Wednesday Reads: Forest for the trees

potagesmaggiGood Morning

My internet has been acting strange lately, so I am writing this post on the fly and comments will be at a minimum.

First up, sad story from India, according to BBC News: School meal kills 22 in India’s Bihar state

At least 22 children have died and dozens more have fallen ill after eating lunch at a school in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

The poisoning occurred in the village of Dharmasati Gandaman, 80km (50 miles) north of the state capital, Patna.

The free Mid-Day Meal Scheme aims to tackle hunger and boost attendance in schools, but suffers from poor hygiene.

Angry parents joined protests against the deaths, setting at least four police vehicles on fire.

An inquiry has begun and 200,000 rupees ($3,370) in compensation offered to the families of each of the dead.

Twenty-eight sick children were taken to hospitals in the nearby town of Chhapra after the incident and later were moved to Patna.

A total of 47 students of the primary school fell sick on Tuesday after eating the free lunch.

More deaths are possible as many of the kids are under the age of 12 and still in critical condition.

The state education minister, PK Shahi, told the BBC a preliminary investigation indicated that the food was contaminated with traces of phosphorous.

“The doctors who have attended are of the tentative opinion that the smell coming out of the bodies of the children suggests that the food contained organo-phosphorus, which is a poisonous substance,” he said.

“Now the investigators have to find out whether organo-phosphorus was accidental or there was some deliberate mischief.”

Earlier, doctors treating the patients had said “food poisoning” was the cause of the deaths.

“We suspect it to be poisoning caused by insecticides in vegetable or rice,” Amarjeet Sinha, a senior education official, told the BBC.

A doctor treating the children at a hospital in Patna said contaminated vegetable oil could have led to the poisoning.

Patna-based journalist Amarnath Tewary says villagers told local reporters that similar cases of food poisoning after having Mid-Day Meals had taken place in the area previously.

The horror of this story will only be more disturbing if it does turn out to be deliberate. I will keep you all up to date on the details as the day goes on.

Meanwhile, the Zimmerman Jury’s shitstorm has begun B37’s fellow jurors in Trayvon Martin trial bash her for leading country to believe spoke for them – NY Daily News

Four jurors in Trayvon Martin trial have issued a statement Tuesday night bashing B37 for going on TV and leading the country to believe she spoke for all of them.

Just moments after CNN aired part two of its interview with the juror known as B37, four of her fellow members on the six-woman jury issued a joint statement.

“We also wish to point out that the opinions of Juror B37, expressed on the Anderson Cooper show were her own, and not in any way representative of the jurors listed below.”

The jurors added, “We ask you to remember that we are not public officials and we did not invite this type of attention into our lives.”

More from LA Times: Zimmerman trial: 4 jurors say Juror B37 does not speak for them

The other four jurors also cited Florida law. “Serving on this jury has been a highly emotional and physically draining experience for each of us,” the statement signed by Jurors B51, B76, E6 and E40 said. “The death of a teenager weighed heavily on our hearts, but in the end we did what the law required us to do.”

It still makes me cringe to think Zimmerman got away with killing Martin, and not one charge was brought against him…aside from manslaughter…assault…battery…geez, stalking?  I guess I am rambling but it still seems inconceivable to me that there are no criminal consequences for Zimmerman’s actions, which did result in the death of an unarmed young man.

Alright, here are some links from yesterday that you should check out.

Op/ed by Katrina vanden Heuvel: Congress’s appalling Republicans – The Washington Post

There really isn’t any other word. Congressional Republicans are simply appalling. They have absolute control of the House. They set the agenda. They decide what comes to the floor. They decide what passes on to the Senate.

They know that extreme legislation isn’t going to be enacted into law. The Democratic majority in the Senate and the Democratic president stand in the way. So the legislation they choose to pass is a statement of their own values. It is simply designed to proclaim, “This is where we stand.” And for the vast majority of Americans, what they proudly proclaim is simply beyond the pale.

