Sunday, September 28, 2014

News Nuggets 1488

Capital Reef in Broome, Australia.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: Anti-semitism's Resurgence in Europe

Europe’s Anti-Semitism Rises From Shadows (Jim Yardley) from the New York Times
"In the wake of the conflict in Gaza, three communities became flash points of violence and began contending with anti-Jewish hatred they thought was buried in the past."

Humane Care for the Elderly at the End of Life

Finding Humane Care at the End of Life from the New York Times
"How can the elderly be assured of humane care at the end of life?"

The United States ... Back Out Front Again?

In the Homestretch, Obama Comes on Strong (Serge Schmann) from the New York Times
"This was the week the president went before the United Nations General Assembly and proclaimed, in effect, that the United States was back out front again — not only against the brutality of Islamic terrorists, which “forces us to look into the heart of darkness,” but also against Russia’s vision that “might makes right,” against the spread of Ebola, against global warming."
I do not share this pundit's view that Obama's leadership has been somehow lacking because he has not been "out front" on these issues.  I think a key to Obama's foreign policy has been the view that other powers (re: Europe) need to step up and take on more in "global security" issues, especially when it comes to crises that are far more threats to their own regional interests than they are threats to the US.  Examples: (1) the Ukraine situation vis-a-vis Europe; (2) Syria and US's ally, Turkey; and (3) Libya and NATO allies Italy and the other European Med countries.  In each of these cases, these regional powers would have liked nothing better than for the US to be way out front and to do virtually ALL the heavy lifting to stabilize nearby crisis zones.  In each of these cases, these regional powers would have allowed the US to assume all the risks, all the costs, and all the blame for the outcomes.  Obama, in contrast, has been very (and appropriately in my view) chary about taking this course; and instead has insisted on these regional allies pulling their own weight in matters that primarily threaten their interests and are of lesser concern to the US.  Only in neo-con land is it of primary importance that the US spend American lives and treasure willy-nilly as we make sure everyone knows what a big, bad superpower we are.

The Anti-Obamacare Meme Suffers More Blows

This Classic GOP Anti-Obamacare Meme Has Officially Imploded from Talking Points Memo
"...  it was also the end of one of the GOP's favorite anti-Obamacare memes. Those 7.3 million paying customers meant that more than 90 percent of the 8 million people who President Obama himself said had enrolled in coverage had paid for it."

Why Ginsburg is NOT Retiring from the Court Any Time Soon

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Reason Not to Retire Makes No Sense (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"They may use this power to restrain the president from nominating a particularly objectionable figure, as both parties have done in the past. But if they use it as a generalized blockade, stopping Obama from nominating any mainstream Democratic figure, then Senate Democrats would almost surely enact another rule change."
"Almost surely..."  I'm not sure what Senate Democrats he's talking about here.  What's "most likely" is they would bitch, moan, whine and cry for a year or three either forcing Ginsburg to stay on the court anyway until a replacement is named or for her to retire and leave the seat vacant for months or years until the Dems changed the rule, an open court seat that would largely work to the GOP's benefit.  I understand Chait's argument here -- but Ginsburg's point is both valid and makes as much "sense" as his points do.

Obamacare Persuading a Key Group: Insurers

More Health Insurers to Offer Plans on Obamacare's Individual Exchanges from the Pittsburgh Business Times
"An additional 77 health insurance issuers will offer plans on Obamacare's individual exchanges in 2015, according to the Department of Health and Human Services."

The GOP's New "Birth Control Platform"

Republicans' New Birth Control Platform Not Finding Any Fans in Religious Right (Joan McCarter) from Daily Kos
"What an inconvenience for the religious right that women who prioritize self-determination vote, and so candidates—even Republican ones—have to at least recognize that fact."

The Clintons and the Press: A Toxic Mix

The Clintons Remain The Clintons (Andrew Sullivan) from The Dish
""The kind of reporter-control the CGI imposes – even in the bathroom – is exactly the kind of thing that would make any journalist want to find out what the Clintons want to hide. In other words, I think the problem isn’t simply the press or the Clintons. It’s the toxic combination of the two that seems to bring out the worst in both."

Teachers and the ORIGINAL Charter School Vision

The Original Charter School Vision (Kahlenberg and Potter) from the New York Times 
"In a 1988 address, Mr. Shanker outlined an idea for a new kind of public school where teachers could experiment with fresh and innovative ways of reaching students. Mr. Shanker estimated that only one-fifth of American students were well served by traditional classrooms. In charter schools, teachers would be given the opportunity to draw upon their expertise to create high-performing educational laboratories from which the traditional public schools could learn."

