My column in the New York Times eXaminer takes on Paul Krugman, albeit gently, and Republicans, not so gently.
Adele Stan in Washington Monthly: raise the eligibility age for Medicare and "PEOPLE WILL DIE."
Maureen Dowd: "... the Republican decline will be traced to a stubborn refusal to adapt to a world where poor people and sick people and black people and brown people and female people and gay people count. ...
... CW: before you get too taken by the Oracle of DeeCee's assurances that the End of the Republican Era is nigh, read Matt Taibbi (a) just for the pleasure, but (b) for his view on political prognostication:
... Matt Taibbi on the DeMise of DeMint: "In the minds of those Tea Party conservatives DeMint represents, they debased themselves in supporting an ultimate-RINO type like Romney, and all they got for their trouble was four more years of Black Satan lounging around on the couches of the White House." ...
... Here's the cartoon P. D. Pepe refers to in the Comments section. It took me a while to find it. (It's really helpful when contributors provide links to specific articles or items they mention, so readers can follow up if a particular topic interests them. Also, it always saves me a step!):
Robert Pear of the New York Times: "... affluent Americans will soon be hit with new taxes adopted as part of the 2010 health care law. The new levies, which take effect in January, include an increase in the payroll tax on wages and a tax on investment income, including interest, dividends and capital gains. The Obama administration proposed rules to enforce both last week.... To help finance Medicare, employees and employers each now pay a hospital insurance tax equal to 1.45 percent on all wages. Starting in January, the health care law will require workers to pay an additional tax equal to 0.9 percent of any wages over $200,000 for single taxpayers and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly."
Brian Bennett of the Los Angeles Times: "As soon as the confrontation over fiscal policy winds down, the Obama administration will begin an all-out drive for comprehensive immigration reform, including seeking a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants, according to officials briefed on the plans. While key tactical decisions are still being made, President Obama wants a catch-all bill that would also bolster border security measures, ratchet up penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants, and make it easier to bring in foreign workers under special visas, among other elements."
Nicholas Kristof highlights a social services program gone awry. In Appalachia, families have a huge stake in their children's failure to learn to read. CW: Kristof merely criticizes the program & can't seem to think of a way to fix it. I'll bet you can.
Steven Mufson of the Washington Post has a long piece on the U.S.'s natural gas industry, which is about to become a big exporter thanks to fracking & other technology, possibly causing a rise in LNG prices here.
** Pakistan International News: "Former US President Jimmy Carter has slammed American assassination drone strikes in other countries, saying that killing civilians in such attacks would in fact nurture terrorism. 'I personally think we do more harm than good by having our drones attack some potential terrorists who have not been tried or proven that they are guilty," Carter said in an interview with Russia Today. But in the meantime, the drone attacks also kill women and children, sometimes in weddings... so this is the kind of thing we should correct,' he added." Video of the RT interview with President Carter is here. The interview begins about 3:30 min. in. In the first part, Carter blasts Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. I love that guy.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times: "President Obama's finance team is offering corporations and other institutions that contribute $1 million exclusive access to an array of inaugural festivities, including tickets to a 'benefactors reception,' a children's concert, a candlelight celebration at the National Building Museum, two reserved parade bleacher seats and four tickets to the president's official inaugural ball." In case your solicitation to go to a $1 million party got lost in the mail, here's a copy. I'm going to try to think of this whole stupid shebang as the Caterers & Musicians' Stimulus Program. ...
... All of Which May Be Moot, What with the World Coming to an End First. Nick Allen, et al., of the London Telegraph: "Ahead of December 21, which marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year 'Long Count' Mayan calendar, panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America. In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them.
Doktor Zoom of Wonkette reflects on the efficacy of gun ownership as a means of protection. Luckily, s/he has Wayne LaPierre of the NRA & other bright lights to help sort things out.
Has Anybody Seen Mitt Romney? Yes! AP: "Defeated presidential candidate Mitt Romney was a guest ringside Saturday night at the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez." CW: what a cultural trend-setter President Romney would have been. The fights, for Pete's sake?
Josh Israel of Think Progress: "The Detroit Free-Press, which endorsed Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) in his 2010 campaign and has generally supported him since, blasted his decision to ram through a union-busting 'right-to-work' law in a lame-duck legislative session. At Snyder's urging, the state House and Senate each passed versions of the law this week. The editorial board slammed his move as a 'failure of leadership' and observed that his 'about-face' amounted to a betrayal of Michigan's voters." The Freep editorial is here.
The Last Congressional Race
Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "Rep. Charles Boustany has defeated fellow GOP Rep. Jeff Landry in Louisiana's 3rd District on Saturday, according to the Associated Press, bringing a close to the final undetermined congressional contest of the 2012 cycle."
** New York Times: Birger Stromsheim, a Norwegian hero of World War II, died Nov. 10 in Oslo at 101. CW: read his obituary, please. Here's the Telegraph's obituary. Here's an excerpt from the book The Real Heroes of Telemark by Ray Mears.
AP: "Egypt's liberal opposition has called for more protests on Sunday after the president made concessions overnight that fell short of their demands to rescind a draft constitution going to a referendum on Dec. 15." Al Jazeera story here.
Reuters: "Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez returns to Cuba on Sunday for more surgery after a recurrence of cancer led him to name a successor for the first time in a sign the disease may force an end to his 14-year rule."
AP: "Pakistani intelligence officials say a U.S. drone strike has killed three suspected militants near the Afghan border."
ABC News: "The American doctor rescued from the Taliban in Afghanistan Saturday by U.S. Special Operations Forces is the medical adviser for a Colorado Springs NGO, his employer confirmed today. Dr. Dilip Joseph and two colleagues were kidnapped by a group of armed men while returning from a visit to a rural medical clinic in eastern Kabul Province...."
Guardian: "Poor countries have won historic recognition of the plight they face from the ravages of climate change, wringing a pledge from rich nations that they will receive funds to repair the 'loss and damage' incurred.... Developing countries had been fighting hard for the concession at the fortnight-long UN climate change talks among 195 nations in Qatar, which finished after a marathon 36-hour final session."
Dallas Morning News: "Irving, [Texas,] police have now confirmed that Josh Brent, nose tackle for the Cowboys, has been arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter. Jerry Brown, 25, is the person who died. Brown is listed as a linebacker on the team's practice squad." Follow-up story here.
Guardian: "Nelson Mandela is 'comfortable and in good care', South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, has said after visiting him in hospital."
AP: "British police say they have contacted Australian authorities about a possible investigation into an Australian radio station's hoax call to a U.K. hospital. The callers impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles and received confidential details about the former Kate Middleton's medical information. The call was recorded and broadcast."