Thursday, October 31, 2013

News Nuggets 1237

DAYLEE PICTURE: The Palouse Valley in Washington state. From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Massive Oil Discovery in Australia Is Deathblow For Saudis from Disclose TV
"It is 6 times larger than the Bakken, 17 times the size of the Marcellus formation, and 80 times larger than the Eagle Ford shale. All told the recent discovery outside a sleepy Australian town contains more black gold than in all of Iran, Iraq, Canada, or Venezuela."

As Interest Fades in the Humanities, Colleges Worry from the New York Times
"“Both inside the humanities and outside, people feel that the intellectual firepower in the universities is in the sciences, that the important issues that people of all sorts care about, like inequality and climate change, are being addressed not in the English departments,” said Andrew Delbanco, a Columbia University professor who writes about higher education."

Kathleen Sebelius vs. a Party Without a Brain (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"I apologize. I’m accountable to you for fixing these problems. And I’m committed to earning your confidence back by fixing the site.” This was a sneaky and dastardly thing for her to do: sneaky, because it wasn’t in the advance testimony she gave the committee, and dastardly, because in today’s Washington, any acceptance of responsibility is so rare that the Republicans — who were counting on her evading and deflecting — were caught off-guard."

Memo to Dems: Don’t Panic About Obamacare (Yet) (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"The political read on Obamacare among Republicans has for years been premised on the idea that the American mainstream views it as the unequivocal catastrophe and threat to American freedom that GOP lawmakers have long claimed it to be. It’s long been my belief that the middle of the country views the law in more nuanced terms, is willing to give it a chance to work, and sees it as better than the GOP alternative, which isn’t a serious alternative at all..."

Inept Techies and Sneaky Insurers are the Bane of Obamacare from the Los Angeles Times
"In their quest to gut Obamacare, Republicans have been given a big boost by two groups that were supposed to provide the new healthcare exchange a proper rollout: the contractors who built and the insurance companies who still dominate the American healthcare system."

On DC Court Nominations: 'If We Can't Have It, You Can't Have It Either' from Talking Points Memo
"Republicans have now transcended the usual political debate over who should occupy the seats on this court and moved into the realm of blocking anyone nominated by a Democratic president, regardless of their merit or qualifications, from sitting on the court. It's a scorched earth policy. If we can't have it, you can't have it either."

Democrats March on the South to Hold Senate Majority in 2014 (David Freedlander) from the Daily Beast
"If the party wants to maintain its five-seat majority in the Senate next November, it must hang on to key seats in Dixie, long a GOP bastion. But the region may be in play once again."

The Right to Vote (Norman Ornstein) from National Journal
"It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, is leading to a new era of voter suppression that parallels the pre-1960s era—this time affecting not just African-Americans but also
Hispanic-Americans, women, and students, among others."

How 2016 Could Be An Even Bigger Democratic Blowout Than 2008 (Ruy Teixeira) from the Democratic Strategist
"... regardless of the outcome in 2014, it seems likely that the GOP will be increasingly burdened by warfare between its totally intransigent Tea Party faction and "establishment", business-oriented Republicans in and around Washington. That's a recipe for increased unpopularity going into the 2016 Presidential cycle. But a new poll suggests it might be more significant than that: an opportunity for the Democrats to make historic, devastating inroads into the Republican base."

If This Is What 2016 Is Going to Look Like, the GOP Is in Big Trouble (Jason Sattler) from the Huffington Post and National Memo
"The next president of the United States will likely have to win in Virginia, where the Republican Party has recently suffered a complete implosion. And that person is not likely to be the person discussing eugenics a week before the election."

Fed Up with the Far Right (E.J. Dionne Jr.) from the Washington Post 
"Elections in Virginia and New Jersey show the public’s dismay with the tea party."

I Used to Hang a Confederate Flag on My Wall: Here's Why I Took it Down (Chuck Thompson) from the New Republic
"Thanks to angry Republican protesters, the Confederate flag is back in the news. Someone who used to fly the flag now ponders its meaning."

In PA, Tom Corbett’s Rating Sinks Further from Politico
"Just 19 percent of those surveyed said the incumbent Republican is doing an “excellent” or “good job” as governor, according to the poll. And asked if Corbett deserves reelection, only 20 percent said yes."

Ted Cruz: The Mask of Sincerity (Dave Denby) from the New Yorker
"His strategy is universal aggression, aimed at everyone. Well, not quite everyone—lately, his popularity with the Tea Party cohort has increased. And at a recent rally at the convention of the Texas Federation of Republican Women, he was greeted with heated adoration. But normally Cruz resembles one of those war chariots with blades flashing from the wheels; he tries to cut up everything in his path. When things go wrong, he only sharpens the blades. ..."

Reid: Cruz Nomination Would Destroy GOP (Rebecca Shabad) from The Hill 
"Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won the Republican nomination for president, it would destroy the GOP. ...  “If I didn't care so much about our country, I would hope he will get the Republican nomination for president, because that would be the end of the Republican Party,” Reid said."
Reid's wrong on this.  The GOP is probably going to destroy itself no matter what Cruz does in 1016.  His nomination would only accelerate the process.

The New Republican Civil War ( Alex Altman) from the New Republic
"Deep in the heart of the South, a Republican runoff for the vacant seat in Alabama’s First Congressional District has emerged as a proxy war between the GOP’s business wing and a Tea Party movement that saw the government shutdown as just the first step in the right direction."

Why Can't I Hate This Team? (Allen Barra) from Salon
"Yes, they spend tons of money. And those awful beards. But this team, and organization, is suddenly doing it right."

The Red Sox are 'Really Bad' and 'Really Boring': Revisiting the Terrible Preseason Predictions So Much for that Last Place Finish (Jon Terbush ) from The Week
"Of the 43 sportswriters who made predictions for, none picked Boston to win the American League East. Twenty picked Toronto (who finished last) while another 20 took Tampa (who made the playoffs as a wild card before losing to the Red Sox). "

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

News Nuggets 1326

DAYLEE PICTURE:  An "ice diamond" exposed by a melting glacier in Iceland.  From National Geographic.

Report: President Obama Unaware of Spying from Politico
"The monitoring of 35 world leaders’ communications was brought to light during an internal review of NSA programs this summer, an administration official told The Wall Street Journal. Obama halted the monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others immediately, and some remaining monitoring programs are being phased out, the official said."

Chinese Communism and the 70-Year Itch (Larry Diamond) from the Atlantic 
"China's government is approaching an age that has often proven fatal for other single-party regimes. Will Xi Jinping make the necessary reforms to avoid a crisis?"

In Hungary, Anti-Semitism Rises Again (Marianne Szegedy-Maszak) from the New York Times
"My father saw the devastation of Nazi rule. What would he make of Hungary today?"

This is Why Obamacare is Canceling Some People’s Insurance Plans (Sarah Kliff) from the Washington Post
"These cancellations are, essentially, a lot of grandfathered plans exiting the insurance marketplace. From an insurance company's vantage point, grandfathered plans are a bit of a dead end: They can't enroll new subscribers and are really constrained in their ability to tweak the benefit package or cost-sharing structure."

Obamacare Rate Shock and Premium Joy: Now It's Real (Jonathan Cohn) from the New Republic
"The people who stand to benefit from this transition don’t know it yet, because they aren’t able to log on and see how much they’ll save. That’s a big reason the stories of rate hikes are getting so much attention—and one more reason the federal governmetn needs to fix its website soon."