Jeb's Pseudo-Campaign Encountering Some Skepticism

Jeb Bush Returns to Fray and Finds Going Rough from the New York Times 
"In one of his first public appearances of the 2014 campaign, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida had a vivid preview Wednesday of the challenges he would face with his party’s conservative base should he seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

News Nuggets 1487

DAYLEE PICTURE: An aerial view of the Sun City area of Phoenix, Arizona.  From National Geographic.


Speak for Middle America (Jay Cost) from the Weekly Standard
"Say what you want about George W. Bush’s domestic agenda, it was geared toward these people. Whether the policies were sound, Bush’s middle-class tax cuts, his “ownership society,” No Child Left Behind, and private Social Security accounts were all about making these people more prosperous and secure."
"It was geared toward these people?!?  Let's look at this set of disastrous initiatives or meaningless slogans: Bush's middle class tax cuts: the only time in US history the government has cut taxes during a time of war.  Result: off-the--charts deficits which resulted in very little economic bang for the buck.  Remember -- this was one of the LARGEST tax cuts in US history.  Second, Bush's "ownership society" -- an empty slogan that meant nothing to average voters.  Third, "no child left behind", a polic that inaugurated the era of teaching-for-the-test, testing-all-the-time programs, widely viewed now as a terrible "reform" for students, teachers, and parents alike.  And finally, the privatization of social security, a program which even when it was proposed, was widely panned by analysts and rightly feared by seniors.  The key to understanding Cost's analysis here lay in these words: "whether the policies were sound..."  With Cost (as with most right-wing pundits) the point is to have effective "selling points", not to advocate sound policies.  The current GOP advocates nothing.  Once in power, their forte is endless symbolic votes designed to please Wall Street or to mollify Tea Party types. They advocate nothing; they do not look to solve any REAL problems -- only send slings and arrows at largely imaginary ones.

Voting Age and the Outcome in Scotland

Scotland's Other Winners: Teenage Voters (Francis Barry) from Bloomberg View
"The 16- and 17-year-olds who voted in Scotland’s referendum didn't determine the outcome. The margin of victory for the “yes” vote was larger than their total number of votes. But they did make a strong case to the rest of the world for a lower voting age."

A Perspective on the "End-of-Obama" Chorus

Obama Isn’t Finished Yet (James Mann) from the New York Times
"Most of these end-of-Obama sentiments are sincerely felt, and there are plenty of Obama-specific reasons for making these judgments. Yet they all lack historical perspective. In fact, the notion that the Obama presidency is all but over has arrived right on schedule for any second-term president."

So Far, Obamacare Functioning ... as Designed!

Almost All Obamacare Enrollees Are Paying For Coverage from the Huffington Post
"The Obama administration on Thursday finally revealed how many people paid for Obamacare on the national and state health insurance exchanges: 7.3 million."

The Problem of Homeless Children in School

Number Of Homeless Students In America Is Rising Rapidly from the Huffington Post
"The number of homeless students in the United States reached a record high during the 2012-13 school year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education. The report released Monday shows that homeless children enrolled in public preschool and grades K-12 jumped 8 percent from the previous school year to hit 1,258,182."

Protests in Moscow Against Putin's Policies in Ukraine

Thousands March In Moscow Against Ukraine Fighting from the Huffington Post
"Tens of thousands of people marched through central Moscow on Sunday to demonstrate against the fighting in Ukraine and Russia's alleged complicity in the conflict.  An Associated Press reporter estimated the crowd at about 20,000, although the city police department put the number at about 5,000."

The Wonders of Red-State "Model Governance" in Kansas

In Brownbackistan, Everything is Awesome! And Don’t Let Any Liberal Tell You Different (Thomas Frank) from Salon
"He wanted to build a “red-state model” in Kansas, he used to say, a community of righteousness that could “show the way back to being America again.” What he has constructed instead is a microcosm of everything that is wrong and disastrous with conservative governance."

The Dems' "Even Chance" of Keeping the Senate

Senate Democrats Reveal Not-So-Secret Weapon In Campaign To Stay In Control from the Huffington Post
"By all rights, Democrats in the U.S. Senate should be measuring drapes for smaller offices as they head home for an election season that many analysts predict will hand control of the upper chamber to Republicans. But the man most directly in charge of salvaging a grim year for Democrats told HuffPost in an interview this week that there are a couple of not-so-secret but underappreciated reasons why there's an even chance the Senate will remain in Democratic hands."

