Sunday, November 23, 2014

News Nuggets 1497

DAYLEE PICTURE: Turkey Tail Fungus in British Columbia.  From National Geographic.

Immigration Action May Derail the Republican Agenda

Obama's plan of action on immigration may derail Republican agenda from the Los Angeles Times
"... the strong reaction by Republican leaders has less to do with opposition to the nuts and bolts of the president's immigration policy and more to do with fear and anger that the issue will derail the agenda of the new Republican majority before the next Congress even convenes."

President's Immigration Actions May Damage the Stability of the GOP Looking Ahead

Republicans confront own worst enemy on immigration from the Washington Post
"Just two weeks ago, Republicans handed President Obama a humiliating defeat at the polls, winning full control of Congress. But already, GOP leaders fear that the conservative uproar over the president’s immigration actions will doom any hopes for a stable period of GOP governance."

Obama Fulfills His Promise on Immigration

On Immigration, Obama Fulfills His Promise to Progressives (Peter Beinart) from the Atlantic
"The president has long been tugged between his bipartisan urges and his activist roots. With his executive order and speech Thursday, he chose activism."

Obama's Words to the GOP Over Immigration? "Bring It!!"

The Coming GOP Freakout Over Immigration (Patricia Murphy) from the Daily Beast
"With an executive order this week that will affect 5 million undocumented immigrants, the president is daring the Republicans to fight back—and alienate Latino voters."

Employers' New Higher Wage Dodge: "Associate in Need" Programs

Walmart employees holding food drives for their own colleagues who can't put food on the table for the holidays from the Daily Mail [of the UK] 
"A picture was posted online on Thursday of a green box at an Oklahoma City store asking employees to donate canned for 'associates in need' One employee said today: 'We work hard and we don't want charity. We just want a fair wage."

The Impact of Pittsburgh's Waterfront Renewal

How Green Riverfronts Transformed Pittsburgh from the Atlantic
"The City of Bridges revives the rivers that helped make it an economic powerhouse."

House Intelligence Committee's Benghazi Report Torches Conspiracy Theories

House Intelligence Committee's Benghazi Report Torches Conspiracy Theories from the Huffington Post
"Yet another detailed investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, has refuted claims that there was a coverup or that officials didn't do all they could at the time to save the four Americans killed that night."

Obama Uniting Conservatives Against Him? Hardly

Republicans Hand Obama an Immigration Political Triumph (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"Michael Gerson, the Bush-era speechwriter and an advocate of bipartisan legislation, warns that Obama is “uniting conservatives — from the Obama-obsessed to reasonable institutionalists — in fervent opposition.” Actually, just the opposite is occurring. Ardent populists are demanding a series of suicidal confrontations, from shutdowns to, potentially, impeachment, as the Party leadership strains desperately to keep them at bay."

Immigration and a Gov't Shutdown: A Masterpiece of GOP Self-Sabotage

An Immigration Shutdown Is the Dumbest Idea the Republican Party Has Ever Had (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"It is almost a masterpiece of self-sabotage, harnessing the party’s most self-destructive short-term political maneuver to its most dangerous long-term demographic liability. It is the sharks-with-laser-beams of political maneuvers."

President Obama's climate agreement already paying off

President Obama's climate agreement already paying off, as China announces cap on coal use by 2020 from Daily Kos
"This was an historic moment, and it also puts pressure on other large polluters to do their part. But China already is stepping up. And of course, the Republicans were furious that the agreement was even made. Find out what the climate scientists are saying, and how the Republicans are responding, over the fold."

The GOP's Darker Impulses WILL Surface in Debate Over Immigration

The GOP Reaction to Obama's Immigration Order Will Be Way More Damaging Than They Realize (Noam Scheiber) from the New Republic
"... it turns out to be the one issue on which the right is least capable of maintaining the pretense that its objections are procedural rather than born of some deeper, darker suspicions."

The GOP's 2014 Victories a "Dark Victory"?