Why Normal Debate About Obamacare is Impossible (Grag Sargent) from the Washington Post
"... the GOP outrage about Americans supposedly “losing” coverage is largely just more of the same old misdirection. It’s a subset of a larger Republican refusal to have an actual debate about the law’s tradeoffs — one in which the law’s benefits for millions of Americans are also reckoned with in a serious way. On the substance of this argument, Igor Volsky has a good response, noting that these Americans aren’t “losing” coverage at all:..."

Democrats Introduce Bill to End Debt Limit Brinkmanship (Meredith Shiner) from Roll Call
"Three Democratic senators, led by Charles E. Schumer of New York, introduced legislation Tuesday to permanently install a new procedure on the debt limit that would all-but-eliminate the threat of default. The bill would make permanent a rule devised in 2011 by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that uses resolutions of disapproval to enable the president to extend the debt limit while also technically allowing minority lawmakers to vote against that authorization— a maneuver
McConnell said  was designed to be used on a case-by-case basis."

Why 2014 Is Do-or-Die For the GOP (Charlie Cook) from the National Journal 
"After having had plentiful Democratic targets in 2012 and 2014, it will be Republicans in 2016 who will have the most incumbents in the crosshairs. All of this is to say that Republicans really have to do well in the Senate elections in 2014, largely because they will have few opportunities for gains in 2016, a year in which they will be playing defense, not offense."

Against Despair: The Bad Ideas Behind the Shutdown (Ramesh Ponnuru & Rich Lowry) from the National Review
From two well-connected, well-informed conservative columnists.
"From one point of view, the entire episode was all rather pointless; from another it was quite important. It was the latest and most consequential expression of an apocalyptic conservative politics. It is a politics of perpetual intra-Republican denunciation. It focuses its fire on other conservatives as much as on liberals."

A Huge Victory for GOP’s “Whites-only” Coalition (Brian Beutler) from Salon
"Immigration reform's failure didn't just sink Rubio's political ambitions, it sank the idea of a multicultural GOP."

Conservative Businessmen Challenging Tea Party Republicans from the Huffington Post
"A slice of corporate America thinks tea partyers have overstayed their welcome in Washington and should be shown the door in next year's congressional elections."

Lowell Weicker, Former Republican Senator, Slams GOP, Joe Lieberman from the Huffington Post
"Lowell Weicker, a Republican who has served in both the U.S. House and Senate, revealed his seasoned views on American politics in an interview with Josh Eidelson of Salon published Monday. The former Senator held no punches, taking on the Republican party, past political foes, taxation and U.S. institutions."

A Year After Romney Loss, GOP In Even Worse Shape from Talking Points Memo 
"A year after losing a presidential race many Republicans thought was winnable, the party arguably is in worse shape than before. The GOP is struggling to control tensions between its tea party and establishment wings and watching approval ratings sink to record lows. It's almost quaint to recall that soon after Mitt Romney lost to President Barack Obama, the Republican National Committee recommended only one policy change: endorsing an immigration overhaul, in hopes of attracting Hispanic voters."

Poll Finds Vast Gaps in Basic Views on Gender, Race, Religion and Politics from ABC News
"An almost unfathomable gap divides public attitudes on basic issues involving gender, race, religion and politics in America, fueled by dramatic ideological and partisan divisions that offer the prospect of more of the bitter political battles that played out in Washington this month."

Here’s What it Would Take for Self-driving Cars to Catch On (Brad Plumer) from the Washington Post
"Some day in the near future, cars will drive themselves. Traffic jams and deadly accidents will become obsolete. Morning commutes will evolve into less-stressful affairs, as riders can sit back with their coffee and let computers handle the trip. ... yet, as a new report (pdf) from the Eno Center for Transportation details, there are all sorts of obstacles that still need to be overcome before self-driving cars ever take over our highways."

Cheney Insists Iraq War Was Worth It Because Of WMD from Think Progress 
"Former Vice President Dick Cheney said on Monday that what the United States gained as a result of the war in Iraq was that Iraq now does not have weapons of mass destruction. ... Of course, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction to eliminate."

The Mystery of Animal Grief [partial subscription wall] from Time Magazine 
"Scientists are finding new evidence that beasts honor, mourn and even hold wakes for their dead. What it reveals about them--and us."

St Jude's Gale Creates Off Portugal Some of the Biggest Waves to Ever be Conquered by Boards from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Father-of-two Andrew Cotton, 34, took on the monster waves at Praia do Norte, near Nazare at 8am yesterday. Beach known among surfers for huge waves because it picks up full brunt of violent Atlantic storm swells.  Maya Gabeira, from Brazil, nearly drowned and had to be resuscitated on the beach after falling on a wave."

Mother Takes Adorable Photos Capturing her Sleeping Son in Flights of the Imagination from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Artist Queenie Liao created the photographs while her baby Wengenn slept. She used coloured material, soft toys and household items to set the scene.  A book of the photo series has been published in Taiwan."

Monday, October 28, 2013

News Nuggets 1325

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Threespot Damselfish swims near a trio of Pink Anemonefish in Papua New Guinea’s Kimbe Bay.

This Travel Agency Will Take Your Stuffed Animals on a Vacation Across Japan from the Atlantic
This is like one of those fake news stories from The Onion or from NPR's Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me.
"Traveling around Japan requires money, energy, and days off work. If you can't afford to spare those things, maybe sending a beloved stuffed bear in your stead is the next best thing? That's the theory behind Unagi Travel, a tour agency for stuffed animals. For $35 to $55 a pop, your plush toy can visit Japanese hot springs, temples, and beaches. You'll have to fund their trip to Japan, but Unaqi takes care of the return voyage. Your buddy will also receive a commemorative DVD filled with travel photos."
OMG!!  I guess it is now too much to ask that a person should expect his or her life to be about anything else but work and sleep.  Vacations are now being reserved solely for inanimate objects -- I guess they are the only ones have the time!

HHS Sets November Timetable for Healthcare.Gov (Jonathan Cohn) from the New Republic
"The Obama Administration has spent a lot of time downplaying the problems with It hasn’t spent a lot of time talking about the real problems, how extensive they are, or by when it plans to fix them. That changed on Friday, when the Administration made three key announcements during its now-daily conference call on the status of repairs: ..."

Two Huge Questions About Obamacare Just Got Answered (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"Zients is a serious guy with a reputation to protect. He's unlikely to sign onto that kind of strategy. So let's assume it's #1. If the White House is right and Obamacare's digital infrastructure is working come the end of November the damage to the law will likely be minimal."

Sanity on Obamacare (Joe Klein) from Time Magazine
"the importance of this program should not be lost in the Administration’s failure to implement it. This is not health care for deadbeats, as many Republicans assume. It is a highly moral piece of legislation: the people most affected will be the working poor and lower-middle class, people who have jobs, often at small businesses, but don’t have health care. (The unemployed and unemployable poor already have health care via Medicaid.) It is a matter of simple fairness that if we, as a society, provide health insurance to those who don’t work, we also provide it to those who do."

Americans Think Everyone's Doing A Terrible Job Handling Health Care from the Huffington Post
"While Americans largely disapprove of how President Barack Obama is handling health care, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, they have even more negative opinions of how Republicans in Congress are handling the issue."

Bipartisan Budget Love Suddenly in the Air (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"Okay, don’t laugh, but with the two parties finally sitting down to negotiate, a bipartisan budget deal in Washington suddenly looks kind of plausible. The long deficit scold dream of a huge Grand Bargain with trillions of dollars in savings is off the table. Instead, both parties are negotiating a smaller deal to replace sequestration, which neither side likes, with some mix of longer term cuts that take the fiscal shackles off the recovery. Today has brought a sudden burst of momentum."

