Morning Reads for Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012 5:59 am

by Obi's Sister · 35 comments

11 Shopping Days. Just sayin’…

Here:
– Accused terrorist arrested at Augusta bus station.
– College funding from the state to be tied to graduation rates by fall term 2016. Think No Child Left Behind, but kindly ignore the multi-million dollar Athletic Associations.
– Stockbridge, meet your new mayor, hopefully not the same as the old mayor.
– Clayton County, meet your new sheriff, who IS the same as the old sheriff. Now that the dirty deed is done, let’s see if the “Governor’s Plan” has any teeth. In the meantime, Clayton County locals get to enjoy a daily dose of Groundhog Day, but in a Monty Python skit.
GT reaching out to the neighborhoods surrounding campus.
– Police now suspect foul play in the death of Glynn County commissioner.
– Gee, wish you could vote yourself a 50% pay raise? So do I.
– PP Roadshow potentiality here

There:
Susan Rice “withdraws” as SoS candidate.
– SC Gov. Nikki Haley has a short list of finalists to fill departing US Senator Jim DeMit’s seat. No mention of a swimsuit competition. Yet.
– Feel like you’re being watched? Well, you are.
– Clean-up costs in Superstorm Sandy’s aftermath continue to mount.
Oops. Illegal alien AND registered sex offender was unpaid intern for Sen.Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Wait, it gets better! Dept. of Homeland Security ordered federal ICE agents to wait and arrest the perp AFTER election day.
Joe L. Allbritton dies, aged 87. Anyone with history in Houston, TX will recognize the name.
– Meet Clint Tarver.
– “You have to read it to see what’s in it.” Good Grief! Make it stop!
Novelty, especially in DC.

Random Everywhere:
– Scully’s back…ahem, I mean Gillian Anderson. And she plans to play Hannibal Lecter’s shrink. No spoilers yet on her affinity for fava beans.
– Star Wars Christmas cards.
Yuletide Zeppelin. Pass the, uh, egg nog, please.
– Beloved Trigger. Not the horse, silly, the guitar.
– Here’s your early gift.

xdog December 14, 2012 at 6:46 am

The Geminids are back. Dress warmly.

http://spaceweather.com/

John Konop December 14, 2012 at 7:31 am

The bizarre part about the Susn Rice situation is her political views ie iterventualist/ NEOCON on foriegn policy matches McCain and company……And Kerry who is more old school and conservative about greeting involved in foriegn intanglments is now the nominee via the attacks by McCain and company. This is typical Washington, we debate all the bs and avoid policy. What we really need is a Dabate on the roll of the USA in the world. I will give Ron Paul credit for being the only candidate to bring this up clearly on either side. I would not go as far as him on foriegn policy, but I definitely lean way farther his way than the NEOCON view……….

bowersville December 14, 2012 at 8:14 am

Here are few more tidbits that I find interesting. John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran with Silver Star, Bronze Star and a Purple Heart recipient joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War and became national spokesperson for the organization. We all remember the “Swift Boat” veterans against Kerry during his Presidential bid which won’t be relevant in any confirmation hearings for SoS as the Republican Senators have publicly stated Kerry will breeze through confirmation. Definitely not a Neo-con.

Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, E-5 combat infantry squad leader and recipient of Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Army Commendation Medal, and two Purple Hearts has been reported as the front runner for Defense. Hagel opposed the bombing of Iran under President G. W. Bush.

Both of these men seem to be on the opposite spectrum of Senator “bomb, bomb Iran” McCain. Plus with these men being former Vietnam vets we may see a better likely hood of ending that mess in Afghanistan sooner. Also, I don’t believe either will tolerate the likes of Pat Toomey and others filibustering a GI jobs bill again without making a public stink.

bowersville December 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

Also Politico is reporting this:

He (Hagel) was harshly critical of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy. Though a fellow Republican, Hagel began to differ with Bush often during the Iraq War. And although he supported the U.S. invasion, Hagel was among three Republican senators to support Democratic-sponsored legislation in July 2007 to require Iraq troop withdrawal to begin within 120 days.

He also opposed the Iraq troop “surge,” calling the political interests involved “a Ping-Pong game with American lives.”

At a Senate Foreign Affairs Committee hearing with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Hagel called the surge “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it’s carried out,” to applause from attendees.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/chuck-hagel-10-facts-85072.html#ixzz2F2FTQFBh

The violence levels in Afghanistan have increased since the surge there. It didn’t work as intended. It’s time to authorize our troops to totally defeat the Taliban or leave. The only argument should be whether or not to leave a Special Forces Forward Operating Base to obliterate terrorist training camps.

