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Don’t Be that Guy

“Use your passive aggression to instead point out that your cousin’s new “look” doesn’t really work very well for him or to suggest that perhaps your nieces and nephews should sit down and eat instead of being little idiots running around all over. Focus, is the point. If you must undermine those around you, do it in a way that will still be relevant at next year’s Thanksgiving”.

http://www.thewire.com/politics/2013/11/dont-talk-your-family-about-politics-thanksgiving-no-one-cares/355511/

Doom & Gloom & Sensationalism 

“”If you’re feeling some déjà vu, there’s a reason,” Brendan Nyhan, a Dartmouth political scientist and media critic wrote in his column in the Columbia Journalism Review last week. “Journalists are falling victim to the same extrapolation fallacy that pervades so much political coverage. In these sorts of stories, reporters identify a current trend and spin out a story in which it continues to implausible extremes.”

But in reality, of course, any shifts in public opinion around specific events are transitory and limited. Obama recovered from his disastrous Denver debate and went on to win the 2012 election; the GOP recovered from its loss in 2008 and went on to win a historic victory in 2010.”

http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/can-obama-recover-he-did-already-20131125

Reverend Hobby Lobby

“The appeals court judges relied on the Supreme Court’s much-disputed Citizens United decision that said corporations have the same right as people to make political contributions; they concluded that “for-profit corporations” can be considered “persons” with religious beliefs.”

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obamacare-religion-20131125,0,2545589.story#axzz2llZTAmiN

Dinkins Disses de BlasioOn Campus!

“In an unscripted and cringe-inducing moment of political candor, Mr. Dinkins opined before a crowd of journalists and academics at Columbia University that Mr. de Blasio should consider a different approach to funding an expansion of prekindergarten programs, throwing a wrench into what was meant to be a carefully choreographed day of municipal theater”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/nyregion/praised-by-de-blasio-dinkins-responds-with-an-arrow.html?partner=socialflow&smid=tw-nytmetro&_r=0

No Tea Party for JFK 

From the speech he was set to give in Dallas, until the unthinkable occurred: 

“But today other voices are heard in the land – voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality . . . At a time when the national debt is steadily being reduced in terms of its burden on our economy, they see that debt as the single greatest threat to our security. At a time when we are steadily reducing the number of Federal employees serving every thousand citizens, they fear those supposed hordes of civil servants far more than the actual hordes of opposing armies.”

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/john-f-kennedys-prophetic-rebuke-of-tea-party-politics-20131122

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US-Iran Nuclear Deal: The Basics

What is the nature of the deal that was reached?

“It’s more of an interim agreement before the deal. Described as an initial, six-month deal, the White House says it includes “substantial limitations that will help prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon.” In short, it slows the country’s nuclear development program in exchange for lifting some sanctions while a more formal agreement is worked out.”

It’s not permanent, so why is it a big deal?

 “For years, Iran and Western powers have left negotiating tables in disagreement, frustration and open animosity. But the diplomatic tone changed after Iran’s election this year, which saw President Hassan Rouhani take over. “For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program,” U.S. President Barack Obama says.”

What about the stockpiles Iran already has?

“As part of the deal, Iran will be required to dilute its stockpile of uranium that had been enriched to 20%. While uranium isn’t bomb-grade until it’s enriched to 90% purity, “once you’re at 20%, you’re about 80% of the way there,” Hibbs says. The deal also mandates Iran halt all enrichment above 5% and dismantle the technical equipment required to do that. Before the end of the initial phase of the deal, all its stockpiles should be diluted below 5% or converted to a form not suitable for further enrichment, the deal states.”

What’s in it for Iran?

“Billions of dollars.”

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/24/world/meast/iran-nuclear-deal-qa/

Secretary of State John Kerry’s Prominent Role in the Iran Nuclear Deal

“The deal Kerry was instrumental in cutting is a diplomatic coup, even if its effectiveness and durability remain in doubt. It sets new boundaries for Iran’s disputed nuclear program that represent significant compromises and concessions for Iran as well as the international coalition that suspects it of seeking nuclear weapons.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/kerry-plays-the-closer-in-iran-deal/2013/11/24/14714e7e-5537-11e3-bdbf-097ab2a3dc2b_story.html

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Calls Deal “Historic Mistake”

“What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it is a historic mistake,” he said.

“Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step towards obtaining the world’s most dangerous weapon.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/24/us-iran-nuclear-israel-idUSBRE9AN07320131124

How Iran Nuclear Deal Could Affect US Geostrategy

“Even the most optimistic Middle East analyst probably is not cockeyed enough to expect Iran’s nuclear agreement to also mean it will withdraw the many tentacles it uses to work its will in places from Syria to Iraq to the tiny Gulf kingdom of Bahrain. But eliminating the nuclear threat from the geostrategic equation in the neighborhood would reduce the risks to the U.S. and its allies — especially Israel — by many orders of magnitude.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/iran-deal-could-change-the-strategic-calculus-100304.html

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Buyer’s Remorse: Romney Wins Hypothetical Election Held Today 

“* Among liberals, Obama won by 75 points but now leads by 59 percent. One in five self-described liberals (20 percent) say they would vote for Romney”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/11/19/president-romney-yes-if-the-election-were-held-today/

The Foreign Journalist’s Dilemma in China 

“Taken together, this is the Chinese government’s broadest effort in decades to roll back unwelcome foreign coverage—and that raises the stakes for news organizations that are struggling to figure out how to handle China. Make no mistake, this is not a simple choice. At a time when news organizations find their business models under assault, the prospect of taking an expensive stand against a foreign state is unappealing, especially when it might mean giving up their dreams for future growth in China.”

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/11/what-will-it-cost-to-cover-china.html

Protests in ’63 Dallas Eerily Similar to Today’s 

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115636/photos-anti-jfk-protesters

Republicans Do Not Like Obama’s Judges

“Democrats, in response, are using the same nuclear-option threat Republicans used in 2005 (and which Democrats used to open a blockade on executive-branch appointments earlier this year). That is certainly a troublesome remedy — it would give a president whose party controlled the Senate nearly unlimited leeway to seat ideologically congenial judges on the federal courts. The ideal solution would somehow compromise between the president’s absolute power to seed the judiciary and the Senate minority’s absolute power to blockade it.”

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/11/senate-republicans-all-obama-judges-are-bad.html

Americans Already Wait Longer for the Doc

“The one access measure the U.S. performed slightly better on was in the ability to get specialist appointments within two months. However, more than half of all U.S. doctors’ visits are paid to a primary care physician, and the most commonly cited reason is a cough, according to the CDC. And even so, people in Switzerland and the U.K. were both still more likely to say they waited four weeks or less for a specialist appointment than Americans were.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/11/universal-healthcare-doesnt-mean-waiting-longer-to-see-a-doctor/281614/

Photo Credit: CBS News

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

A Tale of Two Americas

“We spent the last few weeks digging through Census data on congressional districts to get a CIA World Factbook-style portrait of the two countries in the House—the one within all the GOP districts (Republistan) and the one within all the Democratic districts (Democravia). The full results are in a table at the bottom of this post.

We did this with a very simple question in mind: How do the differences between the two nations represented in the House correspond to the larger policy differences between the parties?”

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/11/there-really-are-two-americas-republistan-and-democravia/281412/

Liz Cheney “philosophically opposed” to Her Sister 

“Mary Cheney shared Poe’s message on the social networking Web site, adding, “Liz — this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree — you’re just wrong — and on the wrong side of history.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/cheney-sisters-trade-barbs-over-same-sex-marriage/2013/11/17/68545c9c-4fc0-11e3-a7f0-b790929232e1_story.html

Prime Minister Ford? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/11/18/rob_ford_prime_minister_toronto_mayor_tells_fox_news_he_wants_to_run_for.html

Obamacare’s Implications for Ideology 

“Conservative thinkers have already seized on the rocky rollout of Obamacare — and the indefensible management failures it implies — as proof positive that the age-old argument over the proper role of state action in American life has reached a fresh danger point for the Democrats.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/obamacare-threat-to-liberalism-99975.html?hp=f2

Photo Credit: HuffingtonPost Canada

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Is the ACA rollout Obama’s Katrina?

New York Times:

“The disastrous rollout of his health care law not only threatens the rest of his agenda but also raises questions about his competence in the same way that the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina undermined any semblance of Republican efficiency.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/us/politics/parallels-to-bush-in-toxic-political-mix-threatening-obama.html?hp&_r=1&

Slate:

“Since the comparison is in the air, it’s worth noting the big difference between Hurricane Katrina and the botched Obamacare rollout. So here it is: 1,833 people died during Hurricane Katrina.”