The Grim Math of the Working-Class Housing Crisis (Sarah Goodyear) from the Atlantic
"The deeper and more systematic erosion of urban life is happening among a less glamorous set of people – the ones who fill the tens of thousands of jobs that undergird every single U.S. city. These are the home health aides, the fast-food workers, the janitors, the teachers’ aides, the delivery people, the manicurists, and countless others who are making more than minimum wage but less than enough to meet the soaring cost of living – not just in New York, but in cities around the country. These people, increasingly, are falling off the shaky ladder of economic viability, and many are being pushed into homelessness."

Immigration Poses Threat of Another Republican Rift from the New York Times
"A push to bring immigration legislation to the House floor, led by an unusual coalition of business executives, prominent conservatives and evangelical leaders, threatens to create another schism in the Republican Party and could have a noticeable effect on campaign contributions before the midterm elections."

House Leaders Plot New Fall GOP Strategy from Politico
"For the first time in months, House Republicans are facing no immediate cataclysmic deadlines, and GOP leaders are struggling to come up with an agenda to fill the 19 legislative days that are left in 2013."

Misconceptions, Miscues and Missteps (Jennifer Rubin) from the Washington Post
"Not every error can be averted by more precise information, but clarity about one’s own obligations and others’ motives do help keep down the error rate. So here’s a guide to some of the most damaging misconceptions that have bedeviled Republicans of all stripes: ... ”Government stinks.” Well, it can stink, particularly if elected officials don’t take governance seriously. However, if you want to run on the premise that virtually all of the federal government could go away, that government is incapable of doing much of anything and people want government “off their backs,” get ready to lose a lot of elections."

Viguerie Predicts 'Absolute' Bloodbath in 2014 GOP Primaries (David A. Patten) from Newsmax
"Viguerie and other grass-roots conservative leaders are warning that Republicans who voted to end the shutdown on terms favorable to President Barack Obama and the Democrats will face major primary opposition in 2014. “It’s a civil war in the GOP,” Viguerie declared Saturday in The New York Times."

GOP Civil War (Rod Dreher) from the American Conservative
"This is astonishing, and can only be driven by an ideological mindset so impervious to reality that it would rather destroy political conservatism’s chances of actually running the country than succumb to the least impurity in the ranks. The movement types really do believe that the GOP lost because it was stabbed in the back by its own people on Capitol Hill."

The Science of Tea Party Wrath (Chris Mooney) from Mother Jones Magazine 
"Jonathan Haidt on the psychology of politics, the emotions behind the Tea Party—and why as a self-described centrist, he thinks a Republican crackup may be coming."

The GOP’s Racial Handicap (Lloyd Green) from the Daily Beast
"A party precinct chair derailed new Republican efforts to attract more black support when he called black people ‘lazy’ on ‘The Daily Show.’ Lloyd Green on why the GOP brand is so toxic right now."

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander Takes Shots at Tea Party in Tennessee Primary Race from the Washington Post
"As he seeks a third term in the U.S. Senate, Lamar Alexander is doing something few other incumbent Republicans have tried recently: Instead of running scared of the tea party, he’s running hard against it."

Cruz Lashes Out at Senate GOP Over Shutdown Failure (David Ferguson) from Raw Story
"“We didn’t accomplish our ultimate policy goal in this battle, and we didn’t because unfortunately a significant number of Senate Republicans chose not to unite and stand side by side with House Republicans,” Cruz insisted. “Had we stood together I’m convinced the outcome of this fight would be very, very different.”"

Six Presidential-Campaign Themes Hillary Clinton Is Test-Driving (Zeke J Miller) from Time Magazine
"Clinton, who claims not to have decided about another presidential run in 2016, has been traveling the country delivering speeches on her own record and current events that sound a lot like precursors to campaign rhetoric. The fact that she is not officially running has not stopped her from testing out themes on the stump, while positioning herself against her likely Republican opponents. The examples show up on both sides of the Atlantic, in paid speeches, at awards dinners, rallies and fundraisers."

How to Win in Virginia as a Liberal Democrat from the National Journal  
"Unlike Mark Warner and Tim Kaine before him, Terry McAuliffe is touting a distinctly left-leaning social agenda."

California Republicans in Trouble, Former California Republican Says (Cathleen Decker) from the Los Angeles Times
"“Over the last two decades, California’s working class has slowly migrated out of the state and Latino and women voters are completely disenfranchised with the Republican Party. There are only a few pockets of conservative voters left in the state and they are only able to help carry the day for Republicans in ultra-low turnout elections on issues where campaign spending is at parity or to the Republican advantage, and where the Democratic and union grass-roots apparatus is not activated,” Miller’s memo said. “There is no good way to sugarcoat this. ... The Republican label is anathema to younger voters, women and Latinos -- growing voter blocs with real significance to future elections.”"
This is like saying that a last place ball team just got a lot worse in the off-season!  The CA GOP has been tanking for years.  The one difference I see here is that California is in some ways acting as a harbinger of things to come (as California has in the past) for the national GOP and other state party organizations.  

Book review: ‘Camelot’s Court: Inside the Kennedy White House’ by Robert Dallek (Evan Thomas) from the Washington Post
"The story of how a glamorous but green young president struggled with conflicting and often bad advice while trying to avoid nuclear Armageddon remains a gripping and cautionary tale of the loneliness of command. ... Kennedy surrounded himself with what he called a “ministry of talent,” personified by McGeorge Bundy, the brainy but chilly Harvard dean who became national security adviser. These men — and they were all men back then — were well-intentioned, but, as Dallek shows, they often served Kennedy badly."

Hope For Paws & Bill Foundation celebrating a year of successful from Hope for Paws

Friday, October 25, 2013

News Nuggets 1324

DAYLEE PICTURE: Julia Butterflies and Yellow Sulfur Butterflies getting salt off a turtle in Tambopata, Peru.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Southeast Asia Ponders What is Going on in China (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"China scholars have noted in recent years that the Communist Party is deeply concerned about its legitimacy and grass-roots appeal. That led many to believe it would address these issues by opening up its political system, with political reforms that would accompany economic reforms. Instead, it appears that the party is choosing older, Mao-era methods of crackdowns, public confessions and purification campaigns."

Is Your Aircraft Carrier a Lemon? (David Axe) from Foreign Policy Magazine 
"... many of the world's best-armed countries are acquiring them. China, Russia, India, Brazil, the U.K., France, America. But just getting your hands on a flattop is hardly enough. For every example of a country that succeeds in deploying a functional carrier and matching air wing, there's a counter-example: a flattop hobbled by mechanical problems, stricken by age, sidelined by bad design or stuck with warplanes that simply don't work. What follows are not the success stories."

In Search of Republican Grown-Ups from the Editorial Board of the New York Times
"The leaders of the Republican Party, in full flight from their disastrous and juvenile shutdown stunt, now want to restock their ranks with grown-ups. ... A mature and responsible political party would do more than prevent a government default; it would offer serious solutions to the nation’s most pressing problems instead of running from them. And it is there that Republicans — whether adults or Tea Party members — continue to let the public down."