John Konop December 14, 2012 at 9:53 am

I agree and great post! Why is this not the debate over the current BS…?

bowersville December 14, 2012 at 10:25 am

@JK
There is no public awareness unless you have skin in the game. Vietnam had the draft. Every military aged person, family and friend knew about the draft and therefore the futility of the politics of Vietnam. Our military didn’t lose that war, the politicians did. Now, the only ones who seem to know of the futility of the politics today are those that have skin in the game, there is no front line reporting nor awareness. The Dan Rather’s and Walter Cronkite’s are gone. We have instead the shock jocks. Rush, Shawn and the rest. Any counter point to the contrary and you will be swatted down as opposed to the military. It will take people of the caliber of Hagel and Kerry to keep the peace. In a back door way, I’m happy to see Rice go even though I don’t agree with the antics of McCain and Graham.

The irony of it though is intriguing. Rice’s father, Emmit Rice is formerly of Florence South Carolina until aged 16 when he moved to NYC. Without the academic accomplishments and others,the elder Rice served with the Tuskeegee Airmen as well as high level jobs with government such as an appointment by Jimmy Carter to the Federal Reserve. Democratic blood runs deep in Susan Rice. There is no way I know how strong the Rice family ties are to Democrats in SC, but none the less, with the President’s approval rating growing to 48% in SC with Gov. Haley’s approval going down. Senator Graham may see strong Democratic opposition as well as a primary challenge from the TEA Party.

John Konop December 14, 2012 at 10:30 am

More facts about Susan Rice………….

……….. Rice was in the vanguard of the Libya operation, and is credited with pressuring a reluctant President to get involved in an adventure he was sure to regret. As the idiotic left-neocon John Avlon enthused in Newsweek/The Daily Beast:……..

“The Libyan airstrikes mark the first time in U.S. history that a female-dominated diplomatic team has urged military action.

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2012/11/20/susan-rice-is-bad-news/

The Real Problem With Susan Rice

…………. To understand what’s at stake in Rice’s potential nomination, it’s more useful to listen to a different set of interviews, conducted roughly a decade ago. Between the fall of 2002 and the spring of 2003, NPR’s Tavis Smiley interviewed Rice four times about the Bush administration’s looming war with Iraq. I’ve spent the better part of an afternoon listening to those interviews and I still can’t tell whether Susan Rice supported the war or opposed it…………
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/10/the-real-problem-with-susan-rice.html

bowersville December 14, 2012 at 11:23 am

It all seems to be a big smoke screen.

New reports now indicate that the Western press in Libya, including New York Times correspondents, knew all along that the assault was not “a spontaneous attack brought about by an anti-Islamic movie in the United States.” Instead, the attackers targeted a spy operation being run by the CIA tasked with moving weapons to rebel fighters around the Middle East….

Strong evidence now exists that Stevens (the Ambassador) seized weapons in Libya and sent them to Syria via Turkey where rebel groups created by the CIA and the Mossad are battling President Bashar Assad’s army for control of the nation.

http://americanfreepress.net/?p=7396

Benghazi seems more of a CIA operation than a US State Department operation. The Consulate was cover for the CIA. Thus the Rice talking points from the intel-community. Secretary Clinton’s report on Benghazi will be an interesting read.

The Last Democrat in Georgia December 14, 2012 at 7:33 am

Thanks for the news!

saltycracker December 14, 2012 at 8:12 am

It will be interesting to see what Synovus got for the $530 million in bad loans as it might reflect on the losses the other banks are holding as assets.

Headline: Preparing to repay TARP, Synovus dumping $530 million in bad loans from its books

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2012/12/13/2311493/preparing-to-repay-tarp-synovus.html

atlanta_advocate December 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

This tying funding to graduate thing has me a bit concerned. On one hand, it may keep some schools from admitting academically marginal types that are better off in community college or vocational school anyway and that is good. The downside: it could harm rigorous institutions like Georgia Tech. Will they make their legendary freshman calculus and physics courses easier in order to keep their funding levels? How will a school that is mostly engineering and hard sciences (even their “easy” majors are difficult stuff like business and foreign relations) fare in a scheme like that? And we don’t want to mess with the funding levels of the only AAU school in the state.

bullFrog December 14, 2012 at 10:21 am

Yes, college just got easier in Georgia. When I entered Tech, the number being advertised was 35% of you will not graduate from here.

North Georgia has been a huge success in graduation rates (and the highest rate in passing teacher certification), and now they’ve been forced to merge with Gainesville College – that’s not going to help North Georgia. Merging was a bad decision – they should have married them with Georgia Gwinnett.