New Questions About Christie's Governing

Christie's Pension Overseer Invested New Jersey Money In Fund He Is Linked To Privately from the International Business Times
"“It definitely gets an official into an ethically grey area when, in his fiduciary capacity working for the government, he recommends investments where he has a direct financial interest,” said Marshall Auerback, a former hedge fund manager..."

Manhattan's High Line Park is Finished!

The Climax in a Tale of Green and Gritty from the New York Times
"The High Line Opens Its Third and Final Phase."

So You Want a "Good Marriage"?

Getting Married Is Easy (Elizabeth Wurtzel) from the New York Times  
"It’s simple. I just stopped behaving badly and dating disasters."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

News Nuggets 1486

DAYLEE PICTURE: Kyrgyz yak herders in Afghanistan.  From National Geographic.

Economic Woes in France May Have Bad Political Consequences for the EU

France is a Mess, and Europe is Worried (Paul Ames) from Salon
"If economic woes overwhelm Hollande's government and buoy the far right, the whole eurozone could feel the impact."

Beyond ISIS and Ukraine: What Else Happened This Summer?

Five overlooked stories that could reshape world affairs from the Atlantic
"Syria, Ukraine, Gaza, Iraq, ISIS, Ebola—the list of this past summer’s disasters is long. But buried among the tragic headlines and breaking news are other events that attracted less attention but could be just as consequential for global affairs. Here are five to watch."

Obama's Limited Engagement with ISIS Strikes a Careful Balance

Bipartisan Support for Obama’s Military Campaign Against ISIS from the Pew Research Center
"Dems Concerned about ‘Going Too Far,’ Reps ‘Not Far Enough’."
Now, let's be clear: if you were to listen to the pundit class and the neo-con/liberal interventionist blatherers that have been flooding the media in the last two months, you would have thought that Obama was in some la-la kookoo land of his own when it came to his approach to ISIS (and Syria and Iran and others).  However, as this item suggests (and as I have long believed) Obama is not alone.  The great majority of the American people are with him on this!  Many don't like ANY of the choices we are faced with in the international realm -- but Obama's caution and limited engagement strikes a difficult and carefully calibrated response that matches up with the American people's mood.  Consider where we would be if John McCain and his ilk were now in charge?  (1)  We would still have substantial forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and sustaining and inflicting the casualties that we had for the last 12 years; (2) we would be deeply involved in (let's count them) Syria, Lybia, Egypt (on Mubarek's side no less) and Ukraine; and (3) we would be at war with Iran over their nuclear program!  


Building Legacy, Obama Reshapes Appellate Bench from the New York Times 
"Democrats have reversed the partisan imbalance on the federal appeals courts that long favored conservatives, a little-noticed shift with far-reaching consequences for the law and President Obama’s legacy. For the first time in more than a decade, judges appointed by Democratic presidents considerably outnumber judges appointed by Republican presidents."

Is the Ozone Layer Healing?

Ozone layer is healing, expected to recover by around 2050, major report finds from the Washington Post
"Stratospheric ozone depletion, an environmental crisis in the 1980s, can now be considered an environmental triumph thanks to global cooperation in combating it. The latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion, published by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, reports the ozone layer will become restored over the next few decades."

Another day, another survey showing that Obamacare is beginning to cure America's uninsured problem

Uninsured Rate Drops To Lowest Level Since The '90s from the Huffington Post
"That's the lowest number and percentage of uninsured people since the CDC started using this version of its survey in 1997. It's also down 3.8 million people and 1.3 percentage points from the end of 2013."

Teens are using less pot, alcohol, and cigarettes

Teens are using less pot, alcohol, and cigarettes (German Lopez) from Vox
"Even as illicit drug use continues to creep up among all Americans, teenagers report less drug use."

Man in vegetative state for 16 YEARS reacts to Hitchcock film

Brain scans show patient can follow plot and react with excitement from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"34-year-old was left unresponsive after a cardiac arrest 16 years ago. Scientists showed an eight minute clip of 'Bang! You're Dead' to patient. His brain patterns showed activity linked to anticipation and excitement. One in five 'vegetative' patients are misdiagnosed as being unconscious. This and similar studies may reveal the number is higher, scientists say."

