Thursday, February 21, 2013

by Greg DworkinFollow for Daily Kos
Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 04:30 AM PST 

From Washington Post

New Bloomberg poll shows Obama at 3-yr job approval high, 55%
@HotlineJosh via UberSocial for BlackBerry
Obama’s positive standing with the public provides him with political leverage as Americans assess blame for any furloughs, disruption of government services or damage to the economy if the spending cuts aren’t averted. The repercussions also could help shape the battleground for the 2014 midterm congressional elections.

Beyond the fiscal showdown, the poll shows traction for the president on immigration, with 47 percent approval of his handling of the issue compared with 38 percent disapproval. Fifty-three percent of Americans support a path to citizenship while 18 percent back a process toward legal status for illegal residents already in the country if certain conditions are met.

Feelings toward Obama are the most positive since December 2009, with 56 percent of Americans holding a favorable opinion of the president and 40 percent a negative one. The Democratic Party he leads is viewed favorably by 47 percent and unfavorably by 43 percent.

Public views of congressional Republicans’ record places an added burden on them in the standoff over automatic spending cuts. Americans by 43 percent to 34 percent say they are more to blame than Obama and Democrats for “what’s gone wrong” in Washington. Still, another 23 percent aren’t sure which side bears more responsibility. So Chuck Hagel will be confirmed, the WH will ultimately win on the sequester (goes into effect, to be rescinded later) and the press will still fail to focus on what a disaster the GOP is.

Chris Cillizza:
And that maxim is why Republicans in Congress would do well to avoid a confrontation with President Obama over the sequester.

Here’s why — in 3 very simple steps:

1. Regular people have no idea what the sequester is right now and, even once it kicks in, aren’t likely to pay all that close of attention to it unless they are directly affected by it.
2. Obama is popular with the American public
3. Congress is not.

Maggie Haberman:
After his electoral wipeout in November — and motivated by years of resentment that’s spilling over — Rove’s credibility within his own party is at an all-time low. More polling and politics below the fold.

Josh Barro:
Unlike many on the right, Gerson, Wehner and Ponnuru have correctly diagnosed the economic challenges that Republicans aren't addressing. (Gerson and Wehner identify "stagnant wages, the loss of blue-collar jobs, exploding health-care and college costs.") And they have even advanced some ideas that would improve matters.
But the key word there is "some": All three writers leave unaddressed major Republican stumbling blocks with the middle class. Particularly, they are far from developing health-care and fiscal policies that can serve middle-class interests.

There are two big middle-class problems with health care. Costs have risen too fast, eating away at wages, and many people can't afford health insurance. Democrats have, in the form of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacted policies that mostly fix the second problem and take some steps to deal with the first. Republicans have no plausible agenda on either, and neither of these pieces provides much useful guidance. and

Josh Barro:
Why would a reformed, reality-based Republican Party be different from the Democrats and therefore useful? I can think of a few important reasons, which are the reasons that I remain, however reluctantly, a Republican.

NY Times magazine has an extraordinary story of "The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food":
According to the sources I spoke with, Sanger began by reminding the group that consumers were “fickle.” (Sanger declined to be interviewed.) Sometimes they worried about sugar, other times fat. General Mills, he said, acted responsibly to both the public and shareholders by offering products to satisfy dieters and other concerned shoppers, from low sugar to added whole grains. But most often, he said, people bought what they liked, and they liked what tasted good. “Don’t talk to me about nutrition,” he reportedly said, taking on the voice of the typical consumer. “Talk to me about taste, and if this stuff tastes better, don’t run around trying to sell stuff that doesn’t taste good.”

To react to the critics, Sanger said, would jeopardize the sanctity of the recipes that had made his products so successful. General Mills would not pull back. He would push his people onward, and he urged his peers to do the same. Sanger’s response effectively ended the meeting.

“What can I say?” James Behnke told me years later. “It didn’t work. These guys weren’t as receptive as we thought they would be.” Behnke chose his words deliberately. He wanted to be fair. “Sanger was trying to say, ‘Look, we’re not going to screw around with the company jewels here and change the formulations because a bunch of guys in white coats are worried about obesity.’ ”

The meeting was remarkable, first, for the insider admissions of guilt. But I was also struck by how prescient the organizers of the sit-down had been. Today, one in three adults is considered clinically obese, along with one in five kids, and 24 million Americans are afflicted by type 2 diabetes, often caused by poor diet, with another 79 million people having pre-diabetes. Even gout, a painful form of arthritis once known as “the rich man’s disease” for its associations with gluttony, now afflicts eight million Americans.

