and systems. It’s not so much that I trusted the particular pilot who flew my plane this morning, but the airline that produces well-trained and well-rested pilots according to some schedule. And it’s not so much that I trusted the particular taxi driver, but instead the taxi licensing system and overall police system that produced him. Similarly, when I used an ATM this morning — another interesting exercise in trust — it’s less that I trusted that particular machine, bank, and service company — but instead that I trusted the national banking system to debit the proper amount from my bank account back home."

Poll: Republicans 'Out of Touch' from Politico
"Sixty-two percent of adults say the GOP is out of touch with the American people, 56 percent say it’s not open to change and 52 percent say it’s too extreme, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday. ... “Opinions about the Democratic Party are mixed, but the party is viewed more positively than the GOP in every dimension tested except one,” the Pew survey states. “Somewhat more say the Republican Party than the Democratic Party has strong principles (63 percent vs. 57 percent).”"

Why Republican Governors Hate the Republican Congress (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic

"The party's stars in the states have stayed popular by showing they can govern -- unlike their counterparts on Capitol Hill."

A Day in the Life of the Republican Party’s Search for Newness (Mark Halperin) from Time Magazine
"In the internal divisions over how to handle the end of the endgame on the sequester PR fight, the GOP is oh-so divided on what kind of legislation to offer.  Lindsey Graham and a few others are suddenly born-again tax raisers. John McCain is affronted by the notion of turning spending decisions fully over to the President.  And there remains a deep, subterranean fear that the White House would win the hearts-and-mind battle (big) if the current cuts kick in."

The GOP vs The Pentagon? (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Dish
"The trouble is: whichever of these positions the GOP takes will hurt them.  The president’s proposals for debt reduction are simply much more reasonable and pragmatic and doable than the GOP’s – and he has far higher favorable ratings than the Congressional Republicans."

If Spending is Cut, GOP Will Get the Blame (Julian Zelizer) from CNN 
"Although many Republicans are standing firm, insisting that their party will be fine if the cuts go through, there are many reasons for the GOP, through a sober eye, to see the dangers that lay ahead. The cuts could push congressional politics in a liberal direction and establish the foundation for solid Democratic gains in 2014."

How the Sequester Will Harm Republican States (Daniel Gross) from the Daily Beast
"Republicans cheering for the sequester to kick in this week may find that their big-government states will suffer the most. Daniel Gross on the budget's poetic justice."

The GOP Rage Machine and Its Mainstream Apologists (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"How the credulousness of mainstream media figures like Bob Woodward and Ron Fournier enables Republican extremism. By Michael Tomasky."

PRES-2016: Christie Not on CPAC's Guest List from CNN
"It’s considered a key speaking engagement for any Republican considering a bid for president, but one potential 2016 candidate didn’t get an invitation to this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference."
It's amusing how quickly the list of "hot GOP talent" for the nomination in 2016 is already being winnowed down.  The list seems so rich with viable prospects: Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and on.  But I think one can take this as a harbinger of what awaits Gov. Christie.  He's barely even cleared his throat and he's already toast. 

And what about that Bobby Jindal?
LA-GOV: Bobby Jindal Faces Deepening Troubles In Louisiana from the Huffington Post
"... recent polls suggest that Jindal's once-formidable job performance rating has fallen below 50 percent just over a year after he was re-elected without serious opposition. "He's got a large number of people in Louisiana who just do not like him," said Baton Rouge-based pollster Bernie Pinsonat, not usually a Jindal critic."

The Robot Will See You Now (Jonathan Cohn) from the Atlantic

"IBM's Watson—the same machine that beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy—is now churning through case histories at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, learning to make diagnoses and treatment recommendations. This is one in a series of developments suggesting that technology may be about to disrupt health care in the same way it has disrupted so many other industries. Are doctors necessary? Just how far might the automation of medicine go?"

Monday, February 25, 2013

News Nuggets 1191

DAYLEE PICTURE:  A very small frog on the head of a match in Jakarta, Indonesia.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Deterrence After the Cold War (Paul R. Pillar) from the National Interest 
"Why did we unlearn strategic lessons so quickly?"

The Coming Atlantic Century (Anne-Marie Slaughter) from Project Syndicate 
"Western fortunes are rising, slowly but surely. Together, Europe and the US account for more than 50% of global GDP, have the largest military force in the world by many multiples, and control a growing proportion of global energy reserves. They also have a formidable diplomatic and development-assistance capacity, representing a peaceful community of democracies that share a common commitment to the rights, dignity, and potential of all human beings."

The Skeletons in Benedict's Closet (Elias Groll) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"A guide to the sex abuse scandals under Pope Benedict XVI's watch."

Vatican Denies Gay Blackmail Rumors (Andre Tarta) from New York Magazine 
"While the Vatican initially kept quiet on the story, a spokesman now says that it's "misinformation," not to mention "gossip," "slander," and "calumny." "
In the days of Woodward & Bernstein, this would clearly be labelled a "non-denial denial."  These are fairly transparent wiggle terms -- what is missing is the phrase "completely false," and I suspect it is no accident that it is missing. 

Thoughts on the Vatican's 'Gay Lobby' (John L. Allen) from the National Catholic Reporter
"Among many cardinals, it's become a fixed point of faith that the Vatican is long overdue for a serious housecleaning, and certainly the furor unleashed by the La Repubblica piece is likely to strengthen that

A World Without Work (Ross Douthat) from the New York Times
"Our jobless future may be more sustainable than we imagine."

How Many Ph.D.'s Actually Get to Become College Professors? (Jordan Weissmann) from the Atlantic
"... long term, if you graduated in the class of 2011, your chances of living the academic dream appear to have been pretty slim.  ... With tenure relatively rarer than it was 30 years ago, it's fair to assume that an even larger portion of tomorrow's full professors will come from the Ph.D.'s who land academic jobs off the bat. And as we've seen, that group is getting pretty small."