"Culture Wars" Battlefield Shifting in Dems' Favor

Turning Tables, Democrats Use Cultural Issues as a Cudgel from the New York Times
"After a generation of campaigns in which Republicans exploited wedge issues to win close elections, Democrats are now on the offensive in the culture wars."

Ad Wars in Key Senate States

Dem Ads are More Effective from the Washington Examiner
"Outside liberal groups are running more effective ads in key Senate races by sticking to the script, while conservative groups focus too much on their own agendas, Republican strategists say."

What Happened to Kansas? The GOP REALLY Took Charge.

Conservative Experiment Faces Revolt in Reliably Red Kansas from the New York Times
"Although every statewide elected official in Kansas is a Republican and President Obama lost the state by more than 20 points in the last election, Mr. Brownback’s proudly conservative policies have turned out to be so divisive and his tax cuts have generated such a drop in state revenue that they have caused even many Republicans to revolt. Projections put state budget shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually, raising questions of whether the state can adequately fund education in particular."

Sober Reflections on Bill Clinton's presidency

The Myth of Bill Clinton, Political Genius (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"... is there any actual reason to believe the story of Clinton as political impresario is anything more than a mutually convenient myth?"
I have long felt that Bill's reputation in this area was greatly exaggerated.  He was brilliant ... in extricating himself from the political dung holes that he created and then promptly jumped into.  As I have long argued here, for a two-term president, he accomplished very little, and that this was largely due to how he (and, yes, Hillary) squandered their political capital on "hail Mary" political rescues rather than on much that made a substantive difference for the American people. -- Nuggetsman

Eleanor Roosevelt ... and Hillary

Channeling Eleanor (Eleanor Clift) from the Daily Beast
"Each weathered the crisis in their marriage by going on to find solace and meaning in public service: where they truly are soul mates is in their devotion to social justice, human rights, and the advancement of women and girls in society."


Ancient Flying Beast Named After 'Avatar' Creature from the Huffington Post
"If those bizarre flying dragons that carried around blue humanoids in the 2009 science fiction film "Avatar" were real, they likely would have been descendants of this ancient flying reptile:..."


What lies beyond the third chamber? Archaeologists move further inside Alexander the Great era tomb - but will it collapse? from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"The tomb is situated in the Amphipolis region of Serres in Greece.  Its huge burial site is said to date back between 325 and 300 BC.  This means it could have been built during the reign of Alexander the Great.  Archaeologists have now entered the third chamber of the tomb.  However, it is structurally weak and could collapse if they enter further.  It is unknown if anything lies beyond the third chamber.  Two sculpted female figures, known as Caryatids, were found last week.  It is thought they were intended to guard one of the tomb's entrances.  Experts hope it holds the remains of a senior ancient official."

Europe goes back to the Middle Ages

"Map shows how Europe would look if every separatist movement achieved its goal of autonomy.  Well-known movements like Basque nationalism shown alongside smaller, less well-known secessionists."

Friday, September 12, 2014

News Nuggets 1485

DAYLEE PICTURE:  Bears feeding on Salmon on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.  From National Geographic.


Stop the Anti-Obamacare Shenanigans (Aaron, Cutler, and Orszag) from the New York Times
"If the full District of Columbia Circuit takes up the case, it should reject this sophistry. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court should wait to see what the lower courts do before deciding whether to intervene. Whatever one thinks of the Affordable Care Act, it is absurd to argue that its drafters intended to make insurance unaffordable."

A New "Voting Rights" Amendment?

Jesse Jackson Visits City to Push Amendment for Voting Protection from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Elections in the United States are a different story, said Rev. Jackson, who met with city and county officials Monday to push for a U.S. constitutional amendment that would enshrine voting as a fundamental right. “Our struggle today is to continue to get a more perfect union; it is to democratize democracy,” he said. “So all of us count as persons.”"

The Myth of "Job Creators"

America's 'Job Creators' Would Rather Do Anything But Create Jobs: Survey from the Huffington Post
"America's capitalists take every chance they get to remind us that they are our "job creators," but it turns out that their least-favorite thing on earth to do is create jobs. Most U.S. business leaders would rather build robots, outsource work or use part-time employees than hire workers full-time, according to a new Harvard Business School survey. Here's a nice infuriating graphic from the smarty-pantses at Harvard Business School, who are educating all of our future non-job-creators in the art of not creating jobs: ..."

Obamacare Succeeding "Beyond All Reasonable Expectations"!