GOP Columnist: The VERY Bad News FOR THE GOP in the GOP's Midterm Victory from Daily Kos
"A GOP strategist, columnist at the Houston Chronicle who goes by the handle GOPLifer, Chris Ladd, has declared that the week of the Midterm Elections “was a dark week for Republicans, and for everyone who wants to see America remain the world’s most vibrant, most powerful nation.” What the HELL! Where was he? In a careful analysis, Ladd builds a case..."

Obama's Immigration Stance Upsets 2016 Pres Hopefuls

Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects (Jon Terbush) from The Week 
"By moving ahead solo before the new Congress is sworn in, Obama ensured Republicans will finally have to address immigration reform next year — and on into 2016. This poses a unique problem for two of the GOP's biggest potential presidential candidates who have broken with the party on the issue."

The Hillary Camp Looks Ready to Go

For Democrats, Hillary Clinton just has to say ‘Go.’ For voters, she’ll have to say much more (Dan Balz) from the Washington Post
"The black-tie dinner was also a reminder of the potential gap between Clinton and the voters she will appeal to if she is a candidate. Much of the conversation with Isaacson was about the Roosevelts — Franklin, Eleanor and Teddy. One point made by both Clinton and Isaacson was that while the Roosevelts came from privileged circumstances, they found in public service ways to advocate for those without."


Squirrel and cat playing from Youtube

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

News Nuggets 1496

Glacier National Park.  From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: Who Are We? The Question Asked by Arab Muslims

Who Are We? (Thomas Freidman) from the New York Times
"... conversations here in Dubai, one of the great Arab/Muslim crossroads, make it clear that the rise of the Islamic State “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, and its barbaric treatment of those who are against them — moderate Sunnis or Shiites, Christians, other minorities and women — has revived this central debate about “who are we?” Why? Because the Islamic State, or ISIS, is homegrown; its aim is not to strike at enemies far away, but to spread and impose its vision of an Islamic society right here and right now..."

Obama Boldly Pushes Agenda Forward!

Obama Boldly Pushes Agenda Forward After Election Losses, Sparking GOP Outrage from the Huffington Post
"President Barack Obama's party may have taken a beating at the polls last week, but that hasn't stopped him from taking an aggressive series of actions to push his agenda forward.  Over the last week, Obama announced a historic deal on climate change, took a bold stance to protect an open Internet, and is expected to soon announce sweeping changes to the nation's immigration system. Some progressives are already taking notice."

Will the GOP Try to Impeach Obama? Probably.

Rep. Jim Clyburn: GOP will try to impeach President Obama from Politico  
“There will be some reason found to introduce an impeachment resolution,” the South Carolina congressman said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.” “These Republicans have decided that this president must have an asterisk by his name after he leaves office, irrespective of whether or not he gets convicted. It is their plan to introduce an impeachment resolution.”
I completely agree with Clyburn's analysis here -- the GOP HAS to do something that will placate their enraged base.  It is ALL BUT CERTAIN that the Republican Congress will accomplish virtually nothing else!  They have to be able to fill their idle hours with something they can sell come primary election time -- and impeachment WILL be it.  I suspect that whether Obama is actually found guilty or not doesn't matter.

What If the SCOTUS Rules Against Obamacare?

A SCOTUS ruling against Obamacare: Health care for the poor, but not for the working middle class? (Greg Sargent) from the Washington Post
"The question is this: Will these legislators really support federal money flowing into their states to help poor people continue to get health care, while opposing federal money flowing into their states in a way that could result in working and middle class people losing their health care?"

Number Of Homeless Children In America Surges

Number Of Homeless Children In America Surges To All-Time High: Report from the Huffington Post
"The number of homeless children in the U.S. has surged in recent years to an all-time high, amounting to one child in every 30, according to a comprehensive state-by-state report that blames the nation's high poverty rate, the lack of affordable housing and the impacts of pervasive domestic violence."

Why Is American Teaching So Bad?

Why Is American Teaching So Bad? (Jonathan Zimmerman) from the New York Review of Books
"The primary responsibility of teachers is no longer to encourage good behavior in future citizens, as Horace Mann insisted. Instead, it’s to ensure that they get the right answers on a high-stakes test. The shift in goals has unfortunately done nothing to alter the tedious, anti-intellectual practices of American teaching. If anything, the strong commitment to “academic” goals has probably made teaching less academic—so far as the quality of learning is concerned—and more routinized than it was before."