GOP Blame Game Self-Destructs (Jonathan Bernstein) from Salon
"Party's attempt to pin looming, across-the-board cuts on Obama makes striking a deal virtually impossible."

Woodward Misses The Mark from Talking Points Memo
"...the entire purpose of an enforcement mechanism is to make sure that the enforcement mechanism is never triggered. The key question is what action it was designed to compel. And on that score, the Budget Control Act is unambiguous."

Battered GOP Governors Change Tune Ahead of 2014 from Politico 
"They stormed into office two years ago willing to knock heads and make enemies. But now several Republican governors are suddenly in a fix – up for reelection next year in states that Barack Obama carried in November, and with dangerously low approval ratings."

Court Finds No Right to Conceal a Firearm from the New York Times
"A federal judge in 2011 tossed out Mr. Peterson’s lawsuit filed against Denver and Colorado’s Department of Public Safety. He claimed that being denied a concealed-weapons permit because he was not a Colorado resident violated his Second Amendment rights to bear firearms. According to gun rights groups, Colorado is one of about two dozen states that do not honor concealed weapons permits from Washington State."

"Hubris": New Documentary Reexamines the Iraq War "Hoax" (David Corn) from Mother Jones Magazine
"An MSNBC film, hosted by Rachel Maddow and based on Michael Isikoff and David Corn's book, finds new evidence that Bush scammed the nation into war."

Dog Rescue: Roadie, an abandoned pitbull from Hope for Paws

The Grim Reality of the Civil War in Color: Painstaking Photoshopping of Classic Images Brings the Past to Vivid Life from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Imagine if the great historic photographs of the Civil War had been taken using modern cameras which could have captured the detail and the depth of the historic occasion in vivid color rather than black and white. Now you can after modern day photographer John C. Guntzelman employed Photoshop to accurately colorize a series of classic images by the most celebrated photographers of the civil war era including Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

News Nuggets 1190

DAYLEE PICTURE: A STEEP road on Gold Hill in Shaftesbury in the UK.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

The Cool War (David Rothkopf) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Cold War technology made war unthinkable. Cool War technology makes it irresistible."

Revealed: al-Qaeda's 22 Tips for Dodging Drones from the Daily Telegraph [of the UK]
"Al-Qaeda's list of 22 tips for dodging drone attacks - including at least one believed to originate with Osama bin Laden - has been found hidden inside a manila envelope in a building abandoned by Islamists in Mali."

Did a Secret Vatican Report on Gay Sex and Blackmail Bring Down the Pope? from the Atlantic
"... according to the major Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the real reason he resigned is because he did not want to deal the repercussions of a secret 300-page Vatican dossier that allegedly found, among other things, an underground network of high-ranking gay clergy, complete with sex parties and shady dealings with the already scandal-ridden Vatican bank. Here's what we know:"

Infused with New Confidence, Obama Takes No Prisoners (Gerardo Morina) from the Corriere Del Ticino [of Switzerland in English]
"His re-election for a second term has infused Barack Obama with confidence. In less than four years, the president leaves the White House. He could from now on adopt the gait of a lame duck. After all, he never has to win the consent of the voters again. ... But his agenda is ambitious, and Obama will defend it with the air of one who has decided to attack and is able to look beyond the politics of the moment."

For Obama Team, Calm, Not Crisis, in Latest Fiscal Battle from the New York Times
"President Obama is just seven days away from the first big test of his second term, as deep spending cuts loom."

Democrats Find Sequester Advantage In GOP Intransigence (Michael McAuliff) from the Huffington Post 
"In a memo sent Friday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee argued that "Tea Party House Republicans are determined to drive the country over the sequester cliff, and their rigid ideology will not only kill more than a million jobs, but will do even more damage to an already imperiled Republican brand.""

Sequester Showdown (Michael Scherer) from Time Magazine
"Talking to Republicans and Democrats drafting strategy, there is a clear difference in morale. Republicans are fighting a battle they never wanted to be fighting, with little momentum, a smaller soap box and the most fragile unity within their own caucus. Obama and the Democrats, by contrast, feel ascendent, buttressed by high polls and a recent ballot box win, and are ready to mark what they will believe to be the next body blow to the Republican no-new-taxes-ever vision of shrink-the-beast governing."

Governors Fall Away in G.O.P. Fight Against More Medicaid from the New York Times
"After vigorous lobbying by the health industry, seven Republican governors are moving to accept federal funds under the health care law to add medical coverage for more low-income people."

GOP Governors Make Peace with Obamacare (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"“It is not a white flag of surrender,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. This was technically true: Scott did not wave a banner of any color when he announced Wednesday that he wants Florida to expand Medicaid, a key piece of Obamacare. But make no mistake: Scott, a tea party Republican and outspoken critic of the law, was laying down arms in defeat."

Organizing for Action Targets GOP Lawmakers in First Ad Buy from the Los Angeles Times
"The online ad buy, which cost close to six figures, is the first such campaign by Organizing for Action, the month-old advocacy group formed by top advisors to President Obama to build momentum for his legislative agenda. The ads are going live the same day as the group launches its first national mobilization, a so-called day of action featuring 100 events around the country aimed at demonstrating support for Obama’s gun violence reduction plan."
The Obama people here are engaging in an interesting experimet.  Executive branch targeting of specific lawmakers has a poor track record of producing results -- HOWEVER, given the unprecedented results Team Obama got from these same folks in the last election, I'm paying more attention to see if there is anything substantively different in this effort.  There might be.  At minimum, I suspect that OFA will succeed in cementing the youth vote and other constituencies that OFA's microtargeting were able to tap into in 2012 but that the GOP largely missed.  Thus, at least this approach could easily yield some potential long-term lasting gains at the grassroots level.

Deluded Republican Reformers (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast 
"Conservative pundits’ ideas about fixing the GOP are totally meaningless, says Michael Tomasky, until they deal with the problem of their party’s rage-driven fanaticism."