Addicted to the Apocalypse (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"Once upon a time, walking around shouting “The end is nigh” got you labeled a kook, someone not to be taken seriously. These days, however, all the best people go around warning of looming disaster. In fact, you more or less have to subscribe to fantasies of fiscal apocalypse to be considered respectable. ... Washington has spent the past three-plus years in terror of a debt crisis that keeps not happening, and, in fact, can’t happen to a country like the United States, which has its own currency and borrows in that currency. Yet the scaremongers can’t bring themselves to let go."

Patience, Obamacare will work (Sally Kohn) from CNN
"You know what's relatively easy? Fixing a website. You know what's really hard? Ensuring access to affordable, quality health insurance for every single American and improving our broken health care system in the process. In the back-and-forth about the Obamacare exchange websites, let's not lose sight of the ultimate goal of health care reform -- a goal that, even with the exchanges problems, we are steadily achieving."

Vicious Rift on the Right (Eli Lake, Ben Jacobs) from the Daily Beast 
"Ryan Ellis is the latest Conservative to attack Ted Cruz and his fellow Tea Partiers—only this time, he’s likening them to terrorists."

The Implosion of the GOP Brand, in One Chart (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Republicans successfully converted the 2010 elections into a referendum on President Obama, the economy, and liberal overreach. As a result, they won big. Now Democrats are hoping to turn the 2014 elections into a referendum on the GOP brand and the destructive excesses of Tea Party governance. The GOP just might help Democrats succeed."

GOP Fights on Against Obamacare, at its Peril (Jules Witcover) from the Chicago Tribune
"The House Republicans and their tea party allies, unbowed by their failure to defund President Obama's Affordable Care Act, have signaled that they have just begun to fight.  In so doing, however, they may be keeping alive the flawed and self-destructive strategy that took the country to the brink of financial default."

Establishment GOP Gets Ready to Battle Tea Party: 'It's going to be like divorce court' (Jed Lewison) from Daily Kos
"When former spokesmen of the GOP are enthusiastically talking about taking the party to divorce court, you know things are about to get even more entertaining, so break out the popcorn and get ready for the GOP's Great Divorce of 2013."

McCain Says GOPers Resent Cruz and Lee's Fundraising Against Them from Talking Points Memo
"Asked in an interview with with radio station KFYI's Mike Broomhead whether he considers Cruz and Lee part of the Republican "team," McCain said his colleagues are not happy about attacks coming from an outside organization with the tea party senators' support. "We're on the same team, but I can tell you what is resented amongst Republicans," McCain said. "And that is that Senator Cruz and Senator Lee are raising money for an organization that is running ads attacking Republican senators.""

Obama, Congress Get Back to the Immigration Fight (Eleanor Clift) from the Daily Beast
"From Obama to the Chamber of Commerce, everyone’s pushing House Republicans to move now on immigration reform. The sticking point: 11 million undocumented people."

President Obama Heads into Intensive Fall Fundraising Stretch from the Washington Post
"The flurry of events will help Obama fulfill a pledge he made early this year to intensively raise money for the party committees – particularly the two congressional committees, which did not get much of his time during the 2012 election."

The Highlander Theory of the GOP (Marin Cogan) from the Atlantic
"What's a GOP presidential hopeful to do? In the past year, the party has cycled through one favorite aspirant after another before running into a problem: There's no longer a single consensus about what makes a good candidate. Inevitable deviations from conservative orthodoxy are seen as disqualifying sins. Republicans have a habit of killing their darlings."
They only badly wound their darlings -- those darlings then get six figures hosting their own shows on FOX.  Who's taking odds on where Ted Cruz will ultimatley end up: being elected to the White House or signing a contract in Roger Ailes' executive suite?  It's a no-brainer.

In Virginia, a Swing State Turns Against the Tea Party (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
"The Republican divisions laid bare by the government shutdown are playing out in the gubernatorial race, and the result appears to be a Democratic rout."

How Kirsten Gillibrand Shed Her Past on the Way to Liberal Stardom (Ben Terris) from National Journal
"New York's junior senator was once a rural populist. Now people call her the next Hillary Clinton. How she got from there to here."

Where is the Second Avenue Subway Going? from Capital New York Magazine 
"The 30-plus blocks of new subway, the three new stations and the $4.45 billion outlay comprise only the first of a four-phase subway plan that has been nearly a century in the making."

World's oddest hotel complex where you can stay on a military transport plane, a ship or a Hobbit hole from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Site is the brainchild of New Zealand hotelier Barry Woods.  He started by buying and converting an old train carriage.  The 35 hectare site in Waitomo, NZ, has four unique lodgings."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

News Nuggets 1323

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Cassowary in northeast Queensland in Australia.  From National Geographic.

China: Superpower or Superbust? (Ian Bremmer) from the National Interest 
"The fact that China has so far avoided the unrest and uncertainty plaguing so many other countries these days is good news for those who depend on China’s strength for the stability of their own economies, but it is bad news for those who hope that China’s leaders will soon begin to adopt new attitudes toward global politics and market-driven capitalism."

First Thoughts: A Tale of Two Problems (Chuck Todd et al.) from MSNBC 
"What has been the more significant disaster -- the problems associated with the federal Obamacare website, or the state of the Republican Party after the shutdown? There is one important difference between the two stories. While the Obama administration is throwing every resource to fix its website issue, is anyone inside the GOP trying to prevent an all-out ideological civil war from breaking out? In fact, it seems to be just the opposite: Gas is being thrown on the internal GOP fire."
I had noticed the same thing.  Where is the "Reagan 11th Commandment" caucus within the GOP, the one that says, "Thou shall not criticize fellow Republicans"?  Answer: it's gone!  The factions within the GOP each now see that they can no longer paper over their differences and make nice.  Increasingly, they are coming to hate each other as much as they despise Obama and the Dems, if not more so because the sense of personal betrayal is deeper (ask Mitch McConnell).  We're passed the "Lincoln wins the election" stage -- Fort Sumpter is still to come.  My guess is that right now, people are either choosing sides, or feeling tremendous pressure to take sides.  Where do you see this?  Everywhere.  Within the state GOP party organizations, from fundamental lobbying groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and the National Manufacturers Association, from large donors, PACs, and conservative think tanks, from conservative media (with FOX News moving away from the Tea Party and talk radio pundits moving towards them), from traditional foreign policy and national security groups (such as neo-cons and pro-defense hawks verses the growing isolationist/libertarian/budget nihilist faction), and from the ranks of cultural warriors where gay marriage, pot legalization, and immigration reform are issues throwing sand in the GOP machine in virtually every state. 

Web Sites and Grave Sites (Charles Blow) from the New York Times
"Republicans are demanding an immediate fix to something they want to break. ... The only problem for Republicans is that a technical issue isn’t likely to have legs. Yes, it’s embarrassing. Yes, it’s frustrating. Yes, it’s an unforced error. But it’s also fixable, and in the grand scheme of things, a malfunctioning Web site is more understandable and less consequential than a malfunctioning political party."

Don’t Give Up on the Uninsured (E.J. Dionne Jr.) from the Washington Post 
"Obamacare is working. True, that sentence comes with a large asterisk. It is working in states that have followed the essential design of the Affordable Care Act, particularly in Kentucky, Connecticut, Washington and California. The law was written with states’ rights and state responsibilities in mind. States that created their own health-care exchanges — and especially those that did this while also expanding Medicaid coverage — are providing insurance to tens of thousands of happy customers, in many cases for the first time."