New blog post by Kurt Eichenwald: My Family, Our Cancer, and the Murderous Cruelty of Conservatives | Vanity Fair

My wife has breast cancer.

I write this, with her permission, while sitting in the hospital waiting room as she undergoes surgery. Afterward, there will be another surgery, radiation, and probably chemo, but what else might be in the offing is guesswork at this point. I’ll know more this afternoon, when the operation is over.

A comparison over at Juan Cole’s blog: Israel’s District 9: Its Biggest Ethnic Cleansing since 1948 | Informed Comment

30,000 Palestinian-Israelis of Bedouin heritage are are being forcibly transferred by the Israeli government, and thousands of acres of their land is being stolen from them.

The 972 article compares it to Apartheid South Africa’s District 6, the inspiration for the film, “District 9″

The Palestinian-Israelis are mounting big protests today.

Tales from the Walmart inner circle: Four Angry Wal-Mart Workers, and Four Happy Ones

Last week, we brought you some true stories from Wal-Mart workers— stories that alarmed Wal-Mart so much that they (unsuccessfully) begged their employees to send us positive stories to balance them out. Since then, we’ve received many more, both good and bad. Here are some.

Note: Wal-Mart specifically solicited its employees to send us positive stories (and furthermore, one employee tells us, “Walmart does have an official policy on employees posting on social media and yes we *can* be fired for posting content the company doesn’t like”). Despite this, we’ve received a far greater number of negative than positive stories. Today, however, we’re posting an equal number of positive and negative stories. Take them as you will. They’re all revealing in their own way.

An interesting look at Latin America, considering the recent events surrounding Snowden and the “courtship” of his “affections“:

Why Latin America Is Becoming Less Democratic – Kurt Weyland – The Atlantic

democracytop.jpg

Opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stage a protest over a drawing of a gagged face during a march to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the return of democracy after the 1958 coup in Caracas January 23, 2011. (Jorge Silvas/Reuters)

Around the turn of the millennium, prominent Latin America special­ist Scott Mainwaring highlighted the surprising endurance of democracy in that region after the transition wave of the late 1970s and 1980s.Dur­ing that interval, no democracy had permanently succumbed to a mili­tary coup or slid back into authoritarian rule. After decades marked by instability in numerous countries, especially Argentina, Bolivia, and Ec­uador, this newfound democratic resilience came as a welcome surprise.

[...]

The recent suffocation of political pluralism in a whole group of countries is with­out precedent. For the first time in decades, democracy in Latin America is facing a sustained, coordinated threat. The regional trend toward de­mocracy, which had prevailed since the late 1970s, has suffered a partial reversal. Unexpectedly, democracy is now on the defensive in parts of the region.

That is just a couple of paragraphs, go read the whole article…

There was a freaky story that you may have missed a couple of weeks ago, Mystery of Nazi Swastikas in the Forests – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Over 20 years ago, a landscaper in eastern Germany discovered a formation of trees in a forest in the shape of a swastika. Since then, a number of other forest swastikas have been found in Germany and beyond, but the mystery of their origins persist.

Blame it on the larches. Brandenburg native Günter Reschke was the first one to notice their unique formation, according to a 2002 article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. To be more precise, however, it was the new intern at Reschke’s landscaping company, Ökoland Dederow, who discovered the trees in 1992 as he was completing a typically thankless intern task: searching aerial photographs for irrigation lines.

For decade, this swastika of larch trees stood undiscovered in the middle of...

Instead, he found a small group of 140 larches standing in the middle of dense forest, surrounded by hundreds of other trees. But there was a crucial difference: all the others were pine trees. The larches, unlike the pines, changed color in the fall, first to yellow, then brown. And when they were seen from a certain height, it wasn’t difficult to recognize the pattern they formed. It was quite striking, in fact.