The Obamacare train keeps not wrecking from Vox
"...  less than 10 months after major media outlets were hosting debates with headlines like "Is the Affordable Care Act Beyond Repair?", Obama's signature accomplishment is succeeding beyond all reasonable expectation."

The GOP's Darkest Nightmare

Ted Cruz’s Obamacare Nightmare Comes to Life (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"Once Americans had grown accustomed to the sweet comfort of affordable health insurance, Cruz foresaw, they would never give it up: “[Obama’s] strategy is to get as many Americans as possible hooked on the subsidies, addicted to the sugar. If we get to Jan. 1, this thing is here forever.” Cruz may have been completely misguided in his belief that this logic dictated that Republicans instigate a government shutdown, but on the political economy of Obamacare, he was completely right."

Dislike for the GOP Doesn't Mean Much at the Polls

People hate the Republican Party. But they really don’t. (Aaron Blake) from the Washington Post
"... the GOP's brand definitely hurts it. But when voters head to the polls, are they really thinking about the practical impact of sending another Republican to empower the other Republicans who are already in Washington? As it turns out, not really."


Witness Mecca's Dramatic Transformation Over The Past Century In Just 14 Photos from the Huffington Post
"Although the requirements of Hajj have remained the same, Mecca itself has changed dramatically over the decades."


'I Can See, Mommy': Witness The Moment Two Blind Sisters See The World For First Time from the Huffington Post
"Sonia and Anita, two sisters living in rural India, were both born blind. A simple surgery, costing about $300, could have restored their sight long ago; but their parents, who earn 17 cents an hour planting and harvesting rice by hand, could barely make ends meet. Though the odds seemed stacked against them, the girls got a happy ending anyway."
For several years now I have been showcasing the Hope-for-Paws animal rescue videos.  On Lynn Cullen's program and elsewhere, I routinely say that what Eldad and company have done is create a ground-breaking "virtuous circle" that other charitable organizations should explore to see if it could be applied to their issue.  HERE is the first organization with real human victims where the parallels are almost perfect.  This is what I've been talking about.  Check it out!


On Repeat: Why People Watch Movies and Shows Over and Over (Derek Thompson) from the Atlantic
"The glory of old films, memories, and the existential therapy of nostalgia."

Monday, September 8, 2014

News Nuggets 1484

DAYLEE PICTURE: Patos Island among the San Juan Islands in Washington State.
From National Geographic.

NATO's New Rapid Response Force Represents New Pressure on Russia

Global Surge: Leaders Announce Major Initiatives Against Russia And Islamic State from the Huffington Post
"Western leaders announced two major initiatives at the NATO summit in Wales on Friday, in an effort to show decisive action in the face of growing global threats. NATO member states voted on Friday to form a "rapid response force" aimed at countering Russian aggression, while reassuring the organization's eastern member states that they would be protected in case of encroachment onto their territory. Countries such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia fear that Moscow may target them next."
The Punditry vs. the Presidency (Michael Cohen) from the New York Daily News
"How the constant chorus of ‘do something’ Obama foreign policy critics gets it wrong."

The Danger of Taking Sides When There is No Center

Ready, Aim, Fire. Not Fire, Ready, Aim. (Thomas Friedman) from the New York Times
"Representative Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told “Fox News Sunday” that “this ‘don’t-do-stupid-stuff’ policy isn’t working.” That sounded odd to my ear — like we should just bomb somebody, even if it is stupid. If Obama did that, what would he be ignoring? First, experience. ... When you have a region beset by that many civil wars at once, it means there is no center, only sides. And when you intervene in the middle of a region with no center, you very quickly become a side."

The Doctrine of Good Intentions: Do SOMETHING in Ukraine! Then Let's See What Happens

Ukraine Deserves Support from NATO Countries even if it’s Not Part of the Alliance from the editorial board of the Washington Post
"Individual NATO members, including the United States, should immediately begin supplying the Ukrainian army with lethal weapons, as congressional leaders from both parties have been urging. Ukraine needs anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, drones, spare parts and fuel, among other things, and these are readily available in NATO members’ arsenals."
Fred Hiatt and his neo-hawk friends on the Post's editorial board sounding off.  Of the "Do Something!" crowd on Ukraine, this is the most explicit most of these folks ever get.  First of all, I don't get that these limited measures will make any difference -- and second, it sounds too much like William Crystal's "Bomb 'em and see what happens" approach being applied to the Ukrainian crisis. Let's call this what it is: "The Doctrine of Good Intentions."  The underlying assumption is "because we mean well," the real losses we might sustain are justifiable and, in addition, we're somehow less responsible if things go bad -- Nuggetsman