I disagree with Chris on point #1 (29+ / 0-)
The CBS evening news, the most conservative of evening news broadcasts, took great pains to explain the sequester last night and pointed out many of the ways it would effect the country including, specifically:
one day furlough for DoD workers who provide therapy for soliders (yes, they showed pictures of soldiers with no legs getting PT); a cut back to 4 air craft carriers (from 9) and that it would take up 9-12 months to reactivate them once they're shut down. They showed the FDA person saying they'd have to cut food inspections and that might result in more food borne illnesses; they showed some lady in NYC talking about cutting law enforcement and counter-terrorism efforts and it putting more strain on the department and security activities. They showed the TSA and said how they'd be majorly cut making air travel less safe.
It was, IMO, a conservative argument against the sequester, focused mostly on security and the military but it was fucking scary to think about.
I find ABC and NBC evening news to be more liberal and I can only imagine what they had on their broadcasts.
No, I think this week the american public is getting a crash course in "what is a sequester" but moreso, the important things the government is doing everyday.

  •  Use that bully pulpit (11+ / 0-)
    Time for the president to stand for his principles and level with the American people about the destructive, anti-American agenda of the Republican Party. What has "compromise" and attempts to appease the GOP brought us? A roller-coaster of artificial deadlines and legislative guns to the head of the American people that have led to serious damage to our economy. No more hand-holding of the GOP. time to smack them in the face and state the obvious; that the GOP is only interested in obstruction and extremism, not healing our economy and governing America.  -  progressive
  •  Good morning and thanks for the roundup, Greg! (16+ / 0-)
    I'm glad people (columnists) are finally starting to pay attention to the idea that stagnant wages are a major problem in this country.  Financial gurus keep telling us that our "latte habit" is what's keeping us from becoming rich.  Well, what if we make our coffee at home and STILL don't have an extra $5 a day?  These financial gurus are so insulated from reality in their own rich little lives that they have no conception of how the rest of us live.
    I worry about the sequester because the much-maligned civil servants will suffer.  Most people live from paycheck to paycheck.  Here in the Washington, DC area, "those government workers who don't do any work" are our neighbors, friends, and relatives.  They have long commutes and they do work--testing the air quality, directing air traffic, sending us our Social Security payments, processing our tax refunds.
    My husband and I found it almost impossible to save money, other than 401(k) contributions, when our children were growing up.  It was only after they grew up, graduated from college, and went out to work that we were able to save any money at all.  Most people are one paycheck away from disaster and that worries me.
    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon
    •  I heard John Avalon (7+ / 0-)
      talking about minimum wage the other day on a radio talk show, and if wages had kept pace with inflation since the 1960s, minimum wage would be something like $10.13 an hour.
      Out west here, where a grocery store can be 30 miles away and gas is close to $4 a gallon, people can't make it on minimum wage.
      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    •  For those that are interested the book (10+ / 0-)
      "Fat Chance" by Robert Lustig, M.D. goes into great detail about how the food industry is pulling the same scam with the food we eat that the tobacco industry ran on the dangers of consuming their products.  Sugar content of our food has tripled in the last 30 years mirroring the rise in obesity and diabetis in this country and the whole world.  Sanger and his ilk are only concerned with their bottom line, not public health.
      "A different world cannot be built by indifferent people." Anon from a fortune cookie I got.
      •  And we pay out $4.9 billion each year to (4+ / 0-)
        subsidize corn (the source of our explosion in sugar intake and in the diseases it causes), keeping the price down and production high and making the per calorie cost of potato chips far lower than the per calorie cost of carrots, for example.
        Between 1985 and 2010 the price of beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup dropped 24 percent, and by 2006 American children consumed an extra 130 calories a day from these beverages. Over the same period the price of fresh fruits and vegetables rose 39 percent. For families on a budget, the price difference can be decisive in their food choices.
        The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams
        [ Parent ]
        •  Corn syrup (4+ / 0-)
          was used to replace cane sugar when price for cane sugar got out of hand a couple of decades ago.
          But sugar is sugar, there's just way too much of it in our foods.
          “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama
          [ Parent ]
          •   Julianne Moore had a great line in The Forgotten: (3+ / 0-)
            "I'm trying to decide if I want too much sugar or too much salt."
            The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