As he was dutifully accomplishing the task he had been given, the intern suddenly stopped and stared, dumbfounded, at the picture in his hand. It was an aerial view of Kutzerower Heath at Zernikow — photo number 106/88. He showed it to Reschke: “Do you see what this is?” But the 60-by-60 meter (200-by-200 foot) design that stood out sharply from the forest was obvious to all: a swastika.

Reschke is actually a fan of his native Uckermark region of northeastern Germany, extolling its gently rolling hills, lakes and woods, as the “Tuscany of the north.” But what the two men discovered in 1992 in that aerial photograph thrust this natural idyll into the center of a scandal.

This is one hell of a story, and at that Spiegel link there is a gallery of images that you need to see: Photo Gallery: Swastikas in the Woods – SPIEGEL ONLINE – International

The planting of swastika formations, like this one near the town of Asterode in...

The planting of swastika formations, like this one near the town of Asterode in the western state of Hesse, was popular among foresters throughout various regions of Nazi Germany. There were many swastikas in the forests surrounding Berlin until they were removed under Soviet occupation.

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In this same wooded area of Asterode in Hesse, the numbers "1933," the year...

In this same wooded area of Asterode in Hesse, the numbers “1933,” the year Hitler came to power, were spelled out in larch trees across a backdrop of pine forest, bursting into color in autumn. The eyesores remained for a long time, until the early 1960s, when American occupying forces discovered the trees during an aerial reconnaissance flight and complained to the local government.

But it was not just trees in the forest that took the shape of Nazi symbolism, towns..buildings and other land formations that remained hidden until discovered by views from above…seriously, go and check that article out.

One more link in connection with this story above, Misreading ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’ – NYTimes.com

The movie “Hannah Arendt,” which opened in New York in May, has unleashed emotional commentary that mirrors the fierce debate Arendt herself ignited over half a century ago, when she covered the trial of the notorious war criminal Adolf Eichmann. One of the pre-eminent political thinkers of the 20th century, Arendt, who died in 1975 at the age of 69, was a Jew arrested by the German police in 1933, forced into exile and later imprisoned in an internment camp. She escaped and fled to the United States in 1941, where she wrote the seminal books “The Origins of Totalitarianism” and “The Human Condition.”

It is easy to cite the ‘banality of evil.’ It is much more difficult to make sense of what Arendt actually meant.

When Arendt heard that Eichmann was to be put on trial, she knew she had to attend. It would be, she wrote, her last opportunity to see a major Nazi “in the flesh.” Writing in The New Yorker, she expressed shock that Eichmann was not a monster, but “terribly and terrifyingly normal.” Her reports for the magazine were compiled into a book, “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,” published in 1963.

The poet Robert Lowell proclaimed Arendt’s portrayal of Eichmann a “masterpiece,” a “terrifying expressionist invention applied with a force no imitator could rival.” Others excoriated Arendt as a self-hating Jew. Lionel Abel charged that Eichmann “comes off so much better in her book than do his victims.” Nearly every major literary and philosophical figure in New York chose sides in what the writer Irving Howe called a “civil war” among New York intellectuals — a war, he later predicted, that might “die down, simmer,” but will perennially “erupt again.” So it has.

The op/ed continues to explore reviews of the film, and how Arendt’s work is still causing controversy so many years since it was first published.

Lastly, big news in Atlanta this week, LUN LUN THE GIANT PANDA GIVES BIRTH TO TWINS!

Lun Lun, a 15-year-old giant panda, gave birth to twins on July 15, 2013. The first of the tiny duo arrived at 6:21 p.m., and its twin followed at 6:23 p.m. The cubs are the first giant pandas to be born in the U.S. in 2013 and the first twins to be born in the U.S. since 1987.