Texas GOP Chair: State Could Be In Play In 2016 If Hillary Runs from Talking Points Memo
"It's been more than three decades since Texas went blue in a presidential election, but a top Republican there fears that the GOP may not have the state's 38 electoral votes in the bag in 2016 if Hillary Clinton is at the top of the Democratic ticket."

Conservative Group Calls for End of Arpaio Recall. Threatens Lawsuit. Ha Ha Ha! (Mother Maggs) from Daily Kos
"They should be worried, which is why they're pulling out the legal mumbo-jumbo to squelch the recall effort. First they argue that it's unconstitutional to recall Sheriff Arpaio because he hasn't done anything wrong. There are "no valid reasons," they say. I'll let that sink in for a minute. No, nothing wrong. Only crime, cronyism and political vendettas."

American Star Power Still Rules the Globe (Richard Wike) from CNN
"Surveys consistently show that movies – and more broadly, American popular culture – are a strong suit of U.S. soft power. And, while studio executives spend considerably more time thinking about box office returns than public diplomacy, Tinseltown is actually pretty effective at nudging America’s international image in a positive direction. ... And it’s not just Europe – about seven-in-ten of those surveyed in Japan, Brazil, and Mexico, for example, say they enjoy U.S. movies, music, and television. In nearly all countries included in the survey, America’s pop culture is especially attractive to young people. For instance, a stunning 94 percent of Germans under age 30 like it, while just 47 percent of those 50 and older agreed. Huge age gaps are also found in Russia, France, Britain and elsewhere."

Rush Limbaugh Is “Ashamed” Of His Country For The First Time In His Life (Dorsey Shaw) from Buzz Feed
"The conservative radio star blames insults to his intelligence and a “fear and panic” strategy rolled out by Democrats, Republicans and the media in response to proposed spending cuts."
Time for a snide rejoinder: What's good for the goose is good for the gander: you don't like it here, why don't you go and check out some of those small government wonderlands like Somalia or Ethiopia ... or better yet that model of right-wing reconstruction Iraq?  You can send us a podcaste once in a while.

The Most Breathtaking Pictures Yet of Russian Meteorite: Photographer Captured Exploding Space Rock on Camera... Despite Thinking it was Nuclear Bomb That Would Kill Him from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A professional photographer today told of the moment he feared a nuclear bomb had gone off when the Russian meteorite tore through the sky as he took pictures of an idyllic rural scene.

What the National Mall Looked Like 150 Years Ago (And Now) from the National Journal
"In the days of Lincoln, the capital city was a sparsely adorned swamp."

Friday, February 22, 2013

News Nuggets 1189

DAYLEE PICTURE: The Cuckoo Wasp in Italy.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Pope Benedict Retired After Inquiry into 'Vatican Gay Officials', says paper from the Guardian [of the UK]
"Pope's staff decline to confirm or deny La Repubblica claims linking 'Vatileaks' affair and discovery of 'blackmailed gay clergy'"

Iran Is Still Botching the Bomb (Jacques E. C. Hymans) from Foreign Affairs
"It is Time for Israel and the United States To Stop Overreacting. ... Rather than being hampered by James Bond exploits, Iran's nuclear program has probably suffered much more from Keystone Kops-like blunders: mistaken technical choices and poor implementation by the Iranian nuclear
establishment. There is ample reason to believe that such slipups have been the main cause of Iran's extremely slow pace of nuclear progress all along."

Iran Can’t Agree to a Damn Thing (Patrick Clawson) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Let's face it: The Islamic Republic is just too dysfunctional to cut a nuclear deal."

Republican Strategists Doubt Wisdom Of Hammering Obama Over Benghazi from the Huffington Post
"I missed the meeting among Republicans where it was decided this would become an angry cause célèbre that should be pursued at all costs and with no holds barred," Republican strategist Ed Rogers told NPR. "I think there is Benghazi fatigue -- a lot of conscientious followers of the news that are somewhat bewildered by why this issue has lingered."
When you have nothing, anything becomes everything!

Joe Biden’s Shotgun Approach to Politics Good for Obama Administration (John Avlon) from the Daily Beast
"Far from being a gaffe, Biden’s ‘buy a shotgun’ comment undercuts the ‘Obama wants your guns’ crowd—and is another example of the vice president’s important role in selling White House policy, says John Avlon."

The Republican Party Needs a Reality Check (Michael Gerson) from the Washington Post
"Republican primary voters, party activists and party leaders have a choice to make, ruthlessly clarified by recent events. They can take the path of Democrats in 1988, doubling down on a faltering ideology. Or they can follow the model of Democrats in 1992 and their own party in 2000, giving their nominee the leeway needed to oppose outworn or extreme ideas and to produce an agenda relevant to our time."
Good idea.  Won't happen.

Why the GOP Needs its Own Bill Clinton (Ryu Spaeth) from The Week
"The party of Reagan could use a figure like Bubba, who shepherded Democrats out of the political wilderness."

The Fading Conservative Brand (Rod Dreher) from the American Conservative 
"My side was losing, but we found it easier to blame the fools who voted for Reagan, or to blame Reagan for being such an accomplished liar, than to examine ourselves and our own beliefs. (When I did begin to do that, my liberalism, which was primarily attitudinal, faded away.) This is pretty much the case with conservatism today, I’m afraid."

Poll: Obama’s Popularity With Latinos Soars After Immigration Push from Talking Points Memo
"President Obama is riding a huge surge in popularity in public opinion surveys among Hispanics, who are overwhelmingly excited about his second-term efforts to pass immigration reform.  Obama’s approval rating stands at 73 percent among Hispanics, a 25-point swing from his low of 48 percent in late 2011."

How Immigration Threatens to Tear the GOP Apart (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake) from the Washington Post
"The Republican political establishment sees immigration reform as a political necessity. Much of the party’s base sees it as the end of the rule of law.  And therein lies the problem for a party trying to pick itself up off the mat following an across-the-board defeat in 2012."