When Obamacare Works It Will Be "Politically Untouchable" (Bob Shrum) from MSNBC via Real Clear Politics
"... after it gets fixed, the volume of calls and of people trying to log into this tells you that people want this health insurance, they're going to get this health insurance. It’s going to become ultimately politically untouchable and the real people who are afraid are the Republicans. They’re afraid of when that happens."

No Country for Old Moderates (Michael Tomasky) from the Daily Beast 
"It’s not ‘moderates’ vs. ‘conservatives. The two opposing Republican sides, if they really are opposing, are ‘radical’ and ‘conservative.’ And only one side is fighting. The other is rolling over."

The Cry of the True Republican (John Taft) from the New York Times 
"Throughout my family’s more than 170-year legacy of public service, Republicans have represented the voice of fiscal conservatism. Republicans have been the adults in the room. Yet somehow the current generation of party activists has managed to do what no previous Republicans have been able to do — position the Democratic Party as the agents of fiscal responsibility."

Fiscal Crisis Sounds the Charge in G.O.P.’s ‘Civil War’ from the New York Times
"Though the election and re-election of Mr. Obama may have radicalized many conservatives, the base’s fury has its roots in the two terms of his predecessor, Mr. Bush, whose expansion of Medicare, proposed immigration overhaul and 2008 bank bailout left many conservatives distraught."

Inside the Messy but Moneyed Republican Plan to Neutralize the Tea Party from the National Journal
"The business-friendly GOP establishment is putting its cash to work in skirmishes across the country that might reshape the 2014 elections."

The Second Coming of Reagan Isn't Going to Save the GOP: It's Time to Come Up with a Better Plan (Matt K. Lewis) from The Week
"Today's conservatives ought to embrace a similar "work as if it all depends on you/pray as if it all depends on God" mentality. But they should also accept the fact that today's challenges are different than they were 50 years ago. Technology is vastly different — and so are the nation's demographics."

The Decline And Fall Of Christianism (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Dish 
"We do not yet know what a more apolitical, Gospel-centered, life-centered Christianity will achieve, how popular it may be, or whether it will lead to higher levels of commitment to God than at present. But I suspect even Pope Benedict finally realized it is the only way forward – hence his resignation in the face of his papacy’s near-total failure. What matters now and always is truth, not usefulness, faith, not politics. The next generation gets this."

Virginia GOP in Full Retreat, Anvil Time! (Markos Moulitsas) from Daily Kos
"The right-leaning Loudoun Times-Mirror newspaper, representing one of the state's key swing counties, has endorsed virtually the entire Democratic ticket. The paper has stuck with a handful of incumbents, but for a newspaper that endorsed Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Bob McDonnell, their endorsements of a mostly Democratic slate is astounding."

Why Is the Chamber of Commerce So Mad at Ted Cruz? (Brendan Greeley) from Businessweek
"... he told reporters, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would begin evaluating candidates for Congress in 2014 based, as my Bloomberg News colleague Laura Litvan writes, on “their willingness to secure the nation’s long-term economic health and the broader interests of business.” It’s hard to buy a good Congress. Maybe he’ll get it right in 2014."

Fox News Planted False Information to Discredit reporter, Stifle Bad News (Eric Wemple) from the Washington Post
"Voilà — what was once a story about CNN beating up on Fox News in ratings becomes a story about false information being spread about Fox News. Of the PR operation, Folkenflik tells the Erik Wemple Blog, “They are essentially a political unit appended to something that presents itself publicly as a cable news operation.”"
I have to wonder to what extent this is really news.  I guess it's good that someone in the media is finally calling FOX what it really is: an essentially political operation masking as a legitimate cable news operation.  Politics and money are what they are about, not the distribution of fair, accurate or balanced news.

Will The Christie Juggernaut Roll Over Ted Cruz And Rand Paul? (Joe Conason) from the National Memo
Answer: not a chance.  While he will certainly provide the potential for reality-based fireworks during the 2016 primaries, I cannot see how the Tea Party base of the GOP voting in any numbers for him.  His ONLY chance is if he is the only candidate out there who is remotely moderate and he faces 6-8 Tea Party types.  But even there, if Jeb Bush throws in his hat (50-50 says he will), that would divide the already weak and disorganized moderate vote.  Above and beyond these considerations, Christie's
pragmatic views on gay marriage, his chuminess with Obama and his all-over-the-map views on abortion are more then enough to sink him with red state conservative primary voters.  His opponents will make mincemeat out of him.
"... for those enjoying the current civil war within the GOP as a spectator sport, the prospect of a Christie presidential candidacy is promising indeed. Moving toward the center, he is plainly preparing for combat with the herd of politicians – mostly legislators like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Paul Ryan – whose aspirations depend on mobilizing the Tea Party base. And there will be nothing “moderate” about Christie when he sets to work taking those opponents apart."

Wellstone's Revenge: How Minnesota Democrats Took Their State Back (Andy Kroll) from Mother Jones Magazine
"Minnesota's once-woebegone progressives have quietly crafted a road map for turning state capitols blue."

The Greatness of Koji Uehara (Nicholas Thompson) from the New Yorker 
"Koji Uehara, the best relief pitcher on the Boston Red Sox, only throws strikes. He threw eleven pitches in the ninth inning of Game Six against the Tigers: all were strikes. A really good pitcher has a
strike-out-to-walk ratio of about two or three to one. Since August 3rd, Uehara has struck out forty-four and walked no one. In one stretch, he retired thirty-seven batters in a row—and threw twenty-five balls during the whole time. He has allowed the fewest hits and walks per nine innings of any pitcher in history."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

News Nuggets 1322

DAYLEE PICTURE: Scotch pines in Norway.  From National Geographic.

How to Fix the Glitches (Ezekiel Emanuel) from the New York Times
"What went wrong with the Obamacare site, and what to do about it."

Misunderstanding the Problem? from Talking Points Memo
"The site itself is probably one of the best Federal websites ever built, both in design and in the appraoches used to code it. It's pretty, usable, relatively fast, and overall really quite good. So then what's the problem? The site itself is just like a server in a restaurant."

Why Russia Is Growing More Xenophobic (Ilan Berman) from the Atlantic 
"Recent years have seen a marked increase in xenophobia, racism, and violence against non-Slavs within the Russian Federation. The reason, experts say, is widespread anger over economic stagnation and corruption. It is also a reaction to a surge of migrant workers from Russia’s “near abroad” of the Caucasus and Central Asia. With foreign arrivals now totaling 13 to 14 million, Russia’s migrant labor force ranks second only to the United States. But whereas the United States largely assimilates its immigrants, Russia does not.""
The analysis here is of a piece with many of the European economic stories I have showcased here of late.  This story is integrally linked with what has been happening in many parts of Europe since the Recession and before: the re-emergence of fascism.  The take-away for Europe SHOULD be that, if truly democratic governments cannot ameliorate unprecedented economic suffering (see Greece) they not only invite right-wing radicalism of this type, they undermine democracy itself as a basic method for governing.  Indeed, in the Russian case, where something like democracy took some halting steps forward in the 1990s, the people now have settled for a 'Potemkin village' type of democracy which has thrown up soft-glove authoritarians (like Putin).  You have to ask yourself, who's coming after Putin?  Don't be surprised if it is someone who comes much more directly out of this hyper-nationalist stew.

Docs: Dead Marathon Suspect Tied to 2011 Killings from the Associated Press
"Slain Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was named as a participant in an earlier triple homicide by a man who was subsequently shot to death while being questioned by authorities, according to a filing made by federal prosecutors in the case against his brother, surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev."