The babies are doing great and according to a news release today…are healthy and fine.   Zoo Atlanta has a Panda Cam up and running, so I wanted to give you that link:

Zoo Atlanta Panda Cam

Panda Updates

Tuesday, July 16
The panda team is tired and a little stressed, but happy! So far, both cubs are doing well. We are fortunate that both were born a healthy weight and strong. Sometimes one twin is very small. As you all know, Lun Lun is a fantastic mom, and she’s even more impressive this time. The cubs are being alternated with her, which is a technique first developed by our colleagues in Chengdu and used successfully for many cubs. Lun Lun is such a good mom, though, that she is reluctant to give up whichever cub she has. So, we have not been able to swap the cubs as frequently as we would like. Because of that, both have been supplemented with some formula. Both are doing well with this. Their condition and Lun Lun’s behavior will continue to guide our actions. The next few days are especially critical. So, please continue to keep us in your thoughts. We can use the good vibes!
Rebecca Snyder, PhD, 
Curator of Mammals

There is so much information at that link to the Zoo Atlanta website, but I just want to add one more graphic which illustrates how amazing this little baby’s growth timeline really is:

Panda Developmental Timeline

Isn’t it wonderful?

Hope you have a fabulous day today, and try to stay cool out there. See you down in the comments, what are you reading and thinking about today?


Friday Nite Lite: GOP Autopsy

Good Evening

Most of tonight’s cartoons deal with the GOP and its attempts to re-invent themselves. I got a kick out of this first one: Rembrandt Republican Autopsy by Political Cartoonist Daryl Cagle

129098 600 Rembrandt Republican Autopsy cartoons

And now the original…..

Artist
Rembrandt (1606–1669)
Title The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
Date 1632

File:The Anatomy Lesson.jpg – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

File:The Anatomy Lesson.jpg

GOP Changes by Political Cartoonist Joe Heller

129089 600 GOP Changes cartoons

Dead People by Political Cartoonist Mike Luckovich

129034 600 Dead People cartoons

Fooled Again by Political Cartoonist Bruce Plante

129037 600 Fooled Again cartoons

GOP reassessment by Political Cartoonist John Cole

129076 600 GOP reassessment cartoons

Tenth Anniversary of Iraq Invasion by Political Cartoonist R.J. Matson

128945 600 Tenth Anniversary of Iraq Invasion cartoons

Financial Crisis CEOsCORRECTED by Political Cartoonist Gary McCoy

128923 600 Financial Crisis CEOsCORRECTED cartoons

Tech Conference by Political Cartoonist Jen Sorensen

128982 600 Tech Conference cartoons

This is an open thread.

(Seriously, am I the only one who thinks this Google Glass crap is Fucked Up!?!)

Control Your Fridge, Coffee Maker With Google Glass?

Google Glass: Everything You Need to Know

The Google Glass generation: In our shiny new digital world are we increasingly terrified of being alone?


Friday Nite Lite: Mini

Good Friday Evening!

Just a few for you tonight, I am still overwhelmed by things out of my control. Maybe I will just have a bowl of Frosted Flakes and chill out a while.

Clay Bennett: Medicaid – Clay Bennett – Truthdig

3/17 Luckovich cartoon: His Holiness | Mike Luckovich

031713-toon-luckovich-ed

102368 600 Judging By Our Priorities, Weapons Are More Important Than Schools cartoons

102368 600 Judging By Our Priorities, Weapons Are More Important Than Schools cartoons

Obama and Republicans Have Dinner – Truthdig

 

This is an open thread…


Friday Nite Lite: Drones, Domes and Storms Part One

TGIFNL…Thank Gawd Its Friday Nite Lite!

I guess you can say I am making up for the lame post last Friday. So much so, that I need to break this evening cartoons up into two post.

This first one will focus on the Post Office and Congress, with a few stragglers here and there.

Cagle Post » No Saturday Delivery

126871 600 No Saturday Delivery cartoons

Cagle Post » going postal

126863 600 going postal cartoons

Cagle Post » Saturday Delivery

126730 600 Saturday Delivery cartoons

Cagle Post » Congress Playing Chicken

126869 600 Congress Playing Chicken cartoons

Cagle Post » Sequester

126867 600 Sequester cartoons

Cagle Post » Tea Party Anchor

126842 600 Tea Party Anchor cartoons

Cagle Post » Jewell of a Secretary

126839 600 Jewell of a Secretary cartoons

Cagle Post » Sandy assistance

126797 600 Sandy assistance cartoons

Cagle Post » Teachers Packing Heat

126800 600 Teachers Packing Heat cartoons

This is an open thread.