Disturbing Upsurge in Anti-Semitism Around the World

Anti-Semitism spiking around world, State Department special envoy says from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"A senior State Department official said rising hostility and prejudice against Jews is reaching levels not seen in decades, particularly in Europe. “We're going to combat anti-Semitism, but we're not going to solve the problem. We can't turn the faucet off. It's been running for 2,300 years. But maybe we can turn it down,” said Ira N. Forman, the State Department's special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism."
Along with the ongoing financial crisis in Europe, one of the key explanations for this (I believe) is how Israel has presented itself to the world over the last 10-20 years.  Through much of Israel's modern history, they have been VERY effective at selling their message and their image around the world -- while the Arabs and the Palestinians particularly were very bad at the global PR game.  In recent decades and especially under Bibi's leadership, Israel has been TERRIBLE at this, even as the Palestinians have very much raised their game.  Indeed, in his second stint in office, it has seemed like Netenyahu's message to the world seems to have ""F--- you!"  and "Because we're good buds with America, who cares what the rest of the world thinks!?"  I suspect this has been a dangerous miscalculation on his part as even in the US, support for Israel (especially in the middle and on the left side of the political spectrum) has eroded quite a bit -- and most of the rest of the world has become very sick of the Israeli gov't's antics! -- Nuggetsman.

Obamacare Survives in the Courts AGAIN

Federal Appeals Court Withdraws Decision Defunding Obamacare from Think Progress
"In July, two Republican judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit handed down a decision defunding much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This effort to implement Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) top policy priority from the bench was withdrawn on Thursday by the DC Circuit, and the case will be reheard by the full court — a panel that will most likely include 13 judges. In practical terms, this means that July’s judgment cutting off subsidies to consumers who buy insurance plans in federally-operated health exchanges is no more."

Obamacare Lawsuits Increasingly Seen as the Hollow Partisan Arguments They Have Always Been

Obamacare Lawsuits Just Suffered a Big Setback: What it means and how the legal challenge could play out (Jonathan Cohn) from the New Republic 
"The real significance of today’s announcement is how it affects the Supreme Court. The architects of the lawsuit had already petitioned the justices, asking them to take up the case and issue a final, authoritative ruling. ... But the best pretext for the justices to take the case would be a split among Circuit Court rulings—i.e., one decision upholding the lawsuit and one rejecting it. As of this morning, that split no longer exists."

For a Generation, the GOP Blocked Health Care Reform ... for the Sake of a Talking Point

GOP's Obamacare Nightmare Is Coming True: It's Working from Talking Points Memo
"To get a sense of why this is worrying for Republicans in the long run, look no further than conservative strategist Bill Kristol's 1993 memo — "Defeating President Clinton's Health Care Proposal" — warning that reform would paint Democrats as "the generous protector of middle-class
interests" and strike a "punishing blow" to the GOP's anti-government ideology."

What's In a Name? Sometimes Long-term Unemployment

He Dropped One Letter In His Name While Applying For Jobs, And The Responses Rolled In from the Huffington Post
"Zamora said he wasn't getting any responses, so on a hunch, he decided to drop the "s" in his name. José Zamora became Joe Zamora, and a week later, he says his inbox was full. ... Although digital job applications would seem to be the ultimate exercise in colorblind hiring, numerous studies and applicants have found the opposite."

In Washington, the Future Not as Bad as the Present

Young candidates can fix a broken system (David Gergen) from the Boston Globe
"At a time when national politics is so broken, a new generation of young men and women who first cut their teeth in service to others are now venturing into the political arena, offering us fresh, idealistic leadership that may be our best hope of breaking out of today's mess."
I completely agree with Gergen here -- the next generation of leaders and lawmakers will substantially transform the current state of gridlock! -- Nuggetsman

New Polling on Dem Senate Races Looks Encouraging

Our Senate model is moving in Democrats’ direction all of a sudden. Why? from the Washington Post
"On July 15, Election Lab, The Post's election model, gave Republicans an 86 percent chance of winning the six seats they needed to take over the Senate majority.  Today -- 50 days later -- it gives Republicans only a 52 percent chance of winning the majority. So, how did the model go from predicting a sure-thing Republican majority to now calling the fight for the majority a statistical toss up?"