          •   .... (16+ / 0-)
            Before GOP continues on current path, it really ought to look at the latest nat'l polls (typo fixed)
            @stevebenen via TweetDeck
            .@ron_fournier Mandate "President Obama starts his second term with a clear upper hand over GOP leaders"
            @DemFromCT via TweetDeck
            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx
            • * [new]  ... (8+ / 0-)
              .@ron_fournier Mandate "Now just 22% of Americans, nearly a record low, consider themselves Republicans."
              @DemFromCT via TweetDeck
              Tweaking Ron Fournier because: Obama Victory Comes With No Mandate
              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            •   Washington Post today carried a front page (5+ / 0-)
              article about cybersecurity, focusing on attempts (and successes) of the Chinese to gain information on the inner workings of the U.S. government, including interactions with political organizations:
              The list of those hacked in recent years includes law firms, think tanks, news organizations, human rights groups, contractors, congressional offices, embassies and federal agencies.
              China is also suspected of stealing trade secrets and proprietary information from private businesses by hacking into their computer systems. In order to put more stringent laws in place to prevent and punish cyberhacking and spying, a bipartisan bill known as Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA (H.R. 624), has been reintroduced in the House by  by Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
              The Sunlight Foundation has introduced "Scout," a program that will alert you by email or text message of any official activity and votes on this bill including notices of upcoming hearings and when it's coming to the floor. The CISPA collection also has alerts you can follow about speeches in Congress that use the phrase "Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act" or "CISPA" and, for those interested in wider coverage, has alerts for any mentions of "Cybersecurity" in federal regulations and state-level bills.
              If you're interested in cybertheft of government data or proprietary information from business, this is a handy little tool to keep track of what congress is trying to do to address the problem.
              "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken
              •   The company I work for (4+ / 0-)
                has been the subject of  "spear phishing" attacks the last month or so:
                Generic emails asking employees to open malicious attachments, provide confidential information or follow links to infected websites have been around for a long time. What's new today is that the authors of these emails are now targeting their attacks using specific knowledge about employees and the organizations they work for. The inside knowledge used in these spear phishing attacks gains the trust of recipients. "Spear phishing is the most popular way to get into a corporate network these days," said Andrew Howard, a GTRI research scientist who heads up the organization's malware unit. "Because the malware authors now have some information about the people they are sending these to, they are more likely to get a response. When they know something about you, they can dramatically increase their odds."
       Most get picked up by our spam filter, but as the article says, it only takes one employee to open that attachment to an email that looks like it came from the corporate office.
                “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama
                [ Parent ]
            •  If the Republican Party can find an (2+ / 0-)
              actual adult to take charge, and that could be insurmountably problematic, he or she should suggest to Mitch McConnell that he needs to consider his office a function of the greater good and nothead-up-the-ass obstruction.
              I want McConnell talked to, I want this to happen, I want McConnell brought up short, embarrassed, and newly deferential to the notion of what it means to be a public servant.
              But where will they find an actual adult to begin this dialogue and set an example?  Certainly not among their current Congressional caucus.  Certainly not on FOX News.  Certainly not on the Sunday talking head fests.
              "We hate almost everybody; vote for us" isn't that persuasive a campaign slogan for the upcoming midterms.
              •  An actual adult to take charge of the (0+ / 0-)
                Republican party or begin a dialogue among Republicans won't be found in congress.  Republicans elected either to the House or Senate are too caught up in the D.C. bubble and/or too worried about re-election to see beyond obstruction and demonization of Democrats and the president.  Their party is splintering and they know it, but they're powerless - or disinclined - to do anything about it.
                "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken
                [ Parent ]
            •   It's easy to relish some schadenfreude over (4+ / 0-)
              the condition of the Republican Party, let's not forget the propensity of the Democratic Party to fail to capitalize upon it -- as with filibuster reform, or the financial crisis as an opportunity to clean up Wall Street and revitalize the Middle Class, or to set the record straight on Climate Change and the dirty secret of it will actually require to mitigate the worst effects of it.
              Let's not forget that, for that very reason--the Democrats inability to take advantage of a Republican Party in disarray, which is a uninspiring sight indeed--2010 followed 2008.
              The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

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