Friday Nite Lite: Mini Laugh Edition

Good Evening…

My internet is running so slooooooow tonight. In fact, I could not even get the comic pages to load properly. So because of these technical problems, the post is going to be very short.

The first cartoon is funny, but I think the color is a bit off. Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Boehner Ball

Boehner Ball © Christopher Weyant,The Hill,Power Ball,Boehner,Speaker of the House,middle class tax cut,no,GOP,Congress,Republican,Obama,Tea Party,budget,sequestration,Bush tax cuts,lottery,,fiscal cliff

He needs to be orange…

On to Congress…Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » GENIUS IQ TEST

GENIUS IQ TEST © Bill Day,Cagle Cartoons,tax breaks,wealthy,banks,fiscal cliff, obama taxes

If that IQ cartoon is too small, click the link up top to see the larger image.

What is on the GOP Christmas list?

Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » 1950s Christmas

1950s Christmas © Chris Britt,The State Journal Register,santa,white,males,1950,Christmas

For those of us who love hockey, this next cartoon is perfect. Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Wonderful Life

Wonderful Life © Cardow,The Ottawa Citizen,

This next one is for Dakinikat:  Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Illegal Department

Illegal Department © Ken Catalino,National/Syndicated,charges,oil,spill,bp,illegal,department,criminal

And the last cartoon for you…Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Egypt President Morsi

Egypt President Morsi © Adam Zyglis,The Buffalo News,egypt,president,morsi,constitution,arab spring,walk,like,egyptian,middle east,democracy,freedom,Pharoh Mohamed Morsi

Alright, now for something real funny, ‘Feel My Pudgy Hands Now!’… And Other Incredible Lines From Lindsay Lohan’s Awful Liz & Dick Lifetime Movie

Did you miss Sunday night’s premiere of Lifetime’s maudlin movie Liz & Dick? The Elizabeth Taylor biopic starring Lindsay Lohan created something of a Twitter frenzy with its general horribleness… and unintentional comedy.

Most reviews of the movie boiled down to one concrete point: “Liz & Dick is the best comedy of the year!” And that’s because the acting and the dialogue were, shall we say… so awful it’s good.

A la Tommy Wiseau‘s much-loved stinkerThe Room, this Lohan debacle contained an endless stream of terrifically terrible one-liners.

Luckily, for comedy’s sake, Vultureput together a two-minute compilation of the biggest doozies of the night.

From Lohan shouting “Feel my pudgy hands now!” to her overacting through Liz Taylor’s alcoholic musings — “Who’s the prettiest girl in the world? It’s Minnie Mouse!”

I missed the show, but from the video it looks like it was a laugh riot. Go to that link and watch it…but don’t do it while you are eating or drinking.

This is an open thread, have a wonderful evening!


Saturday Reads

Good Morning!

I thought I’d take a brief look at the “regrouping” efforts of the the GOP after their major shellacking in November. It seems a few Republicans are looking to fight the extremists.  One long time GOP Senator who is likely facing a tough primary but has decided to fight things is Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.  He’s not what I’d consider a middle of the road senator by any means.  But, by today’s Republican party standards, Saxby Chambliss is a blasphemer.  He’s going after Grover Norquist.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said that fixing the nation’s debt problem may require breaking Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge, telling a Georgia television station Wednesday that “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.”

“If we do it his way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that,” Chambliss told 13WMAZ. Chambliss said Norquist’s opposition to increased revenue adds to the debt and is a “fundamental disagreement.”

Chambliss admitted that Norquist would likely turn against him for abandoning the pledge in his 2014 re-election bid. “But I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist,” Chambliss said. “I’m willing to do the right thing and let the political consequences take care of themselves.”