Schools will continue to admit risky students (and raise prices) so long as there is money being made available to these marginal students.

atlanta_advocate December 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

@bullFrog:

“When I entered Tech, the number being advertised was 35% of you will not graduate from here.”

And if that ends, and Georgia Tech becomes a more pedestrian institution because of it, the whole state will suffer.

“Schools will continue to admit risky students (and raise prices) so long as there is money being made available to these marginal students.”

I don’t think so. The smaller schools with the sky high attrition rates can’t make up the money that they lose from the state with research like UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia State and MCG can. So, if their state funding levels are cut, it will really hurt them. They are better off trying to figure out how to let in kids that will actually graduate and work to make sure that they do. Right now it is more of a “throwing spaghetti against the wall and see who will graduate” approach.

bullFrog December 14, 2012 at 11:56 am

I agree that it is harder for the regionals, and “entry-level” schools to make up the money, but they will ensure their funding by making things easier – graduating more students that probably didn’t need to go in the first place.

Colleges will not get more selective. If they did, they will get accused of bias and, dare I say it, racial discrimination. And none are looking to decrease in size.

Tell any organization it’ll get more $$$ for doing X, chances are it’ll do more X.

atlanta_advocate December 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm

“Colleges will not get more selective. If they did, they will get accused of bias and, dare I say it, racial discrimination.”

Oh please. If that were an issue, then why are UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia State and MCG selective? Also, the fact that you can just start at a community college and transfer once you get your 2 year degree eliminates the bias and discrimination argument.

“but they will ensure their funding by making things easier – graduating more students that probably didn’t need to go in the first place.”

Regents’ exam makes that pretty much impossible. That is a bigger issue for private – especially for profit – schools than the state schools that require a standardized test to take upper division classes. The problem right now is too many kids flunk out before they even get that far …. kids who don’t even last the 2 years.

“And none are looking to decrease in size. Tell any organization it’ll get more $$$ for doing X, chances are it’ll do more X.”

Yeah. Got to give them an incentive to change that business model, though, without harming the need for Georgia Tech to remain a top level research institution and for GSU, UGA and MCG to get there.

Ed December 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm

“even their “easy” majors are difficult stuff like business and foreign relations”

lol.

Andre December 14, 2012 at 9:18 am

Seven days.

Ed is Amazing December 14, 2012 at 10:01 am

I kind of agree with this. Republicans don’t have much room to maneuver and yet Boehnert is trying to set the agenda…well, he doesn’t really have that option.

My prediction for what will happen, a s**t ton of bluster from both sides, on the 28th they will be “miles apart,” the 29th “common ground will be found” the 30th “a deal will be struck”… only to do this all over again in five years. You’ve have to be unbelievably stupid to think either party wants us to go over the fiscal cliff (misnomer of the century, btw) and even stupider to think the idiots in congress are actually going to be able to hammer out a true deal.

Democrats Declare Checkmate in Fiscal Cliff Negotiations
National Journal: “In the ongoing fiscal cliff chess match playing out on Capitol Hill, Democrats have a message for Republicans: checkmate.”

“Democrats look at the political landscape and see a win whether a deal gets cut now or after the country goes over the cliff. Worst-case scenario, they say, the House will approve legislation the Senate passed in July extending Bush-era tax cuts for everyone but the rich, an idea that Republican House Speaker John Boehner has flatly rejected.”

“If Boehner refuses to pass the Senate bill before the end of the year, Democrats say their hand only gets stronger in the new year when the Senate will have 55 Democrats and at least five Republicans who have signaled they could vote to extend the middle-class tax cuts.”

Philip Klein: “The time for Republicans to win the tax debate was during the 2012 election. They lost. That doesn’t mean they need to give away the store, but it does mean that they’ll have to make some accommodation for reality.”

National Memo: 5 reasons Republicans are getting clobbered on the fiscal cliff.

saltycracker December 14, 2012 at 11:42 am

Perhaps it is past time for benchmark definitions like unemployment and inflation to come to grips with the new normal and impacting variables.

Today’s complexity of safety nets, alternatives, consumer choices and income spreads or methods suggest a different look might be in order. Is 6.5% + unemployment a choice and the new norm ?

bgsmallz December 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm

an someone please tell me how Burrell Ellis, the CEO of DeKalb county could have honestly put out a press release in June trying to scare people into thinking the city of Brookhaven would start in a deficit mode (http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/news/documents/2012/06/19/06-18-12_DeKalb_Updates_Brookhaven_Study.pdf) because the budget of ~25M wouldn’t be covered while only 5 months later, he is saying with a straight face that DeKalb is going to lose $36 MILLION(?!?!?) in revenue from a city of Brookhaven?

