Why Obama Got Russia Wrong–And Romney Got It Right

Obama Romney

The Article: Why Obama Got Russia Wrong (and Romney Got It Right) by David Weigel in Slate.

The Text: To peer into the conservative media and blogosphere as it covers Russa’s invasion of Crimea is to risk a fatal dose of schadenfreude. There are reports about how Sarah Palin totally called that Putin would invade Ukraine (she will be on Fox News tonight to remind us), about how Mitt Romney was unfairly mocked for calling Russia the greatest “geopolitical threat” to the United States, about Hillary Clinton’s “reset button” gaffe. Even the Liberal New Republic ™ has admitted that Mitt Romney was right about the Russians and their ambitions.

And he was. Why did Barack Obama blow it? Let’s revisit the final 2012 presidential debate, the moment Romney explained himself and the president went for the lulz. Here’s Obama.

Governor Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that Al Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al Qaida; you said Russia, in the 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.

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How Infighting Is Destroying Feminism

Feminism

The Article: Feminist infighting only takes our eyes off the real struggle by Hadley Freeman in The Guardian.

The Text: There are so many terrific, beautifully observed details in Andrew O’Hagan’s just-published article in the London Review of Books about his attempts to ghost Julian Assange’s autobiography that it feels churlish to pick out just one. But for now, I’m going to have to be churlish. One of Assange’s many contradictory traits nailed by O’Hagan is his obsessive antagonism with those on his side, and his apparent uninterest in his actual opponents: “Julian’s relationship with the Guardian … appeared to obsess him … The Guardian was an enemy because they hadn’t toed the line, whereas the Daily Mail was almost respected for finding him entirely abominable,” O’Hagan writes.

This tendency – to turn on your own side rather than spending energy fighting the opposition – is by no means limited to deluded wannabe cult leaders with a messiah complex and bad table manners. You can see it on a daily basis in political parties. But the manifestation that I have been musing on much of late, currently all too clearly on display, is within the feminist movement.

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100% Clean Energy By 2050 Possible–Obstructed By Politics

Energy

The Article: Running It All On Clean Energy: “A Question Of Social And Political Will” by Sandy DeChart in CleanTechnica.

The Text: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment Senior Fellow Mark Jacobson says the United States has the technology and logistical ability to convert to all-renewable energy sources by 2050—if we can manage to exercise the social and political will to do so. He’s the guy who told David Letterman we already have enough wind to power the entire world “seven times over.” Now he has proven his point with a groundbreaking roadmap to clean energy for all 50 U.S. states.

With colleagues from academia and industry, Jacobson—a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and a senior fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy—recently developed detailed plans that three states (New York, 2/18/13; Washington, 1/14/14; and California, yesterday—2/22/14) could use to switch over their energy infrastructures from conventional fuels to 100% renewable resources by 2050. As Jacobson uses the term, “infrastructure” includes electric power, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry uses. “Renewable power” is derived primarily from wind, water, and sunlight (WWS), generating electricity and electrolytic hydrogen.

Some findings of research behind the plans:

-Powering the U.S. with only wind, water, and solar energy sources would save the average consumer $3,400 per year.

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The Shocking Numbers Behind Corporate Welfare

Boeing

The Article: The shocking numbers behind corporate welfare by David Cay Johnson in Al-Jazeera.

The Text: State and local governments have awarded at least $110 billion in taxpayer subsidies to business, with 3 of every 4 dollars going to fewer than 1,000 big corporations, the most thorough analysis to date of corporate welfare revealed today.

Boeing ranks first, with 137 subsidies totaling $13.2 billion, followed by Alcoa at $5.6 billion, Intel at $3.9 billion, General Motors at $3.5 billion and Ford Motor at $2.5 billion, the new report by the nonprofit research organization Good Jobs First shows.

Dow Chemical had the most subsidies, 410 totaling $1.4 billion, followed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway holding company, with 310 valued at $1.1 billion.

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Why “Religious Freedom” Bills Are The New “Stand Your Ground”

Religious Freedom Bill

The Article: These “Religious Freedom” Bills Are the New Stand-Your-Ground Laws by Eric Sasson in The New Republic.

The Text: Awaiting signature on the desk of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is a bill that might be the most insidious attack on LGBT rights to ever pass both houses of a state legislature. SB1062 would allow anyone—be it an individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly, foundation, or other legal entity—to deny services to others simply by asserting their religious beliefs. Interpreted broadly, the bill could override many equal protection clauses in Arizona law, including civil rights: A restaurateur could deny service to an out-of-wedlock mother, a cop could refuse to intervene in a domestic dispute if his religion allows for husbands beating their wives, and a hotel chain could refuse to rent rooms to Jews, Hindus, or Muslims.

Republican legislators have made the intended target of the bill clear in their statements, repeatedly citing a New Mexican photographer who was sued when he refused to shoot a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony. They claim the bill’s detractors are exaggerating its possible effects and are demonstrating hostility towards people of faith. But there is ample reason to believe that a law like this would open the door to discrimination. Once laws are passed, people who may otherwise be afraid of engaging in questionable behaviors may feel emboldened to do so. Moreover, these laws will likely be used by juries as legitimate reasons to dismiss cases against future defendants—after all, the law is the law.

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