Guess we’ll have to see how that works out.  The WSJ is reporting that the tea party is regrouping and working to throw folks like Chambliss out of office.  It thinks the problem is the folks that aren’t ‘conservative enough’.

The tea-party movement is trying to regroup after taking some licks in this month’s elections. Several groups already are setting their sights on 2014 congressional races, in which they plan to promote their preferred candidates and hope to weed out Republicans they consider insufficiently conservative.

Many tea-party activists say they remain dumbfounded by the Nov. 6 defeat of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and favored GOP candidates for the Senate, and opinions are swirling over how the movement should push forward.

In Virginia, organizations that canvassed aggressively for Mr. Romney are now girding for next year’s election for governor. Many are moving to support Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in his GOP primary contest against Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

Conservative groups also are considering potential challenges to GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, Lamar Alexander in Tennessee and Saxby Chambliss in Georgia, whom some activists view as not conservative enough.

Fortunately, the truth behind the movement is out and the Tea Party is no longer doing well in the country at large.

Support for the tea-party movement has flagged since its 2010 heyday.

In a national exit poll of more than 5,000 voters in the November election, about 21% said they supported the tea-party movement, while 30% said they opposed it. Some 42% said they were neutral.

So, the tea party is just rebuilding and hoping they can catch fire again.  Then, there are other Republicans using the way-back machine to the Bushes.  Yup, guess who is on the 2016 radar?

Now that the Obama and Romney campaigns have closed their headquarters in Chicago and Boston, the attention of the political world is shifting to an office suite tucked behind the colonnades of the Biltmore Hotel complex here.

The suite is where former Gov. Jeb Bush manages his consulting business, his education foundation and, now, the (very) early decision-making process for a possible presidential run in 2016.

When former President Bill Clinton rolled through here while campaigning for President Obama, he speculated about Mr. Bush’s intentions with Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and friend of Mr. Bush. It was no idle topic for Mr. Clinton, given the possibility that his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, could seek the Democratic nomination.

When Senator Marco Rubio of Florida held a strategy session here to discuss his own political future last week, the question of Mr. Bush, a mentor, hung over the room; a decision by Mr. Bush, 59, to seek the Republican nomination would almost certainly halt any plans by Mr. Rubio, 41, to do so or abruptly set off a new intraparty feud.

Mr. Bush is said by friends to be weighing financial and family considerations — between so many years in office and the recession his wealth took a dip, they said, and he has been working hard to restore it — as well as the complicated place within the Republican Party of the Bush brand. Asked this week about whether his father would run, Jeb Bush Jr. told CNN, “I certainly hope so.”

For now, however, “It’s neither a ‘no’ nor a ‘yes’ — it’s a ‘wait and see,’ ” said Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union and a longtime friend and adviser to Mr. Bush. “It continues to intrigue him, given how much he has to share with the country.”

Karl Rove thinks the Republican Party can regroup if it can grab the attention of Hispanic voters who might be drawn to social conservatism as long as the party will loosen up on its immigration stance.  There are some problems with this strategy.

Two days after Latino voters broadly rejected the Republican Party, Charles Krauthammer saw reason for optimism. Latinos, he said, “should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example.)”  George W. Bush and Karl Rove found a way to approach 40 percent of the Latino vote; Romney barely netted half that. So Republicans, facing a demographic time bomb as their base of white men ages, have comforted themselves by thinking all they really need to do is perform as well as Bush did among Latinos to get near the White House again.

Whether or not Republicans have any chance of capturing more than a tiny fraction of the Latino vote, Krauthammer (and the straw-grasping Republicans who echoed him) shouldn’t take Latinos’ conservatism, including their views on abortion, for granted.

First of all, being religious doesn’t mean you vote according to the dictates of your church, and Latino voters have consistently told pollsters that they don’t. Last December, a Latino Decisions poll  found that 53 percent of Latinos said religion would have no impact at all on their vote. And only 14 percent agreed that “politics is more about moral issues such as abortion, family values, and same-sex marriage.” In fact, exit polling from the election this month showed that Latinos were  more likely  than other voters to support same-sex marriage recognition.