Marco Rubio Is Not Ready for Prime Time (Aaron David Miller) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"If the Florida senator wants to save the Republican Party, he's got to come up with a foreign policy for the real world."

Boehner: Sequester Threatens National Security And Jobs, But I Won’t Stop It (Commentary) from National Memo
"Republicans — by Speaker Boehner’s own admission — are threatening national security and hundreds of thousands of American jobs to protect tax breaks for corporations and the richest Americans who have benefited most from the recovery. If that’s the lesson they learned from the 2012 election, 2014 could be a very good year for Democrats."

Democrats' Economic Narrative Still Trumps GOP's (Stuart Rothenberg) from Roll Call
"Congressional Republicans figured that after the fiscal cliff, they’d have the advantage talking about the sequester and, down the road, the continued funding of the government. Clearly, they were wrong."

Why Obama is Rising in the Polls — and Republicans Aren't (Harold Maass) from The Week
"A Bloomberg poll puts the president's approval numbers at a three-year high, while GOP leaders are at a three-year low.  ... This poll suggests the GOP isn't just wrong, its understanding of public attitudes is the exact opposite of reality. The public is prepared to hold Republicans responsible for this self-inflicted wound that will undermine the economy, the military, and public needs. The one thing the GOP is counting on — avoiding blame at all costs — is already failing miserably. "

Ann Coulter Lashes Out At Republicans And Latinos Over Immigration Reform from the Huffington Post 
I usually ignore Coulter because she is such an incendiary political ambulance chaser -- but here I think she unintentionally says what many average GOP voters think -- and she showcases why all talk of Republicans wooing the Latino vote is so much empty rhetoric.  Most Latinos got Coulter's message long ago.
"Ann Coulter has given up on the Latino vote. In an opinion piece riddled with errors and unattributed statistics, the conservative columnist lashed out at Republicans working to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, saying that Latinos will never vote for the GOP because they are too poor and government-dependent."

The Most Underrated (and Overrated) Presidents! (Chris Cillizza) from the Washington Post
"In honor of President’s Day earlier this week, we asked Fixistas to give us their nominees for the most underrated and overrated presidents in history — and why."
I agreed with most of the under-rated examples (exception: John Tyler) - and disagreed with all of the over-rated examples.  The problem with these kinds of public nomination assessments is they reflect so much how ignorant most Americans are of their own history.  Of course Washington, Jefferson and FDR look over-rated -- if you are clueless about what they actually accomplished!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

News Nuggets 1188

DAYLEE PICTURE:  Obama in the Oval Office.  From the White House.

Scientology for Rednecks: What the GOP Has Become from the Huffington Post 
THIS from a former GOP staffer!! OMG!! Read the whole thing!
"As with many religions, political parties have a tendency to start as a movement, transform into a business, and finally degenerate into a racket designed to fleece the yokels. One organization which has gone out of its way to illustrate this evolution is the Republican Party. "

Russian Meteor Kicks Up Cloud of Mistrust (Leonid Bershidsky) from the Bloomberg News Service
"If I had to choose a single word to describe the dominant attitude in Russian society, it would be “mistrust.” The meteor, or possibly small asteroid, that exploded over the Ural Mountains city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15 illustrated this as few other events could. ... Trust is higher in societies “with stable and open institutional systems,” and lower in societies “with a high level of violence, aggression, an authoritarian or totalitarian form of government.” In repressive societies, “mistrust becomes an important strategic resource for social survival, success and upward mobility.”"

Obama Rated at 3-Year High in Poll, Republicans at Bottom from Bloomberg News Service
"President Barack Obama enters the latest budget showdown with Congress with his highest job- approval rating in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents’ popularity stands at a record low."

On issues, Public is More Aligned with Obama than GOP (Susan Page) from USA Today
"President Obama starts his second term with a clear upper hand over GOP leaders on issues from guns to immigration that are likely to dominate the year, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds. On the legislation rated most urgent — cutting the budget deficit — even a majority of Republican voters endorse Obama's approach of seeking tax hikes as well as spending cuts."

John Kerry: The un-Hillary Clinton from Politico
"In the three weeks since Kerry succeeded Clinton as secretary of state, he’s already sent unmistakable signals of his independence with a more assertive, proactive and risk-taking stewardship of America’s foreign policy — with a more sustained focus on the Middle East and Europe than his predecessor, according to current and former administration officials."

Why Congress Won’t Win a Sequester Showdown with President Obama — in 3 Easy Steps (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake) from the Washington Post 
"...why Republicans in Congress would do well to avoid a confrontation with President Obama over the sequester. Here’s why — in 3 very simple steps:..."

The Ph.D Bust: America's Awful Market for Young Scientists—in 7 Charts (Jordan Weissmann) from the Atlantic
"The graphs below, drawn from National Science Foundation Data and some of my own calculations, depict Ph.D. employment at graduation. ... But looking at these figures over time, it seems pretty obvious that there's no great run on trained scientists in this country. "