Constancy and Workability More Important in Weight Loss than the Program Itself

The one thing you need to know about weight loss and diet studies from Vox 
"The study authors concluded that the best diet is one that a person can stick with. And that's a conclusion echoed by other large-scale studies comparing the outcomes of different types of weight-loss programs."

Tea Party Finally Takes Ricky Perry's Full Measure?

Tea Party Unloads on 'Complete Imbecile' Rick Perry (Olivia Niuzzi) from the Daily Beast
"For a second there, diehard conservatives thought the Texas governor was something of a badass. Now they’re pissed about his new aides."


Judy Garland, in her own words, on drugs, drink, suicide attempts and her loathing of Hollywood from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Judy Garland never finished her memoir that she wanted to write to give her side of her exploitation at the hands of Hollywood, drugs and suicide bids.  Author Randy L Schmidt has pieced together her innermost thoughts in Judy Garland on Judy Garland, Interviews and Encounters."


Rescuing a scared stranded Pit Bull who was struggling to survive from Hope for Paws

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

News Nuggets 1483

DAYLEE PICTURE: The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park.  From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: Fighting in the "Bad" Neighborhoods to Keep Blacks Out of the "Good" Neighborhoods

What My Dad, a Detroit Riot Cop, Might Think About Ferguson (Ron Fournier) from National Journal
"The Detroit riots were the subject of one of the last conversations I had with Dad before he got sick. We were at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum with my son, standing in front of a 1960s exhibit that included a life-sized picture of the Detroit riots. "We fought in the bad neighborhoods," Dad said, "all the while wondering whether the bad guys were burning down our homes, too."  ...  One blogger called the president "almost ridiculously tentative and even-handed"—as if it's a political crime to be fair. Even-handedness is not the hallmark of modern politics, a profession that increasingly rewards hard-headed politicians and journalists."

NATO Hardliners Push for Firmer Stance against Russia

Merkel's Failed Diplomacy (Nikolaus Blome) from Der Spiegel [of Germany in English]
"After months of failed telephone diplomacy between Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, hardliners are gaining the upper hand in discussions over the appropriate response to Russia. They may soon prevail with demands that go far beyond new economic sanctions."

Russia: Making NATO's Case for the Europeans

Putin Has Done NATO A Big Favor (John Cassidy) from the New Yorker 
"In handling the ISIS advance and Russian mischief making in the Ukraine, the U.S. government is hostage to circumstances and contingencies that aren’t fully under Obama’s control, and which demand modulated responses. But in exercising American leadership in NATO, which is the primary purpose of this trip, he is dealing with an alliance that, courtesy of Putin, has just discovered a new reason to exist—or, rather, has rediscovered an old one."

Russia: Buying Influence in the "Used Lawmaker" Market

Russian Bank Hires Two Former U.S. Senators from the Center for Public Integrity
"U.S. sanctions against Russia are becoming a boon for Washington's lobbyists. ...  former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and former Senator John Breaux, D-La., are listed as the main lobbyists under the Gazprombank account for the firm Squire Patton Boggs, lobbying on “banking laws and regulations including applicable sanctions.”"
Lott and Breaux: what sh%# heels!!  

China Bringing "Order" to Hong Kong

China: No Open Nominations For Hong Kong Leader from the Associated Press 
"China's legislature on Sunday ruled out allowing open nominations in the inaugural election for Hong Kong's leader, saying they would create a "chaotic society." Democracy activists in the Asian financial hub responded by saying that a long-threatened mass occupation of the heart of the city "will definitely happen.""

Europe -- Back into Recession

Stopping Europe's Descent Into Deflation from the editors of Bloomberg 
"Until recently it was debatable whether Europe's economy was recovering. No longer. Its recovery has stopped. The question now is whether the stagnation will tip over into something worse."
WHAT will it take to get the leadership there to WAKE UP!?

European youth will be have to learn soft job skills, like showing up on time and taking directions, in their 30’s and 40’s. The brutal truth is, and statistics bear out, that a person who has not worked by the age of 30 has a low probability of ever working at all. When and if the EU economies recover, employers will first hire more malleable recent high school and college graduates. I envision an EU future of pathetic economies supporting a large permanent welfare system, with a generally low standard of living for everyone.