Federalist Society Begrudgingly Accepts Obama's Immigration Powers

Legal Panel At Federalist Society Begrudgingly Accepts Obama's Immigration Powers from Huffington Post
" But, by and large, the panelists agreed the president has wide legal latitude to prioritize and shape deportation laws, as regrettable for Republicans or the long-term balance of powers that may be."

Declining Interest in Cable TV

People are moving away from cable TV, but the industry is not going down without a fight. from the Huffington Post
"A report released Friday by the Leichtman Research Group says the 13 largest pay-TV providers -- a group that includes companies like Time Warner, Comcast and DirecTV -- shed about 150,000 video subscribers in the most recent quarter, compared to just 25,000 in the same period last year."

Will Demographics Sink the GOP Majority?

What Happened the Last Time Republicans Had a Majority This Huge? They lost it (Mark Zeitz) from Politico
"... what if the Republicans of 1928 owed their demise to a more fundamental force? What if it was demography, not economics, that truly killed the elephant?"

The Dark Art of Political B.S

The Dark Art of Political B.S. (John Harris) from Politico
"Pay no attention to the pundit behind the curtain: Most of them are full of it."

The Return of the GOP Shutdown Gollum

The Return of the GOP Shutdown Gollum (Josh Marshall) from Talking Points Memo
"The upshot is clear and shouldn't surprise us: government by crisis is built into the DNA of the current GOP. And leaders like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, despite their efforts since just after the 2010 election, are largely powerless to control or discipline it."

Hillary's Electoral Map in 2016

Why Hillary 2016 Thinks She Can Expand Obama's Electoral Map from Talking Points Memo
"The top minds in the proto-Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign infrastructure are already gaming out Electoral College scenarios. What they think they have is a candidate who could compete in a handful of traditionally red states, putting Republicans on the defensive and increasing her chances of winning the White House."

Summon Your Own Rescue Drone...

The panic button app that can summon a drone (and the police) to come to your rescue at the touch of a button - and will even chase after an assailant from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"System set to be used in 30 US hospitals, schools and offices.  Drone can record everything it sees on arrival at the scene.  Drone has speakers and microphone - and can follow a fleeing assailant."


Saving Layla - A Homeless Poodle That Brought This Rescuer To Tears! Please Share! from Rescue from the Hart

In astonishing images, the enduring bond of a young woman with wild gorillas

Tansy of the apes: 23 years after she was pictured playing with a 300lb primate as a baby from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
Tansy Aspinall, 25, was reunited with gorillas she knew as a child from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
Her father took controversial pictures of a gorilla holding her as a baby Years later the pair went to Gabon to track down their beloved apes Amazingly two of them emerged from the rainforest to meet the Aspinalls One of the gorillas, Djala, sniffed Tansy before recognising her scent Heart-warming pictures show gorilla and woman embracing each other."

Does the Alexander the Great-era tomb belong to the blue-eyed king?Does the Alexander the Great-era tomb belong to the blue-eyed king?

Remains of 'general' reveal that he was of medium height and had red hair from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Last week bones were found in Greek tomb dating from the 4th Century BC. Analysis shows they belong to a man of medium height who had pale skin.  Experts think he was probably an important Macedonian general.  DNA tests will determine if the man was a member of the royal family."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

News Nuggets 1495

DAYLEE PICTURE: A flamingo in the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama.  From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: What Really Happened in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars?

The Truth About the Wars (Daniel Bolger) from the New York Times
"The surge legend is soothing, especially for military commanders like me. We can convince ourselves that we did our part, and a few more diplomats or civilian leaders should have done theirs. Similar myths no doubt comforted Americans who fought under the command of Robert E. Lee in the Civil War or William C. Westmoreland in Vietnam. But as a three-star general who spent four years trying to win this thing — and failing — I now know better."