How to Save the Republican Party (Michael Gerson & Peter Wehner) from Commentary Magazine
This lengthy analysis by two leading conservative pundits is quite interesting!
"The Republican Party is in trouble: In the wake of the presidential election, everybody has said so, and everybody is right. ... Then there is the quality of the candidates fielded by the two sides. Democrats have nominated two candidates—Bill Clinton and Barack Obama—endowed with formidable political skills. The former is one of the most naturally gifted politicians in modern American history; the latter is one of the most ruthlessly efficient ones. ... Intellectual honesty is the first requirement of self-renewal. Republican problems are not superficial or transient."
This last sentence is key.  The GOP (on SO MANY levels) has become the party of intellectual DIShonesty, I can't imagine how its current leadership at almost all levels could do anything about it -- given that it has been this dishonesty which created their path to power in the first place.  In the realm of intellectual honesty, there are many central issues that Gerson & Wehner don't even get near.  First, GOP leaders and lawmakers have to stop tolerating bigoted and stupid loudmouths for the sake of winning one or two news cycles! When Obama is accused of being a muslim or wanting to destroy America or when state Republican officials come out with dumb offensive statements against immigrants, women, gays, the poor, or when Rush Limbau says civil rights leader John Lewis should have carried guns in Selma back in 1963, it is at precisely those moments that GOPers who style themselves as national leaders need to stand up and call these people stupid, ignorant and offensive to common decency. What we have had for years is a complicity of silence from leading Republicans which prioritizes character assassination and inflicting momentary damage on your political opponents over anything else.  Second, in the area of foreign policy Republicans need to reckon with their legacy in Iraq and Afghanistan.  This includes not just the lack of WMDs (one of the biggest FP blunders in US history!) and the mishandling of the reconstruction in both places but also includes their embrace of torture and the damage that did to America's reputation around the world and the already shaky moral case the US had for going into Iraq in the first place.  As with so much about Bush 43's administration, the GOP's response has been to pretend like that presidency didn't even happen. By most appearances, the Republicans (led by the likes of McCain and Graham) have learned nothing from all of this.  The Chuck Hagel confirmation hearings were a golden opportunity to showcase all of these bitter legacies; unfortunately Hagel did not come prepared to make the case.  For most Americans, though, no case really needs to be made.  It is only within Republican foreign policy circles that the Iraq war still viewed as worth the extravagant waste in lives and treasure.  Indeed, Romney's foreign policy team was made up almost exclusively of these unrepentant hawks.  After Vietnam, Democrats spent several decades openly and honestly searching for the appropriate lessons to draw from that conflict.  As best as I can see, the GOP has not spent five minutes.  I could go on and on.  Intellectual honesty is definitely needed from Republican leaders -- and yet will it happen?  I cannot see how, given their current leaders and opinion-shapers.

The Fall Of The GOP True Believers (Gene Lyons) from the National Memo 
"Beyond mischief-making, however, there are signs that conservative thinkers are beginning to challenge moribund Republican orthodoxy. The water is moving under the ice. Heterodox opinions once limited to former GOP operatives like David Frum and Bruce Bartlett have started appearing all over."

Sensing Weakness, Karl Rove’s Critics Pounce from Politico
"“He’s got a donor backlash and he’s got an activists backlash,” said one prominent Republican donor. Several people who cut big checks to Crossroads feel burned, this person said, adding some believe Rove is letting his group off too easy with his insistence that the problem last year was bad candidates."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

News Nuggets 1187

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Siberian Flying Squirrel on Hokkaido Island in Japan.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

RINOs Need to Take Back the Republican Party (Kathleen Parker) from the Washington Post
"RINO-hunting, the long-popular political sport that morphed in 2008 into a sort of hysteria-driven obsession, lately has become a suicide mission. ... RINOs need to be defiantly proud, aggressively centrist and unapologetically sane. ... what has become glaringly clear is that RINOs need to stop being so normal and grant their better angels a sabbatical. Forget taking back the country. Start by taking back your party. Do it for your country."
Good luck Kathleen (seriously) -- you'll need it.  Karl Rove (with his new super PAC) will meet you in his office.  Are there enough people left in the GOP that really feel this way to alter the headlong march the Party is on towards history's ash heap?  I'm skeptical.  Moreover, I don't think she (or many other moderate Republicans) realize how much the Tea Party base of the GOP views these RINO types with almost as much visceral hatred as they normally reserve for liberals and Democrats.  In the eyes of many Tea Party types, it was the complicity of RINOS in recent decades that got the US in the mess (as they see it) the US is in right now. Most have no problem telling Parker and like-minded folks where they can go.  I'm certainly curious how divisive this conversation is going to get within the Republican Party in the coming years.

Chinese Army Unit Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S. from the New York Times
"On the outskirts of Shanghai, in a run-down neighborhood dominated by a 12-story white office tower, sits a People’s Liberation Army base for China’s growing corps of cyberwarriors."

GOP States Invite Washington To Run Their Health Care from Talking Points Memo
"The outcome is ironic. When the ACA created this structure, it seemed like a no-brainer that states would be on board. Why would any of them, especially the ones hostile to the law, willingly give up control of their health care systems to Washington? Ironically the answer, by and large, is politics. Conservatives activists detest “Obamacare” and argue that any governor who agrees to build an exchange is abetting the law, even though the consequence of not doing to is to surrender more control to Washington."

The Comic Immigration Dance (Josh Marshall) from Talking Points Memo 
"Both sides want a bill. They actually want the same bill — or at least they’ve both signed on to the same bill. But there’s the problem, a political problem. Establishment Republicans feel they must support the immigration bill the President supports. But they need to convince the base of their party that they fought him like crazy to get it passed. ... So we’re now treated to the spectacle of Senators like Marco Rubio and others straining to find some big point of disagreement with the president to pivot off of even though it’s almost impossible to find something to disagree about."

Prison and the Poverty Trap from the New York Times
"One man yelled that only guns would discourage illegal immigration. Another man complained that illegal immigrants should never be able to become citizens or vote. A third man said illegal immigrants were illiterate invaders who wanted free government benefits."

Republicans are Committing Political Malpractice (Taegan Goddard) from The Week
"They could likely win more spending cuts than they would have to concede in new tax revenues if they negotiated. Instead, they dig in. ... Common sense would suggest Republican voters would rise up against their party leaders for failing so dismally to advance their party's stated goals. Their silence is deafening."

The GOP’s Astonishingly Bad Message on Sequester Cuts (Byron York) of the Washington Examiner
"The effect of Boehner’s argument is to make Obama seem reasonable in comparison. After all, the president certainly agrees with Boehner that the sequester cuts threaten national security and jobs.  The difference is that Obama wants to avoid them."

McCain Jeered At Town Hall After Opposing Mass Deportation from Talking Points Memo
"One man yelled that only guns would discourage illegal immigration. Another man complained that illegal immigrants should never be able to become citizens or vote. A third man said illegal immigrants were illiterate invaders who wanted free government benefits."
Why is McCain taking all this flack?  Where's the GOP savior Rubio?  He's the one who should be facing this music from his "base," the same people he'll be asking to vote for him in GOP primaries in 2016!