Posted by: hopeandespair

On Heath Care, Even Conservative States Now Facing Reality

Why Even Uber-Conservative States Are Now Bending On Obamacare from Talking Points Memo
"Few states are as conservative as Wyoming. Nearly 70 percent of its voters went for Mitt Romney in 2012. Out of 90 legislative seats, 78 are held by Republicans. A Republican governor. It is also epitomizes the independent streak found in the West, defined by a deep distrust of the federal government. But even there, state officials are starting to open up to the idea of expanding Medicaid under Obamacare."
You betcha'!  Bill Clinton had predicted that this would happen when Obamacare was originally passed.

Being "SOMEBODY" When Employers Seem to Want Nobody

Dreaming of Meaningful Work from the Los Angeles Times
"... for the many members of the younger generation who are planning to enter the workforce right out of high school or after attending community college. We tend to view their relation to work in strictly functional, economic terms. Yet they, just like their peers headed toward the
baccalaureate, are newly realizing how important work will be in their lives, how it will shape who they are and what they can do in the world. They are desperate to be somebody, to possess agency and competence."

The Fastest Shrinking Occupations

America's Disappearing Jobs from the Huffington Post 
"Increased automation, digitization, and technological innovation play a role in the decline of several of the fastest shrinking occupations. “We definitely think that technology and automation are a factor with some of these [jobs],” Martin Kohli, chief regional economist at the BLS, told 24/7 Wall St."

Making It Without a College Degree

10 Best-Paying Jobs for High School Graduates from 24/7 Wall Street 
"As the cost of attending college increases each year, some high school graduates may wonder how well they could do without a college degree. While occupations that only require a high school diploma are often low-paying jobs, several pay well above the median wage."

Health Care Spending Has Slowed SHARPLY!

The Medicare Miracle (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"Health spending has slowed sharply, and it’s already well below projections made just a few years ago. The falloff has been especially pronounced in Medicare, which is spending $1,000 less per beneficiary than the Congressional Budget Office projected just four years ago. This is a really big deal, in at least three ways."

Obamacare Surpassing Expectations

Here's Where Obamacare Has Made The Most Progress from the Huffington Post 
"More than 8 million people enrolled in private health insurance under Obamacare for 2014, topping expectations despite a rocky start. But that's less than one-third of the number of people who could have signed up -- a sign of the huge untapped market for Obamacare coverage and the challenges still facing the program."

The Gun Market Glut

Assault Rifles Pile Up as Gun-Law Gridlock Crimps Makers from Bloomberg 
"Now, with the political impetus waning for new restrictions, the rush for firearms is ebbing too. “Assault-rifle sales stopped in their tracks,” Jim Hornsby, owner of the suburban Atlanta store, said as muffled gunfire popped off from the attached shooting range. He estimated sales of the long guns are off 70 percent from last year. “It’s hard to give an AR away.”"

The Downside of Pursuing "Your Dream Job"

I Never Should Have Followed my Dreams (David Sobel) from Salon
"“You were right to leave that job,” my dad said as the nurses escorted me to intake. I no longer agreed. I stepped outside of the box to access my latent achiever and start a new career. Instead, I emptied my retirement fund and entered the psychiatric ward."
I remember reading about a study a few years ago pertaining to parents attitudes toward trade work, more specifically, why parents actively discourage their children from pursuing trade craft. Of course it is because trade work in the US is carries the stigma of low status. But I fail to see how a job at Starbucks is perceived as good and desirable. Every time I see a strong and intelligent young man at Starbucks, I want to grab him, and shake him, and say, “Why the hell aren’t you building somebody’s addition! Do you have any Idea how much money you’re losing here?” But of course his mom would have been so DISSAPOINTED if he had attended the local vocational-technical high school.  So you have a condition in the US where high school counselors push all the problem kids into the vocational school, and people wonder why they can’t get a decent contractor, and why their business graduate son is living in the basement.  
Posted by: hopeandespair

Concerns Grow in GOP Over Fall Elections

Halfway House: GOP Falling Short in Midterms from Politico
"Tepid fundraising, underperforming candidates and a lousy party brand are threatening to deprive House Republicans of the sweeping 2014 gains that some top party officials have been predicting this year."

Why Look to Romney When You Have SO MUCH to Choose From?

Romney 2016? Nooooo! (Marc A. Thiessen) from the Washington Post
"In 2016, Republicans have a much stronger field of potential candidates to choose from. Thanks to the GOP’s sweep of statehouses in recent years, a slew of successful governors other than Romney could run, including Mike Pence, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Chris Christie and Scott Walker."
WOW.  THIS is what a strong GOP field looks like in the 21st century?!  Amazing.


After living under a dumpster for 11 months, this dog gets rescued!!! from Hope for Paws