Polling on abortion rights is notoriously hard to characterize and can fluctuate  depending on how the question is asked — from framing it in terms of legality to asking about the fuzzy labels “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” Some polls have  shown less support for abortion rights from Latinos, especially foreign-born Latinos, than from the general population. In a Pew survey last year, 58 percent of immigrant Latinos said abortion should be mainly illegal, compared with 40 percent of second-generation Latinos. In another poll conducted by Univision around the same time, only 38 percent of Latinos  said they believed abortion should be legal in most cases, compared with 49 percent of the general population.

Looking to candidates like Mark Rubio may not help either.  He appears to be a major whacko as pointed out by Paul Krugman in this blog post.

Earlier this week, GQ magazine published an interview with Senator Marco Rubio, whom many consider a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, in which Mr. Rubio was asked how old the earth is. After declaring “I’m not a scientist, man,” the senator went into desperate evasive action, ending with the declaration that “it’s one of the great mysteries.”

It’s funny stuff, and conservatives would like us to forget about it as soon as possible. Hey, they say, he was just pandering to likely voters in the 2016 Republican primaries — a claim that for some reason is supposed to comfort us.

But we shouldn’t let go that easily. Reading Mr. Rubio’s interview is like driving through a deeply eroded canyon; all at once, you can clearly see what lies below the superficial landscape. Like striated rock beds that speak of deep time, his inability to acknowledge scientific evidence speaks of the anti-rational mind-set that has taken over his political party.

By the way, that question didn’t come out of the blue. As speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Mr. Rubio provided powerful aid to creationists trying to water down science education. In one interview, he compared the teaching of evolution to Communist indoctrination tactics — although he graciously added that “I’m not equating the evolution people with Fidel Castro.” Gee, thanks.

What was Mr. Rubio’s complaint about science teaching? That it might undermine children’s faith in what their parents told them to believe. And right there you have the modern G.O.P.’s attitude, not just toward biology, but toward everything: If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence.

The most obvious example other than evolution is man-made climate change. As the evidence for a warming planet becomes ever stronger — and ever scarier — the G.O.P. has buried deeper into denial, into assertions that the whole thing is a hoax concocted by a vast conspiracy of scientists. And this denial has been accompanied by frantic efforts to silence and punish anyone reporting the inconvenient facts.

But the same phenomenon is visible in many other fields. The most recent demonstration came in the matter of election polls. Coming into the recent election, state-level polling clearly pointed to an Obama victory — yet more or less the whole Republican Party refused to acknowledge this reality. Instead, pundits and politicians alike fiercely denied the numbers and personally attacked anyone pointing out the obvious; the demonizing of The Times’s Nate Silver, in particular, was remarkable to behold.

I just notice that the same old patterns are still there so far in all of this supposed soul searching.  Meanwhile,  Michigan Republican lawmakers want to give tax deductions for fetuses.  The Ohio GOP is targeting Planned Parenthood.  Whatever happens, the war on women at the state level will continue.  Joe Conason argues that the Republicans will not change, learn or compromise.

At the Republican Governors Association conference last week, for instance, the favored explanation for the voting public’s emphatic rejection of Mitt Romney had nothing to do with issues or ideology, but only with more effective Democratic Party organizing and communicating. According to Wade Goodwyn, the National Public Radio reporter who covered the GOP governors’ meeting, their post-election mood was not one of shock, but complacency.

“It was widely agreed that nothing needed to be changed except perhaps the tone,” he found. “For example, the idea that more than 70 percent of Hispanics voted for the president because of Republican positions on illegal immigration was rejected by the Republican governors.”