GOP “Makeover” Hits a Snag: Unwillingness to Change (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"I continue to find it impossible to believe that the smartest GOP strategists really think the party can solve its problems by tweaking its tone, pushing forward Marco Rubio to soft-peddle the same old ideas (even his immigration reform push is hitting a snag), and hoping that Obama’s ability to capitalize on ongoing demographic shifts was a fluke that the next Democratic presidential candidate won’t be able to pull off."

'Friends Of Hamas' Origin Story Exposes Fact That Some People Are Dumb Enough To Fall For Anything (Jason Linkins) from the Huffington Post 
"What Friedman failed to understand is that Capitol Hill is filled to the brim with such gullible people. And the person he called was either one such dimwit or, at the very least, plugged in to a whole network of galactic incompetents, because pretty soon, his joke went sideways on him. Borne aloft by the distortions of the classic kindergarten jape "The Telephone Game" -- "Friends of Hamas" had become a thing. Soon after, its ersatz thingness had found its way into the imagination of Breitbart screecher Ben Shapiro, who published a whole story treating the Friedman's original hyperbolic aside as if it were reality, and not a hallucination."

Republican Reformers: Right But Maddeningly Vague (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"These are smart arguments and I devoutly hope for their success. Yet they contain the same flaws that seem to recur in all the efforts to reform the GOP from within: an unwillingness to identify or confront the forces within the party that prevent these reforms from succeeding."

Reaganism After Reagan (Ramesh Ponnuru) from the New York Times
"TODAY’S Republicans are very good at tending the fire of Ronald Reagan’s memory but not nearly as good at learning from his successes. They slavishly adhere to the economic program that Reagan developed to meet the challenges of the late 1970s and early 1980s, ignoring the fact that he largely overcame those challenges, and now we have new ones."

Homophobia in GOP Makes It Hard for Party to Compete Nationally (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast
"All the efforts to attract more blacks, Latinos, Asians, and women won’t help the party much as long as it continues its anti-gay, anti-lesbian practices, says Peter Beinart. The GOP has to change on sexual issues—and the sooner the better."

A Sensational Breakthrough: the First Bionic Hand That Can Feel from the Independent [of the UK]
"The first bionic hand that allows an amputee to feel what they are touching will be transplanted later this year in a pioneering operation that could introduce a new generation of artificial limbs with sensory perception."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

News Nuggets 1186

DAYEE PICTURE: A Blue Poison Dart Frog from Surinam.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

How Liberals Became ‘Real Americans’ (Timothy Noah) from the New Republic 
"The lingering taboo is anthropological rather than ideological. Liberals are judged inauthentic because (at least according to stereotype) they live in cities, avoid church, and don’t own guns; they consequently feel the need to describe themselves using other terms."

When Republicans were Problem-Solvers (E.J. Dionne Jr.) from the Washington Post
"Despite the abuse of the rules on Chuck Hagel’s confirmation, you sense that Republicans such as Thompson and Alexander (there are many others) are exasperated with the view that the only point of seeking public office is to shrink government. But it will take considerable courage for such Republicans to move their party back to a time when conservatives and progressives did not have to disagree on everything — when causes such as helping 4-year-olds to learn and thrive could encourage politicians to lay down their arms at least momentarily."

Why the Hagel Filibuster is a Serious Mistake for Republicans Good Job, GOP. You Just Handed Obama a Public-Relations Gift (Tom Rogan) from The Week
From a conservative pundit.
"... for Republicans, this filibuster was a pointless act of self-destruction. Nearly everyone on Capitol Hill agrees that within a couple of weeks, Chuck Hagel will be in the secretary's office at the Pentagon. This filibuster didn't change anything — except to gift Democrats a timely and almost unbelievably useful PR coup."

In GOP Civil War, No Easy Answers (Stuart Rothenberg) from Roll Call
"The truth is that while most insiders agree about the problem, nobody has come up with an easy solution. And that’s because there isn’t a quick fix."

If Only They were Trying to Find Good Policy (Jonathan Bernstein) from the Washington Post
"The problem with Republicans today on public policy isn’t that they’re stuck in the 1980s; it’s that they’ve given up entirely. More often than not, what passes for Republican “policy” is just symbolic, not substantive."

Why Democrats Think They Can Retake the House in 2014 (Alex Roarty) from the National Journal
"Israel's memo, sent to National Journal by a Democratic aide, boiled down to one theme: Republicans and their tea party allies are deeply unpopular with the public, which means that Democrats -- with President Obama's help -- should be able to overcome a congressional map that leans red.
Democrats, who won a net of eight seats last year, need to win another 17 more to retake the majority."

Obama’s Immigration Plan May be a Decoy (Eugene Robinson) from the Washington Post
"Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said the White House proposal — which hasn’t actually been proposed — shows that Obama is “really not serious” about reform. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Obama’s plan “tells us that he’s looking for a partisan advantage and not a bipartisan solution.” Translation: Things are looking up!"

College Essays Make Kids Stupid and Selfish (Naomi Schaefer Riley) from Bloomberg News Service
"The common application, which is now accepted by more than 500 colleges, is the best example of how the admissions process has become an exercise in encouraging 17-year-olds’ narcissism."

Fox News Ratings Hit 12-Year Low from the Denver Post
"MSNBC was quick to underscore the point. According to a release from MSNBC, the network saw year-to-year growth while “FOX News Channel Has Worst M-Su Primetime Performance Since August 2001, Lowest Total Day Since August 2008.”"

For the Briefest Time, President Garfield was an Inspiration from the Editorial Board of the Washington Post
"James A. Garfield, who may have been the best president we never had, or hardly had. Garfield was fatally wounded only months into his presidency by a deranged office seeker with a handgun, and the memorials to him — statuary, parks, streets, schools here in Washington and elsewhere — reflect not just the nation’s grief over his martyrdom but also a genuine admiration felt across a great part of the country and especially among its most downtrodden."