The United States, Falling Behind by the Editorial Board of the New York Times
Researchers have been warning for more than a decade that the United States was losing ground to its economic competitors abroad and would eventually fall behind them unless it provided more of its citizens with the high-level math, science and literacy skills necessary for the new economy. Naysayers dismissed this as alarmist. But recent data showing American students and adults lagging behind their peers abroad in terms of important skills suggest that the long-predicted peril has arrived."

Poll: Major Damage to GOP After Shutdown, and Broad Dissatisfaction with Government from the Washington Post
The poll "highlights just how badly the GOP hard-liners and the leaders who went along with them misjudged the public mood. In the aftermath, eight in 10 Americans say they disapprove of the shutdown. Two in three Republicans or independents who lean Republican share a negative view of the impasse. And even a majority of those who support the tea party movement disapprove."

CNN Poll: 75% Say Most Republicans in Congress Don't Deserve Re-election (Paul Steinhauser) from CNN
"In a sign of the political hangover congressional Republicans are suffering in the wake of the government shutdown, three-quarters of Americans in a new national poll say that most GOP members of Congress don't deserve to be re-elected. A CNN/ORC International survey released Monday also found a majority saying that the Republicans' policies are too extreme."

Inside The Meeting Where Obama And Reid Vowed Not To Be 'Taken In By These Crazy People' (Stein and Grim) from the Huffington Post
"... at the White House's invitation, the two met in the Oval Office on July 9, with no staff, to talk one on one. It was a cathartic moment, one in which long-buried tensions were fully aired. Aides to the two men tell a similar story: Their boss had been losing confidence in his counterpart and wanted the meeting as a way to buck up the other."

The Shutdown Was Not a Failed Strategy. It Wasn’t a Strategy at All (Jonathan Chait) from the New York Magazine
"It’s not a plan to achieve a defined legislative end. It’s a demonstration of dissent from a political faction that has no chance of winning through regular political channels. The problem they are
attempting to solve in each case is not “how do we achieve this policy objective?” but “how can we express our outrage?”"

Outside the Conservative Bubble, GOP Sustains Epic Damage (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"Beyond what this means for 2014, the apparent inability of many on the right to even acknowledge or care about numbers like these — after all, the only thing that matters is stopping the health law from transforming the country into something no longer recognizably American — makes it less likely Republicans will find a way back to the basic give and take of governing."

RINO Hunting Season Opens in Earnest With End of Shutdown Drama (David Freedlander) from the Daily Beast
"Forget defending their House majority—some Republicans who angered the Tea Party during the shutdown must first beat back primary challenges. Even Boehner isn’t immune, reports David Freedlander."

Democratic Donors Surge Amid GOP Slump from Roll Call
"It’s hard to say which should trouble Republican Party leaders the most right now: the sour mood among GOP donors, or the money suddenly swelling Democratic campaign and super PAC coffers.  Not only have the Democratic campaign committees that back House and Senate candidates outraised their GOP counterparts, but unrestricted super PACs that support Democrats have pulled in close to three times what GOP super PACs have so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics."

A Republican Senator Doubts His Party Can Govern (Ramesh Ponnuru) from Bloomberg
"The senator I’m meeting, who would fall roughly in the middle of the Senate’s Republicans if they were lined up by ideology, voted with the majority. “I’m being shredded by the Tea Party radio people today,” he says, although he doesn’t seem concerned about it. “That is what it is.” His bigger concern: He doesn’t think that his party is ready to govern the country. ... This senator -- who requested anonymity so he could describe the party’s problems candidly -- is part of that less-high-profile contingent. My impression is that his views are widely shared within it."

The 7 Republican Senators Most Vulnerable to a Primary (Kyle Trygstad) from Roll Call
"Hard-line conservatives are rising out of the ashes of a weekslong government shutdown, emboldened by the possibility of adding to their ranks in the Senate next year — whether by picking up Democrat-held seats or taking out Republican incumbents. Just two Republican senators have lost in primaries in the last two election cycles, but that’s not stopping a growing number of intraparty challengers this cycle."

Mike Lee Faces Big Backlash At Home For Defunding Effort from Talking Points Memo
"The campaign to defund the Affordable Care Act may have endeared him to the tea party, but Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is facing a disgruntled constituency at home for his leading role in the quixotic effort that led to the government shutdown and brought the United States close to default."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

News Nuggets 1321

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Pink Cockatoo in China.  From National Geographic.

1.  White House: Health Law's More than a Website from USA Today
"... while the website will ultimately be the easiest way to buy insurance, it isn't the only way. You can call 1-800-318-2596 to apply. You can download an application on and mail it in. Or you can check out to find out where you can apply in person. We're confident you'll find the new way of buying health insurance much easier than the old way."

2.  Fixing from NPR's Diane Rehm Program
"Diane and her guests discuss what's at stake politically and prospects for getting the new health insurance exchanges fully operating by a mid-December deadline."

3.  Obama’s Speech Underplayed Obamacare’s Problems. But it Doesn’t Matter (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"Either the Web site will be fixed in a reasonable time frame, and the law will work, or it won't be fixed and the law will begin to fail. The Affordable Care Act is no longer a political abstraction. It's the law, and it will be judged not on how well politicians message it, but how much it does to improve people's lives."

The Great Desperation (Roger Cohen) from the New York Times
"Silvio Berlusconi’s mad legacy goes well beyond Italy: It symbolizes the corruption of European culture."

The Shrinking: Why the Middle East is Less and Less Important for the United States (Aaron David Miller) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"... the Middle East is not nearly as important as it used to be. The traditional reasons for U.S. involvement are changing. Once upon a time, it was all about containing the Russians, our dangerous dependence on Arab oil, and a very vulnerable Israel. Then it was all about the threat of Islamic extremism and terrorism, and the desire to nation-build in Afghanistan and Iraq. Much of that is now gone."

The End of OPEC from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Designed in part to bring Arab populations their due after decades of colonialism, the embargo opened the floodgates for an unprecedented transfer of wealth out of America and Europe to the Middle East.
Overnight, the largest segment of the global economy, the oil market, became politicized as never before in history. But four decades later, the shoe may finally be on the other foot.."

America's Not in Decline — It's on the Rise (Ely Rattner) from the Washington Post
"In the 1970s and late 1980s, expectations of waning power were followed by periods of geopolitical resurgence. There’s every reason to believe that cycle is recurring today. Despite gridlock in Washington, America is recovering from the financial crisis and combining enduring strengths with new sources of influence, including energy. Meanwhile, emerging powers are running into troubles of their own. Taken together, these developments are ushering in a new era of American strategic advantage."

Anatomy of a Shutdown from Politico
"House Speaker John Boehner just wanted to sneak out of the White House for a smoke. But President Barack Obama pulled him aside for a grilling. Obama wanted to know why they were in the second day of a government shutdown that the speaker had repeatedly and publicly pledged to avoid.  “John, what happened?” Obama asked, according to people briefed on the Oct. 2 conversation. “I got overrun, that’s what happened,” Boehner said."

Obama Needs to Do to Ted Cruz What Eisenhower Did to Joe McCarthy (Jules Whitcover) from the Baltimore Sun
"Today, Mr. Cruz' one-man assault on President Obama and more significantly on the leadership of his own party, both in the Senate and across the Capitol in the House, personifies a new McCarthyism on the Hill. It requires a similar intervention by the moderate voices among the congressional Republicans if the party is to restore its own reputation as a partner in responsible governance."
The problem with this analysis is that McCarthy and Ike were from the same party, a party that had been out of the White House for 20 years.  In addition, Ike entered the White House with a 70+ approval rating!  Obama has no such relationship with Cruz and the Tea Party crowd.  Indeed, I suspect Obama and his inner circle like Cruz to be the face of the GOP for now up until next year's elections.