Staying Sane About the Next Obamacare Court Case

Eight Reasons to Stop Freaking Out About the Supreme Court's Next Obamacare Case (Brian Buetler) from the New Republic
" Outside of these conservative precincts, the challenge is rightly viewed as a cynical effort to gut the ACA. For the challengers to prevail in what’s ultimately a political campaign, they will have to overcome not just the weakness of their own legal arguments, but the political and substantive concerns weighing against them.  Here are eight reasons for the ACA’s supporters to stop freaking out—at least for now."

How new threat to Obamacare may backfire on the right

SCOTUS could roil the GOP (Simon Maloy) from Salon
"Republicans could finally realize their dream of seeing Obamacare eviscerated -- and they may not like the outcome."

Other Election-Night, Little-Noticed Big Losers: The NRA

One of the Midterms’ Little-Noticed Big Losers: The NRA (Cliff Schecter) from the Daily Beast
"The Washington state background check win was a big [Bidenism] deal. Several others like it prove that people want progressive things."

Tea Party Sees the Republican Rise as New Threat

With Fear of Being Sidelined, Tea Party Sees the Republican Rise as New Threat from the New York Times
"As Republicans on Capitol Hill transition from being the opposition party to being one that has to show it can govern, a powerful tension is emerging: how to move forward with an agenda that challenges the president without self-destructing."

Scientists Finally THINK ABOUT becoming better communicators on Climate Change

Climate Controversy Pushing Scientists to Become Better Communicators from Allegheny Front
"Most of us rely on scientists who are good at telling stories, good at translating what happens in the lab, to understand subjects like climate change. What makes a scientist a good communicator? It turns out the scientific community has become more interested in figuring that out."
Boy -- are these folks coming late to the table!!  As regular readers know, I've been very critical of the mainstream scientific community for its decades long unwillingness to become political actors and media communicators when it comes to climate change.  They abandoned the field to right-wing demagogues who knew scientific facts and evidence were NEVER the real issue.  These ultra-cynics knew early on that they could control regulatory outcomes by channeling average people's understanding of the issue. -- Nuggetsman

An Up-Date on the Still-Emerging Gun Control Movement

The Gun-Control Movement Is Learning How to Win (David Frum) from the Atlantic
"In Washington state, advocates passed some straightforward controls—by bypassing politicians terrified of the NRA and going straight to voters."

The Dems Road Back to Senate Control in 2016

Here's The Democratic Route Back To Senate Control In 2016 from the Huffington Post
"Only 10 Senate Democrats are up for re-election in 2016, the residual benefit of the shellacking they took in 2010 when tea party Republicans swept into office. The only two challenges Democrats likely will face will be defending Michael Bennet's seat in Colorado and Reid's in Nevada. ... Meanwhile, Republicans need to defend 24 seats. Democrats likely will need to pick up five seats to take back the Senate. They'll have a variety of routes to get there."

State House Disaster Continues for Kansas

Kansas revenues will fall $1 billion short of 2015 and 2016 expenses, fiscal experts say from the Kansas City Star
"The new figure raises the prospect of deep cuts in the state budget following controversial income tax cuts that Brownback vigorously defended during his re-election campaign against Democrat Paul Davis. Critics worry that schools, roads and social services will be among the areas cut in coming months."


John Steinbeck story that has been missing since WWII finally to be published after being found in Texas archive from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
With Your Wings is a story about a black war veteran written by John Steinbeck.  It was read out by Orson Welles on his radio show in 1944 but has been missing since.  Transcript was recently found in the University of Texas archives in Austin.  Will be published Friday for the first time in The Strand magazine."


Civil War officer receives Medal of Honor today...151 years after defending the Union at Gettysburg from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor on Gettysburg soldier 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing at a White House ceremony on Thursday.  He commanded about 110 men and six cannons, defending the Union position against Pickett's Charge, a major Confederate thrust.  On the third day of battle, Cushing's small force stood its ground under severe artillery bombardment and an assault by nearly 13,000 Confederates.  Wounded in the stomach and right shoulder, Cushing refused to move back and insisted on ordering his guns to the front lines.  He was shot and killed as Confederate forces closed in on his position."