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/11/15/katrina_vs_obamacare_here_s_the_difference.html

A tongue-in-cheek piece from Philip Blump:

“At no point did President Obama go to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Healthcare.gov, and look at the overheated servers and code and what-have-you. Just as Bush ignored cries for help from people who’d lost homes after the storm, Obama ignored the error logs from the website, letting them issue their error 404s and error 500s into the blank void of an unseen hard drive”

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/11/actually-obamacare-roll-out-failures-are-exactly-katrina/71655/

No More Holder: House Republicans Introduce Articles of Impeachment Against America’s AG

“The resolution could pass the Republican-dominated House but would likely sputter in the Democratic-dominated Senate, which would have to hold a trial to remove Holder, who has been attorney general since 2009, from office”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/14/us-usa-congress-holder-idUSBRE9AD02O20131114

The Return of the Dixiecrats

“The country regards the shutdown as a sign of government dysfunction, but for the implacable members of Boehner’s caucus, shutdown may simply be the ultimate form of limited government. Sixty-five years ago, the Dixiecrats spearheaded a movement toward the G.O.P. The Tea Party is an echo of that same movement, save for one distinction: in 2013, the rebels have nowhere left to go”

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/10/the-gops-dixiecrat-problem.html

Warren v. Clinton, Again 

“Democracies are hardly immune from dynastic adventures. India has its Nehru-Gandhi family, Britain its Pitts, Canada its Trudeaux. America’s own experience with Presidential primogeniture has been both long and mixed. The Adamses, John and John Quincy, were a wash: distinguished personages but poor Presidents. The Harrisons, William Henry and Benjamin, were nothing special—though, to be fair, the former died a month after his inauguration. The Roosevelts were the sole triumph. (Franklin was only a fifth cousin of Teddy, but the name was powerful.) And then there were … the Bushes”

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/11/hillary-clinton-vs-elizabeth-warren.html

Can we pick no one, please?

“One Democratic pollster recently (and aptly) summed up the sentiment: “Voters want to punish Republicans but not reward Democrats.” This dynamic suggests we are in for either a highly muddled election outcome next year—hardly the stuff for a wave, because one party has to be rewarded and looked favorably upon to create a wave—or a highly volatile environment…”

http://www.nationaljournal.com/the-cook-report/voters-don-t-want-to-see-anyone-win-20131115

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Snowden’s Leaks 

“In a perfect world the officials who want to destroy such machines[laptops] prefer them to be dropped into a kind of giant food mixer that reduces them to dust. Lacking such equipment, The Guardian purchased a power drill and angle grinder on July 20 this year and—under the watchful eyes of two state observers—ripped them into obsolescence.”

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/nov/21/snowden-leaks-and-public/?page=1

Healthcare.gov Likely to Lose 1/3 of a Letter Grade for Missed Deadline 

“In Pennsylvania, Charles Roes­sler, 64, tried to apply three ways: online, through a call center and on paper. The retired computer salesman has decided on a health plan but hasn’t been able to sign up via any of the methods because no one has been able to verify his subsidy.

During his most recent attempt, on Monday, he asked a call center representative to delete duplicate applications but was told that the center lacked the authority.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/troubled-healthcaregov-unlikely-to-work-fully-by-end-of-november-as-white-house-vowed/2013/11/12/daf9670a-4bca-11e3-be6b-d3d28122e6d4_story.html?hpid=z1

Hide Your Crack Pipe: Life Sentences Dealt for Non-Violent Crimes 

“A few months later Jackson was convicted of shoplifting and sent to Angola prison in Louisiana. That was 16 years ago. Today he is still incarcerated in Angola, and will stay there for the rest of his natural life having been condemned to die in jail. All for the theft of a jacket, worth $159.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/13/us-prisoners-sentences-life-non-violent-crimes

Federal Reserve Apologetics: Quantitative Easing is a Wall Street Bailout 

“Having racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in opaque Fed subsidies, U.S. banks have seen their collective stock price triple since March 2009. The biggest ones have only become more of a cartel: 0.2% of them now control more than 70% of the U.S. bank assets”

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303763804579183680751473884

Photo Credit: businessinsider.com

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Obama’s Approval Rating Turns Bush-like 

“In the new poll, more voters in every age and income group disapproved than approved, as did voters in two core Democratic blocs: women and  Hispanics. Mr. Obama held onto strong approval numbers among African American voters.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/11/12/trust-in-obama-plunges-in-new-poll/

Bill Clinton Weighs in on the ACA

“”I personally believe, even if it takes changing the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got,” Clinton told OZY TV “

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/12/bill-clinton-health-care_n_4260184.html

Hillary ’16? Not So Fast 

“Clinton represents the head of the Democratic party. But Warren is its heart.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/11/11/why-elizabeth-warren-should-scare-hillary-clinton/

Toobin’s Take on Stop & Frisk 

“Indeed, the N.Y.P.D. has implicitly recognized its own excesses with stop-and-frisk, and has dramatically cut back the number of confrontations in recent months—with no uptick in the crime rate. But, rhetorically and legally, the city continues to insist that it did nothing wrong, and the old-boy network at the Second Circuit seems poised to agree.”

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/11/the-last-word-on-stop-and-frisk.html

Photo Credit: itsonbroadway.wordpress.com

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