** ... Mike Lofgren, a former GOP Congressional aide, has a long piece in Bill Moyers' Journal on what he calls the "Deep State" -- the vast, entrenched labyrinth of insiders who actually pull the strings in Washington. There are also some interesting-looking sidebars on some of the issues Lofgren raises. ...
... A follow-up piece by Moyers (which seems to have disappeared!) on Trans-Pacific Partnership is based on reporting by Lee Fang. Lee's Republic Report piece is here.
** Simon Head in Salon: "Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon's sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers."
Gregory Clarkson in the New York Times: "To a striking extent, your overall life chances can be predicted not just from your parents' status but also from your great-great-great-grandparents'." CW: I found Clarkson's thesis -- and the methodology he used to arrive at it -- pretty fascinating.
Do-Nothing Republicans Finally Do Something: Invent a Constitutional Crisis. Tim Devaney of the Hill: "House Republicans will push the Obama administration to roll back regulations over the next few weeks as they combat an 'imperial presidency.' In an email to House Republicans, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) accused President Obama of 'effectively rewriting the laws' and called on the GOP to fight to 'restore the balance of power created by our Founders. President Obama has provided new clarity as to what constitutes an imperial presidency,' Cantor wrote Friday in the email obtained by The Hill. 'Declaring that he has a "pen and a phone," he has acted to effectively rewrite the laws of the United States.'"
Perception Skews Right. New York Times Editors: "Republicans were successful in discrediting the very idea that federal spending can boost the economy and raise employment. They made the argument that the stimulus was a failure not just to ensure that Mr. Obama would get no credit for the recovery that did occur but to justify their obstruction of all further attempts at stimulus."
Christi Parsons & Melissa Harris of the Los Angeles Times: "President Obama plans to announce on Tuesday the opening of two new manufacturing institutes in the Chicago and Detroit areas as part of a larger plan to use public-private partnerships to advance his agenda despite opposition from Republicans in Congress. Several federal agencies will join forces with companies and universities to run the institutes, which will be devoted to bridging the gap between applied research and product development...."
Coral Davenport of the New York Times: "President Obama's annual budget request to Congress will propose a significant change in how the government pays to fight wildfires, administration officials said, a move that they say reflects the ways in which climate change is increasing the risk for and cost of those fires. The wildfire funding shift is one in a series of recent White House actions related to climate change as Mr. Obama tries to highlight the issue and build political support for his administration's more muscular policies...."
Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post: "President Obama is stepping up his efforts to coalesce and energize the Democratic base for the 2014 elections, backing off on issues where his positions might alienate the left, and more aggressively singling out Republicans as being responsible for the country's problems."
Everything Is Obama's Fault -- Including Chris Christie. Maureen Dowd: "The governor was a beneficiary of America's desperate hunger for genuine leadership. You can blame Obama for the Christie tulip craze. The president has been so wan, he confused people into thinking that bluster was clarity. In a climate with no leadership, the bully looks like a man. If you've only been drinking water, Red Bull tastes like whiskey. Obama's ethereal insipidity made Christie's meaty pugilism attractive; Obama's insistence on the cerebral made voters long for the visceral, even the gracelessly visceral." ...
... CW: Dowd borrows liberally from Alec MacGillis's excellent reporting for the New Republic on Chris Christie's modus operandi, a piece I recommended several days ago. MoDo isn't kind enough to link to MacGillis's piece, so I here it is. ...
... Steve M.: "Maureen Dowd thinks America joined Cult of Christie because Barack SpockBambi was too much of a metrosexual girlyman.... Was America ever actually attracted to 'Christie's meaty pugilism'? ... Back when he was known primarily as a big lug with anger management issues, in 2011..., the public had decidedly mixed feelings about Christie. His favorable ratings got into the 40s and 50s much later, after he stopped being known primarily for being an angry lout and started being known for his response to Sandy -- Obama outreach included."
Chris Christie, Still Beloved by the Rich
... Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will fundraise alongside New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Thursday in Boston. The joint appearance is a signal by Romney to the Republican establishment that he remains an ally of the embattled Garden State governor...." CW: Too bad. Looks like Mitt is not going to be releasing his Chrisco oppo file anytime soon. ...
... Paul Steinhauser of CNN: "As Christie convenes two days of Republican Governors Association meetings ... in the nation's capital Friday and Saturday, an RGA official tells CNN that the group has raised $18 million since Christie took over as RGA chairman in late November. That's a new fundraising record for the first three months of a new RGA chairman's tenure."
A Savvy Businesswoman. Huffington Post: "In perhaps the greatest display of entrepreneurial spirit in modern history, a California Girl Scout has been selling cookies outside of a San Francisco marijuana dispensary. Danielle Lei, 13, set up shop in front of The Green Cross on Monday, selling a whopping 117 boxes in just two hours, according to Mashable. That's about one box per minute." ...
... Heather Burke of CBS Denver: "Although pot shops are becoming a big market in the state, it's one the Girl Scouts of Colorado don't want to dip into. They issued a statement that reads, 'We recognize these are legitimate businesses, but we don't feel they are an appropriate place for girls to be selling cookies in Colorado.'"
New York Times: "A day after President Viktor F. Yanukovych fled the Ukrainian capital and was removed from power by a unanimous vote in Parliament, lawmakers moved swiftly on Sunday to dismantle the remaining vestiges of his government by firing top cabinet members, including the foreign minister. With Parliament, led by the speaker, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, firmly in control of the federal government -- if not yet the country as a whole -- lawmakers began an emergency session on Sunday by adopting a law restoring state ownership of Mr. Yanukovych's opulent presidential palace, which he had privatized."