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/dekalb-budget-would-increase-taxes-services/nTWm9/

The DeKalb County government truly has no shame when it comes to hiding and manipulating information from those it is supposed to be serving.

SallyForth December 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm

O/S, thanks for a thoughtful gift, although I don’t think we have to rush out and get tats. Imagine all the upset parents we could create on Christmas Day!

bowersville December 15, 2012 at 10:01 am

@JK

Columnist Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the President has selected Senator John Kerry as the nominee to replace Secretary Hillary Clinton at the State Department. Also former Republican Chuck Hagel is mentioned as the top candidate for Secretary of Defense.

http://www.suntimes.com/17019560-761/source-obama-has-chosen-john-kerry-as-secretary-of-state.html

My opinion. It will difficult for the neo-cons, both Republican and Democrat (if there are any), to attack the nomination of Senator Kerry. The wrath of the neo-cons will most likely be heaped on Hagel for Hagel’s opposition to the war policies of President G. W. Bush by Republicans. The Democrats will fall in line behind the President’s nomination of Hagel, but expect some fireworks. I understand that Senator McCain is rotating off Senate Defense and onto Senate Foreign Relations so he won’t have a leading role on Defense confirmation if the appointment of Hagel comes in the next Congress.

Harry December 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm

John “Swiftboat” Kerry will face opposition. He is a prevaricator. He is an opportunist with no character. Obama shows where he is coming from when he nominates Kerry for Secretary of State.

bowersville December 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Oh the shock jocks and Fox may adopt a scorched earth policy when it comes to Kerry. It won’t be anything we haven’t heard before. But in the confirmation hearings where it counts, it will be opposition in name only. After all, Scott Brown will be needing a job after this Congress. Don’t want Kerry to back out because Kerry would remain the Senior Senator from Massachusetts and Elizabeth Warren the Junior. No room for Scott Brown back in the Senate if that happens.

John Konop December 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm

I agree

John Konop December 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm

What I find most bizarre is we have been calling for a rational foriegn policy for years. You would think this would be a fiscally conservative position.

Harry December 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm

John “Swiftboat” Kerry will promote legacy foreign policy, not a rational foreign policy.

John Konop December 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Harry,

I am not sure about that, Kerry and Hagel were both stood up about the issues in Iraq early…..

Harry December 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm

The flavor of the month is more intervention, which is not the right flavor.

Harry December 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Let me remind everyone that John “Swiftboat” Kerry lied and faked injuries so as to get purple hearts and sent home.

Harry December 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm

From Taipeitimes:

He now makes much of his decorations from the war in Vietnam, to appeal to centrists and conservatives, without reminding those audiences that he for long was a leader of Vietnam veterans against the war. Indeed, assiduous searchers, looking for his vulnerabilities, will find much of interest in that period of his life. For example, the fabled and distinguished chief of naval operations (CNO), Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, told me — 30 years ago when he was still CNO — that during his own command of US naval forces in Vietnam, just prior to his anointment as CNO, young Kerry had created great problems for him and the other top brass, by killing so many non-combatant civilians and going after other non-military targets.

“We had virtually to straight-jacket him to keep him under control,” the admiral said. “Bud” Zumwalt got it right when he assessed Kerry as having large ambitions — but promised that his career in Vietnam would haunt him if he were ever on the national stage.

Harry December 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm

From Newsmax:

Waffling on Iraq: Kerry has the tough job of wooing Howard Dean’s anti-war Democrats despite his support of the war in Iraq. His favorite tactic, claiming the president outfoxed him, doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

On “Meet the Press” in late August 2008, Tim Russert played a tape of Kerry addressing the Senate in October 2002 with a hard-line speech declaring Iraq “capable of quickly producing weaponizing” of biological weapons that could be delivered against “the United States itself.”

Kerry insisted: “That is exactly the point I’m making. We were given this information by our intelligence community.”

However, as columnist Robert Novak noted, “as a senator, Kerry had access to the National Intelligence Estimate that was skeptical of Iraqi capability. Being tricky may no longer be as effective politically as it once was.”

No doubt Dean, Lieberman, Clark and other rivals will now use these and other details to do to Kerry what the Democrats did to Dean.

Harry December 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Correction: The interview with Russert was August 2004.

bowersville December 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Harry look at it this way. Elections have consequences. Lyaing the national election aside for a moment, John Kerry

1) may not have been nominated and/or
2)be willing to go through the nomination hearings but for:

Christine O’Donnel
Sharon Angle
Richard Mourdock
Todd Akin &
Josh Mandel

I’ll let the reader figure out what these five have in common. Hint: (TEA)

Harry December 15, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Laying aside the 2004 national election for the moment.

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