Business Voices Frustration With GOP from the Wall Street Journal
"The budget stalemate that had the U.S. flirting with default has left business and the Republican Party, longtime political allies, at a crossroads. In interviews with representatives of companies large and small, executives predicted a change in how business would approach politics. They didn't foresee a new alignment with Democrats but forecast backing challengers to tea-party conservatives in GOP primaries, increasing political engagement with centrist Republicans and, for some, disengaging with politics altogether."

Is Corporate America Going to War Against the GOP? (Jacob Heilbrunn) from the National  Interest
"While the Democrats savor their victory over the GOP, Republicans themselves are going to war—against each other. A case in point is the growing disaffection of the business community with the Republican party.  It was no accident that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers both warned legislators against crashing through the debt ceiling. ... Now corporate America is talking about opposing Tea Party candidates with more moderate ones. This is a
fundamental rift over the true identity of the Republican party."

House Tea Partiers Not Anteing Up for 2014 from Politico
"Hard-line conservatives aren’t just sticking it to the national GOP by shutting down the government and bringing the nation to the brink of default — they’re also refusing to pony up to help their party defend the House in 2014. With a little more than a year until the midterm election, many leaders of the shutdown strategy have yet to donate to the National Republican Congressional Committee, records show. At least eight of the debate’s 20 or so most outspoken figures have not given any money to the NRCC, and others have forked over token amounts."

Shutdown Fuels Republican Primaries from Politico
"Nearly a dozen House Republican incumbents already have credible challengers, and conservative groups expect that number to grow in the coming months as races develop and deadlines approach to qualify for the ballot. The coming fiscal battles — there’s now a Jan. 15 deadline for funding the government and a Feb. 7 deadline to raise the debt ceiling — could add fuel to the primary fires."

GOP, Boehner Take Shutdown Hit in New CNN Poll (Paul Steinhauser) from CNN 
"Just over half the public says that it's bad for the country that the GOP controls the House of Representatives, according to a new national poll conducted after the end of the partial government shutdown. And the CNN/ORC International survey also indicates that more than six in 10 Americans say that Speaker of the House John Boehner should be replaced."

Democrats Have A Shot At Taking Back The House As Republican Popularity Continues To Drop: Poll from the Huffington Post
"A new survey of 25 GOP-held districts shows dwindling favorability for Republican members of the House in the wake of the recent government shutdown. The survey, conducted by liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling and funded by, is the third in a series of polls that indicate Democrats have a shot at taking back the House of Representatives in the 2014 election cycle."

Yup, the House is in Play in 2014 (Markos Moulitsas) from Daily Kos 
"We are approaching "wave" territory. PPP's recent massive wave of battleground district polling certainly portends a Blue 2014. About the only good news for the GOP is that it's October 2013. Then again, with Ted Cruz calling the shots, things may only get worse for them."

Fiscal Crisis Sounds the Charge in G.O.P.’s ‘Civil War’ from the New York Times
"In dozens of interviews, elected officials, strategists and donors from both wings of the party were unusually blunt in drawing the intraparty battle lines, suggesting that the time for an open feud over the
Republican future had arrived. “It’s civil war in the G.O.P.,” said Richard Viguerie, a veteran conservative warrior who helped invent the political direct mail business. ...  conservative activists who helped drive the confrontation in Congress and helped fuel support for the 144 House Republicans who voted against ending it are now intensifying their effort to rid the party of the sort of timorous Republicans who they said doomed their effort from the start."

The Tea Party, Not Democrats or Republicans, Is the Problem (Jon Favreau) from the Daily Beast
"It’s de rigueur to decry ‘partisanship’ as Washington’s ‘real problem.’ Let’s get real—the most destructive force in American politics today is the Tea Party, says Jon Favreau."

Michael Steele on the ‘I Told You So’ Caucus Getting the Shutdown Right (Lloyd Grove) from the Daily Beast
"Among the loudest GOP voices predicting the blowup of Cruz control in the shutdown fight was Joe Scarborough—and the former RNC chairman. Steele tells Lloyd Grove why we’re due for a repeat in three months."

The GOP’s Alamo: Republicans are Wasting No Time in Rewriting the History of their Own Defeat (David Weigel) from Slate
"They view any attempt to blame them for the shutdown, and not the president, as media bias in concentrate. This shutdown proved them right, and they’ll carry that knowledge into the budget battle."

Hillary Clinton Vs. the GOP Boys’ Club: Fighting for the Female Vote (Lloyd Green) from the Daily Beast
If Republicans want to win in 2016, they need to start getting smart about appealing to female voters. By Lloyd Green."

Getting Schooled by Obama, the Marriage Counselor in Chief (Joshua DuBois) from the Daily Beast
"Joshua DuBois was President Obama’s director of faith-based initiative, and single. Learning that, the president went to work."

Birth of Conservative Delusion: Roger Ailes Takes his Revenge (Michael Goldfarb) from Salon
"... conservatives also saw Nixon as a martyr to “liberals” and their lap-dogs the press. He also flew the flag for executive-branch power. Conservatives believe in a strong a executive branch — when a Republican is president. The wound from one of their party — if not one of their own — having been driven from office is one that has never stopped festering for the Republicans. ... A four-decade-long war on the press’s legitimacy had begun. The idea that it was a biased liberal press that made the molehill of Watergate into a mountain of Constitutional crisis took root."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

News Nuggets 1320

DAYLEE PICTURE: The Bay of Cadiz in Spain.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

GOP’s Nightmare Come True: Obamacare More Popular Than Ever (Steven Rosenfeld) from Salon
"The GOP-led federal government shutdown over Obamacare has dramatically backfired on Republicans. Nearly two-thirds of active voters, the largest share yet, support the health insurance reform law and want it to work, new nationwide polling has found."

How One Smart Reporter Debunked the Hannity/Fox News Lie Machine (Joan McCarter) from Daily Kos
"Salon's Eric Stern happened to catch Hannity in the act, featuring four couples who swore they had been hurt by Obamacare, and decided to do a little fact checking. Debunking Hannity turned out to be "appallingly easy" for Stern when he conducted follow up interviews Hannity's guests. ... So is Obamacare hurting all Americans? Of course not, just the teeny-tiny bunch of die-hard conservatives who will refuse to be helped."

A Crusade Against Sins of Vatican City from the Washington Post
I hope the Pope is for real on this.  
"Pope Francis has sought to transform the tone of his office, extending olive branches to everyone from gays and lesbians to professed atheists. Now, he aims to reform Vatican bureaucracy."

Shutdown to Cost U.S. Billions, Analysts Say from the New York Times 
"It might take months to come up with a thorough accounting of the direct cost to taxpayers."

The President’s Pivot (Charles Blow) from the New York Times
"Sun Tzu’s ancient Chinese treatise “The Art of War,” perfectly captures President Obama’s strategic victory over Tea Party members of Congress on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate. It also explains his immediate pivot to another topic that Tea Partyers hate and over which their obstinacy is likely to get the party hammered again: comprehensive immigration reform. This is a brilliant tactical move on the president’s part. And Republicans know it."