C-SPAN’s Series on First Ladies Begins, but Some Legacies are Still Forming from the Washington Post
"Unlike the dozens of first ladies whose names and stories have been forgotten through the ages (ever had a dinner conversation about Anna Harrison or Jane Pierce?) the nation’s first African American first lady will surely be remembered in history books for a racial barrier broken. But what else will future generations find remarkable?"

Socrates. Hope For Paws & Bill Foundation from Hope-for-Paws
"A great way to start the week is with a new rescue video. The song in this video was written and performed by Derek Luttrell who created the song especially for Hope For Paws - Animal Rescue."

Monday, February 18, 2013

News Nuggets 1185

DAYLEE PICTURE: A snail shaded by a leaf umbrella in a stream in Berdychiv in the Ukraine.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Obama, Winning the Argument (Eugene Robinson) from the Washington Post 
"In his bid to be remembered as a transformational leader, President Obama is following the playbook of an ideological opposite, Margaret Thatcher. First you win the argument, she used to say, then you win the vote. Obama is gradually winning the argument about what government can and should do. His State of the Union address was an announcement of that fact — and a warning to conservatives that, to remain relevant, they will have to move beyond the premise that government is always the problem and never the solution."

Gratifying Signs of Desperation (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times 
"On both sides of the Atlantic, the austerians seem to be freaking out. And that has to be good news, an indication that they realize, at some level, that they’re losing the debate."

Pope Benedict XVI’s Leaked Documents Show Fractured Vatican Full of Rivalries from the Washington Post
"Much of the media — and the Vatican — focused on the source of the shocking security breach. Largely lost were the revelations contained in the letters themselves — tales of rivalry and betrayal, and allegations of corruption and systemic dysfunction that infused the inner workings of the Holy See and the eight-year papacy of Benedict XVI."

The End of a Catholic Moment (Ross Douthat) from the New York Times 
"The collapse in the church’s reputation has coincided with a substantial loss of Catholic influence in American political debates. Whereas eight years ago, a Catholic view of economics and culture represented a center that both parties hoped to claim, today’s Republicans are more likely to channel Ayn Rand than Thomas Aquinas, and a strident social liberalism holds the whip hand in the Democratic Party."

Think Hagel’s Bad? Just Wait Until There’s a Supreme Court Opening (Jonathan Bernstein) from Salon
"The Hagel battle is actually a dry run for the next justice fight -- and it's clear that the GOP will filibuster."

The GOP Divide Over Sequestration (and Everything Else) (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
"The battle over the budget cuts, pitting Rand Paul Republicans against John McCain Republicans, is a symptom of the disarray plaguing the party."

Obama’s Minimum-Wage Gambit Puts Republicans on Defensive (Eleanor Clift) from the Daily Beast
"The president’s surprise call for an increase to $9 an hour in the State of the Union has the GOP on the wrong end of popular opinion again."

Rubio and the Zombies (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"the G.O.P. reply, delivered by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, was both interesting and revelatory. And I mean that in the worst way. For Mr. Rubio is a rising star, to such an extent that Time magazine put him on its cover, calling him “The Republican Savior.” What we learned Tuesday, however, was that zombie economic ideas have eaten his brain."

Pa. Voter ID Law Won't be Enforced in May Primary from the Associated Press via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Pennsylvania voters will not be required to show photo identification in the May 21 primary election under an agreement signed Thursday by both sides in a pending lawsuit.""

Sheriff Joe’s Posse Invades Guadalupe from Salon
"The controversial sheriff puts his "good guys" with guns around Arizona schools. They might be the real threat. ... No schools requested the help of Sheriff Joe’s nearly 3,500-member posse. It did not take long for reports to resurface that his good guys with guns might have questionable pasts or bad judgment – a Phoenix TV station reported that Arpaio has a history of welcoming sex offenders and domestic abusers into his posse."

Cinema Tarantino: The Making of Pulp Fiction (Mark Seal) from Vanity Fair 
"The first independent film to gross more than $200 million, Pulp Fiction was a shot of adrenaline to Hollywood’s heart, reviving John Travolta’s career, making stars of Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, and turning Bob and Harvey Weinstein into giants. How did Quentin Tarantino, a high-school dropout and former video-store clerk, change the face of modern cinema? Mark Seal takes the director, his producers, and his cast back in time, to 1993."

Harrison Ford Reportedly Cast in New Star Wars from Slate 
"Since Ford is more than 30 years older than he was when he last played the role (he’s now 70), this news seems to support the idea that the new trilogy will leap forward to focus on Han and Leia’s children."

The Descendants of Murderers from the Atlantic
"The new documentary Hitler's Children, about the kids and grandkids of prominent Nazis, shows what's gained in the struggle to confront the atrocities of one's own past."

For Presidents Day, Three Presidents Who Could Have Shined (David Frum) from the Daily Beast
"A Presidents’ Day toast to three commanders in chief whose time ran out too soon."

Confessions of a 'Reluctant' Sex bomb: Dope Smoking with Sellers, How Rod Wore my Underwear and Why I Walked Out on a Date with Beatty, by Britt, 70 from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Britt Ekland has lifted the lid on her colourful love life, revealing the secrets – and ineptitudes – of old flames including Peter Sellers, Rod Stewart and Warren Beatty. But while the former Bond girl, 70, has dated some of the world’s most eligible bachelors, she described herself as ‘the most reluctant sex bomb’ – and said she ‘had no idea what effect I had on men’.’"

50 Years Ago: The World in 1963 from the Atlantic
"A half century ago, much of the news in the United States was dominated by the actions of civil rights activists and those who opposed them. Our role in Vietnam was steadily growing, along with the costs of that involvement."