Four British languages in danger of becoming extinct from the Independent [of the UK]
"Tourists looking for sun and sea but keen for something extra from their holiday break can now help save an ancient language. Four languages spoken on British territories feature on an new "endangered" list, with the numbers of people using them seriously dwindling. There are particular fears for the future of Jersey French and Guernsey French, which are marked as "severely endangered" on a list of 33 under-threat languages."

Big Send-off Planned for Richard III

Richard III to have 'effective state funeral' from the Daily Telegraph [of the UK]
More than 500 years after his death Richard III will receive an 'effective state funeral' when he is reinterred at Leicester Cathedral."
Mark your calendars kids!! March 22 and March 26, 2015.  It should be televised -- be there or be square! -- Nuggetsman

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

News Nuggets 1494

DAYLEE PICTURE: An ice cave over the Mutnovsky Volcano in Russia.  From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: The Crumbling Relationship between Israel ... and Reality

Even Israel's Best Friends Understand That It Is Disconnecting From Reality from the Atlantic
"An editorial in the leading American Jewish newspaper should be read by Prime Minister Netanyahu as a serious warning."

Standing Up for Rationality

Good for you, Kaci Hickox (Ruth Marcus) from the Washington Post
"Thank you, Kaci Hickox. You did the world a service in traveling to Sierra Leone to care for Ebola patients. Then you did your country a service in standing up for rationality."

Critics Rally Around Benedict As Talk of Schism Looms

Is the Pope Catholic? (Leslie Gelb) from the Daily Beast
"Conservative Catholics, angry at Pope Francis’s more moderate tone, are bucking the Church’s hierarchy."

The Costs of a Republican Senate ... for the GOP

A Republican Senate Victory Could Splinter the Party (Norm Ornstein) from the National Journal
"The tension between setting out a positive agenda for governing and the pressure to continue to block and obstruct will be very, very high."

The GOP in Long-term Decline - The Evidence

The Republicans: over-reaching and underscoring (Gary Younge) from the Guardian [of the UK]
"When Kansas starts rejecting the Republican agenda, you know it’s a party in long-term decline. ... Since Republicans are likely to take over the Senate, giving them both houses of Congress, they are equally likely to claim victory. But if there are broader lessons from this cycle then these celebrations will be short-lived. Economically, politically and demographically, the long-term prospects for Republicans are far from rosy for two reasons."

“People don’t eat in the long run, they eat every day.” – Harry Hopkins

Am I the only one who is tired of reading yet another article about the “long term” problems of the Republican Party? I guess were supposed to be optimistic even as the Democrat’s apologize for yet one more nearly total loss, because at least were not doomed as the Republicans are, “In The Long Run”. Apparently the Democrats winning strategy is to hope the Republican Party falls apart eventually. How inspiring.

Posted by – hopeandespair

No Takers on Boehner's Law Suit

Boehner has hired two law firms to sue President Obama. They've both quit from Vox
"Though the suit's legal arguments have been met with skepticism by scholars, Gerstein and Haberman report that the trouble here is more political — some clients simply didn't want each firm involved in such a controversial suit."

The 2014 Elections: The End of a Consequential Time?

Washington is returning to normal. And it sucks. (Ezra Klein) from Vox
"An amazing era in American politics is ending. Since roughly 9/11, American politics has been remarkably consequential."


Yes, Republicans will take the Senate. But here’s a GOP reality check (Glen Bolger and Neil Newhouse) from the Washington Post
"Winning on Tuesday will not necessarily portend success in 2016. ... So what does a GOP win in 2014 mean for the coming presidential contest? Let’s start with what it doesn’t mean: ..."


Napoleon's warriors stand proud... decades after the Battle of Waterloo: Fascinating images show former soldiers posing in their old uniforms from the Daily Mail [of the UK]
"Sepia-tinted images show men who fought in Napoleonic Wars of 1803-1815. Some of the men fought in Napoleon's elite Imperial Guard. Exactly why the veterans were photographed in the 1850s is a mystery. May have donned their regalia to mark the anniversary of Napoleon's death."