That would be hard to believe if Goodwyn were not such an excellent and experienced journalist, because it is so stupid, so insulting and makes so little sense. Could it really be true that the nation’s Republican governors—one of whom is quite likely to be the party’s next presidential nominee—are so obtuse and so obstinate that they would reject change even on immigration?

Republican leaders also seem inclined to ignore voter sentiment on the issue of taxes, despite majorities of 70 percent or better that agree the rich should pay more (including many voters who identify with the GOP). Rep. Mike Pence, who will become the governor of Indiana next January, told the Republican governors that he remains firmly opposed any tax increase, especially on “those in the best position to put hurting Americans back to work,” which is GOP code for mega-millionaires and above.

Clearly the Republicans in Congress, too, feel free to ignore public opinion on this question, since Speaker John Boehner and his caucus have offered a “compromise” on fiscal policy that represents no change whatsoever from their earlier positions and the Romney platform. Government can accrue fresh revenues from growth, they say, nothing new or even meaningful there. And government can close unspecified loopholes and deductions to increase revenues, too. Where have we heard that before?

I think we’ll begin to see exactly how serious the GOP is about things come January.  Here’s one hint that they are warming up to Hispanic Voters.

Republican leaders made it clear after the election that the party was ready to get serious about overhauling the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system, a top priority for Hispanic communities. Taking up what is called the STEM Jobs Act during the lame-duck session could be seen as a first step in that direction.

The House voted on a STEM bill — standing for science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in September, but under a procedure requiring a two-thirds majority. It was defeated, with more than 80 percent of Democrats voting against it, because it offset the increase in visas for high-tech graduates by eliminating another visa program that is available for less-educated foreigners, many from Africa.

Republicans are changing the formula this time by adding a provision long sought by some immigration advocates — expanding a program that allows the spouses and minor children of people with permanent residence, or green card, to wait in the United States for their own green cards to be granted.

There are some 80,000 of these family-based green cards allocated every year, but there are currently about 322,000 husbands, wives and children waiting in this category and on average people must wait more than two years to be reunited with their families. In that past that wait could be as long as six years.

The House proposal would allow family members to come to the U.S. one year after they apply for their green cards, but they wouldn’t be able to work until they actually got the card. It applies to the families of green card holders who marry after getting their residency permits.

I actually think this is about the only thing they will give on for awhile.  The radical right has spent nearly 30 years taking over the party.  It won’t give up easily.


Today’s GOP: Come for the Misogyny, Stay for the Racism

Okay, H/T to Lawyers Guns and Money…This entry on Andy Borowitz blog is exactly what the GOP final push needs. A new slogan!

G.O.P. Split Over Whether to Emphasize Misogyny or Racism : The New Yorker

With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, there is a deep divide among Republican leaders over whether to emphasize misogyny or racism as the campaign’s closing theme.

In one camp is the Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who says that his view that God is sometimes O.K. with rape is “gaining real traction with a key demographic: men who don’t like women very much.”

“I can’t tell you how many misogynists have come up to me at my rallies and said, ‘Thank you for saying what you said,’ ” he told reporters today. “I think they’re like, finally, someone’s taking a more nuanced position on rape.”

With the realization that 31 states allow rapist to take their victims to court to gain visitation or custody of those “gifts from god”  i.e. babies they produce, I think that Borowitz is on the right track.

But in the other camp is the former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, who worries that the Republican Party’s emphasis on misogyny is threatening to drown out its “winning message of racism.”

“I understand the appeal of Mourdock’s anti-woman theme, but I worry that it’s going to overshadow our core value of racism, which is still our best shot at winning this thing,” he said. “In politics, you’ve got to dance with the one who brung you.”

You know, that’s true, a recent poll from the AP is supporting Sununu’s stance.

Hoping to heal a possible rift with so little time left until Election Day, the R.N.C. chairman Reince Priebus said today that there is room for both views in today’s Republican Party: “Our ‘big tent’ message to voters should be this: come for the misogyny, stay for the racism.”

That is the perfect solution!

The GOP: Come for the Misogyny, stay for the racism.