Friday, February 15, 2013

News Nuggets 1184

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Gelada (a species of baboon) with its distinctive red chest markings in the Simien Mountains National Park in Ethiopia.  From National Geographic.

How the 1980s Explains Vladimir Putin from the Atlantic
"As the Soviet system disintegrated, the Russian president was a young KGB agent serving in an isolated part of East Germany. Here's how the experience would shape him -- and his country."

The Disastrous Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI (John Cassidy) from the New Yorker
"By setting its face against the modern world in general, and by dragging its feet in response to one of the worst scandals since the Reformation, Benedict’s Vatican has called the Church’s future into question, needlessly alienating countless people around the world who were brought up in its teachings."

How Christopher Dorner Went Down (Christine Pelisek) from the Daily Beast 
"Tear gas, high-speed car chases, a slain officer. Christine Pelisek tells the inside story of the last stand of L.A.’s rogue cop—and who started the fire that appears to have killed him."

Obama’s 2024 Strategy (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast
"It’s true that much of what he called for in his SOTU isn’t going to happen in the next four years. But maybe, says Michael Tomasky, Obama is seeking a different kind of victory."

I Dare You (Jacob Weisberg) from Slate
"Obama knows that and has incorporated the reality of obstructionism into his political strategy. His big speech set what he hopes will become a lose-lose trap for Republican legislators: accede to his agenda, or face his mobilized supporters in 2014."

Most GOP lawmakers don't think much of this threat and given how gerrymandered House districts are these days one can see why they might be complacent.  But this complacency might be very misplaced.  See this: 
Romney’s Pollster Warns GOP Members Not to Count on Six-Year Itch (Daniel Newhauser) from Roll Call
"House Republicans got a refresher course in why they lost the White House this morning and a warning to beware of President Barack Obama’s bully pulpit this election cycle. ... “I kind of emphasized to the members that second midterm elections have never been friendly to the president,” Newhouse said in an interview. “You can’t count on that. That’s not going to happen. We’ve got to realize that the House Republicans are going to be Obama’s top target.”"
Of course, a lingering question one might have from this item might be: given their track record in this last election, why should anyone listen to a Romney pollster?! It's breathtaking how high-priced leaches like Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, and these pollsters never seem to lack for work no matter how consistently wrong their track records.

The NRA's Wayne LaPierre, Unhinged and Unchained (Hunter) from Daily Kos 
"In a conspiracy theory-riddled message, LaPierre offers up the newest NRA rationale for why a constant stream of actual gun violence, ... is nothing to worry about. It's because someday, and real soon now, all of government might collapse, and when that happens all the true patriots are going to have to start shooting people."

Republican Leaders Worry Their Party Could Divide in Two (Ron Fournier) from the National Journal
"As Rand Paul mulls a presidential campaign, GOP frets over impact of disaffected voters and shifting coalitions. Democrats should worry, too. Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on emailMore Sharing Services."
I've often wondered why so few people questioned the development of a SECOND response to Obama's SOTU addresses.  Why did anyone consider it necessary for the Tea Party to have their own response verses the standard GOP response?  It really makes me wonder about the relationship most Republicans have with their own party.

Can the Republicans be Saved From Obsolescence? (Robert Draper) from the Sunday New York Times Magazine
"Jacobson and Spencer have taken up evangelizing — and the sermon, delivered day after day to fellow conservatives in the form of a 61-point presentation, is a pitiless we-told-you-so elucidation of the ways in which Democrats have overwhelmed Republicans with their technological superiority. They walked me through a series of slides showing the wide discrepancies between the two campaigns."

The Grand Old Jurassic Party (Steve Erickson) from the American Prospect 
"With its focus on ideological purity, the Republican species is on the brink of extinction. ... The Republican Party will vanish not because of what its says but because of what it believes, not because of how it presents itself but because of who it is when it thinks no one is looking."

Rahm Emanuel May Be Toying With 2016 Presidential Run (Lloyd Grove) from the Daily Beast
"Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel might make a go for 2016, two well-connected Democrats tell Lloyd Grove—as long as Hillary doesn’t. And the potty-mouthed Chicago mayor could win."
Ah, with so many historical barriers being breeched, is another possible?  First black president?  Done deal.  First woman president? First hispanic president? Both easily visible on the near horizon.  First president whose every other sentence begins with "f@#k" or some other four-letter expletive?  Somehow that may be a bridge too far!

Elizabeth Warren's Quiet Plan for the Senate from Politico
"For a left-leaning icon and national media darling, the role of silent senator is a sharp departure from her rousing campaign and outspoken consumer advocacy. It’s the same tactic used by other first-term senators who entered the chamber to great fanfare, including former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton."

Elizabeth Warren Embarrasses Hapless Bank Regulators At First Hearing (VIDEO) from the Huffington Post
""There are district attorneys and United States attorneys out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it. I'm really concerned that 'too big to fail' has become 'too big for trial,'" Warren said."

The Rap on Rubio (Maureen Dowd) from the New York Times 
"Gotta start makin’ changes, as Tupac says. And Marco Rubio is doing just that as he leads a desperate white, male Republican Party away from country to gangsta."

Joe Arpaio's Teabagger Pals Muster "Shadow Army" Against Recall Effort (w/Update) (Stephen Lemons) from the Phoenix New Times 
"So the pro-Joe goobers are holding a meetin' come Saturday to figure out how to organize a "`shadow army' of `shadow warriors'" willing to "stand toe-to-toe" with the "paid progressive socialists ... collecting petition signatures.""

All Odd Cons: World's Wackiest Hotel Where You Can Spend the Night in a Trojan Horse, a Troll's Lair or Even Sleep with a Mermaid Belgium Hotel Offers Guests a Chance to Unwind in an Imaginary World from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"A Belgium enthusiast has created one of the world's weirdest and most wonderful hotels where you can spend the night inside a Trojan horse or even sleep with a mermaid. La Balade Des Gnomes, near the picturesque town of Durbuy, in Belgium, offers guests a unique experience where they can unwind in an imaginary world."