Politics is fun

New & Noteworthy

oval-office-desk-kennedy

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

Photo Credit: whitehousemuseum.org

Standard
US Politics

New & Noteworthy

Ayatollah-Ali-Khamenei

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

Standard
Politics is fun

New & Noteworthy

Navy_flooded_New_Orleans_20050901_trim

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

Photo Credits: wikipedia.org

Standard
Politics is fun

New & Noteworthy

obama-sad-face-flag

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

Standard
US Politics

Purple Virginia

Terry-McAuliffee1

By Stewart Shoemaker

Virginia most often earns the title of a “purple” state, it being an interesting admixture of extremely rural, sparsely populated, and reliably conservative districts in its central and western portions, with a dash of dark blue covering the densely populated, highly educated, and ultra-wealthy suburbs that line the outskirts of our nation’s capital.

Despite being home to an incumbent Republican governor and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Virginia has trended to the left in recent major elections, including Obama’s notable victory in 2012. This leftward slide is largely explained by demographic shifts in Virginia’s population, and Terry McAuliffe simply surfed this demographic wave to victory in last Tuesday’s Gubernatorial race. For a more detailed analysis on this very issue see the Atlantic’s article on the matter here.

Beyond demographics, McAuliffe’s electoral chances benefitted from the nature of his opposition: Sodomy-hating Ken Cuccinelli and the Reverend E.W. Jackson, who once profoundly proclaimed that Obamacare is worse than chattel slavery and that gays are possessed by the devil. Such extreme candidates are not formidable opponents, no matter the demographic change, and yet McAuliffe could muster only a narrow victory over these two hardline conservatives.

This unconvincing victory begs the question: if a purple Virginia is rapidly transforming to blue, how could the race have been so close?

The answer, while not a refutation of the notion of a nearly-blue Virginia, still gives Democrats significant reasons to worry. McAuliffe, the former head of the DNC, is immensely unpopular, even among his fellow Democrats. His recently penned memoir paints the portrait of a man who nearly missed the birth of his first daughter to attend a Democratic fundraiser and who was kicked out of the labor unit during the birth of another child following a heated argument with the attending physician regarding Clinton’s healthcare plan. Had it not been for his somehow even less like-able opponents, McAuliffe would almost certainly be sitting at home in Fairfax County today, rather than heading to the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond.

Herein lies the main problem for Democrats in Virginia. McAuliffe, universally unlikable as he is, was the only candidate to enter the Democratic primary. On its face, this may not seem like a terribly troubling issue, given the changing demographics of the state, as I cited above. But reducing electoral politics to mere political demography would be a fool’s errand for the Democrats in Virginia.

Look no further than the Gubernatorial race in New Jersey for evidence of the failure of demographics to guarantee electoral victory. When an exceptional politician like Chris Christie steps into the mix, traditional political mantras fall by the wayside. Replace Cuccinelli with a gregarious, moderate Republican, and Virginia’s identity as a blue state quickly evaporates. For the Democratic party to cultivate and bolster its support in the Commonwealth, it must find better politicians to run for public office.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/07/in-virginia-terry-mcauliffe-s-memoir-comes-back-to-haunt-him.html

Standard