Government Shutdown Inflicted Widespread Pain, Poll Finds from the Huffington Post
"The government shutdown is finally over, but not before inflicting pain on millions of Americans, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. Forty-four percent of Americans in the survey said the shutdown had hurt their families, including 19 percent who said it hurt a lot."

You’ll Pay for This, GOP: How Obama Will Make the 2013 Shutdown a Political Weapon (William Saletan) from Slate
"“There are no winners here,” President Obama declared at the White House this morning. Then, with an elegant air of nonpartisanship, Obama began to fashion the shutdown into a political weapon. Here’s how he’s going to deploy it. ..."

Republican Defeat: the Tea Party Should be Over from the Editorial Board of the Guardian [of the UK]
"Their mistake was to shut down government, making normal life and people's jobs the hostage of political demands. In doing that, they overreached themselves. Mr Obama is, as a result of this battle, a much steelier character, so are the Democrats in Congress. Together they have been fashioned by this conflict into an effective political force, less hobbled by the opposition. Let us hope the mid-terms mark the moment when the Tea Party's over."

How the GOP Can Neutralize the Tea Party (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"Many Republicans have been muttering over the past few weeks of political craziness that the tea party’s hold on the GOP must be broken to protect their party’s health — not to mention the country’s. ... The answers convince me that a grass-roots movement to rebuild the GOP as a governing party is possible, but only if it’s a disciplined, well-financed effort that mobilizes voters in the Republican-leaning districts where the tea party is strong."

Government Shutdown Exposes Rift Among Republicans from the Associated Press
"Lawmakers and strategists from the Republican Party's establishment are lashing out at tea partyers and congressional conservatives whose unflinching demands triggered the 16-day partial government shutdown and sent the GOP's popularity plunging to record lows. The open criticism is a stark reversal from just three years ago when the GOP embraced new energy from the insurgent group to fuel a return to power in the House."

Republicans Reassess After Shutdown Debacle (Karen Tumulty) from the Washington Post
"The GOP establishment has embarked, once again, on a round of soul-searching. But this time, the question is: What will it take to save the Republicans from the self-destructive impulses of the tea party movement? That the government shutdown was a political disaster for the party that engineered it is widely acknowledged, except by the most ardent tea partyers. And that near-unanimity presents an opportunity for the establishment to strike back — and maybe regain some control from the insurgent wing."

Without the Debt Ceiling or Shutdown, What Will Republicans Use As Leverage Now? (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"Sequestration. And that will work about as well as this month's bluff did."

Sanity Caucus vs. Kamikaze Caucus: A Cheat Sheet for the GOP Civil War (David Rohde) from the Atlantic
"With a budget conference forming and a new debt-ceiling hike coming early in 2014, there's more strife to come. Here is who to watch."

GOP’s Next Civil War: A Demented Blame Game (Brian Buetler) from Salon 
"... in the immediate aftermath of the shutdown fight, the rebel faction in the GOP — the faction that just walked the whole party into a wood chipper — appears completely unchastened.  Like Napoleon blaming his troops for not being better suited to the cold, the defund caucus now says it’s all the moderates’ fault. Maybe the press too."

Ted Cruz, Back in Texas, Rails Against Fellow Senate Republicans (Laura Koran) from CNN
"Sen. Ted Cruz returned to Texas following a whirlwind week in Washington that saw an end to the partial government shutdown that he helped ensure - and for which he made no apologies. Instead, Cruz blasted his fellow Senate Republicans, saying they are most to blame for the failure of the push to defund or delay Obamacare."

Tea Party’s New Theory: Boehner Sabotaged Them on Purpose! (Josh Eidelson) from Salon
"A key Tea Party leader tells Salon that Obama would've given a year-long mandate delay, but Boehner pre-surrendered."

McConnell Faces Tea Party Fury (Alex Pareene) from Salon
"The right is determined to rid itself of its single most effective legislative weapon. Good!  ... These days, angry conservatives seem to get much more excited about campaigns to punish insufficiently conservative Republicans than they do about campaigns to actually defeat Democrats. "

Republican Civil War Erupts: Business Groups v. Tea Party (Michael C. Bender & Kathleen Hunter) from Bloomberg
"A battle for control of the Republican Party has erupted as an emboldened Tea Party moved to oust senators who voted to reopen the government while business groups mobilized to defeat allies of the small-government movement. We are going to get engaged,” said Scott Reed, senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."
For most of this year, almost all the "purge the party" rhetoric within the GOP has come from the Tea Party crowd and it's been directed at their more centrist colleagues.  Well, NOW the battle is joined!  The focus of this story is the US Chamber of Commerce, one of the oldest, most influential, and staunchly Republican lobbying groups in US history!  That's whose doing the talking here.  As folks like Mitch McConnell come under increasing fire from the hard right, look for the more establishment GOPers and their supporters and activist organizations to feel FORCED to take sides.  Can they simply stand by the wayside and let the McConnells, the Grahams, Thad Cochran (of Mississippi) and their non-Tea Party colleagues go the way of the dodo bird?  

A GOP Divided (Michael Gerson) from the Washington Post
"Tea party leaders predicted that the shutdown strategy would result in a mass uprising against Obamacare, forcing the political establishment to defund or delay it. In fact, Republicans were broadly blamed for overreach and the law became (in some polls) more popular.  The reagent was added to the test tube. The reaction did not occur. Conservatives who are not sobered are not serious."

GOP Isn’t Learning from its Mistakes (Joe Scarborough) from Politico 
"This was a big, fat nothing-burger turned into a gladiatorial grudge match by a blizzard of 30-second ads and tactical ignorance. As the smoke clears, we now see a Republican Party holding on to its lowest ever ratings in both the Gallup and the NBC News/WSJ polls. There is enough blame to go around but the bottom line is this: Republicans will not win the White House back again until they unite behind a candidate who wins the vote of Ted Cruz and Colin Powell."

Obama’s Devious Plot to Destroy the GOP (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
"Obama's a center-left technocrat who wants to get immigration done. And getting immigration done, most everyone agrees, would be good for the Republican Party. It's possibly necessary for its very survival. ... that's the irony of the GOP right now: They're so scared that Obama is trying to destroy them that they're destroying themselves."

Keep Quiet, Ted Cruz (Kathleen Parker) from the Washington Post
"What lies ahead is the GOP’s internal struggle to determine which wing of the party prevails. And which wing prevails likely will determine the balance of power come 2014. Suffice to say, if Cruz’s voice drowns out the so-called establishment voices, Republicans may as well start investing in camels. The desert awaits."

Fighting to Survive: “12 Years a Slave” and “All Is Lost.” (Dave Denby) from the New Yorker
"“12 Years a Slave” is easily the greatest feature film ever made about American slavery. It shows up the plantation scenes of “Gone with the Wind” for the sentimental kitsch that they are, and, intentionally or not, it’s an artist’s rebuke to Quentin Tarantino’s high-pitched, luridly extravagant “Django Unchained.”"

Hermann Göring’s Shrink and the Perils of the Nazi Mind (Jack El-Hai) from the Daily Beast
"At the Nuremberg trials of leading Nazis, one American psychiatrist took on the task of understanding their personality, and developed a strange attachment to Hermann Goring that ruined his life. Jack El-Hai on this unknown story."

Who Decided? Peter Baker’s ‘Days of Fire’ (David Frum) from the New York Times
"The Bush administration opened with a second Pearl Harbor, ended with a second Great Crash and contained a second Vietnam in the middle. The story of those eight years would seem far too vast to contain inside a single volume. Yet here that volume is."