Morning Must Reads: March 21

In the news: drones, Israel rockets, politics of endorsing gay marriage, and North Korea's latest propaganda.

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Update: Buzzfeed’s local news compilation on the sequester’s impact.

286 comments
DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Every year I lay out my brackets with logical picks based on the higher seated teams there's always upsets and I lose, and on years where I go with wild choices to avoid that it blows up in my face.  FML.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Home sales hit highest rate in 3 years

The report Thursday from the National Association of Realtors was the latest sign of a housing recovery that has become a major positive force for the economyThe February rate of 4.98 million homes was up 10% from a year earlier, although it was only 1% higher than the revised January pace. It was the best month since November of 2009. But that early spike in sales was caused by a temporary $5,000 tax credit for home buyers in place at that time. The current strength is due to improved fundamentals, including a drop in foreclosures and near record low mortgage rates. A decline in the nation's unemployment rate is also helping.

Since everything bad that happens to the economy is Obama's fault, let me be the first to thank him for this.

outsider
outsider

Paul Krugman says that Republican ideology is holding the economy back.

"People of conservative politics hate hate hate the idea of any kind of activist government policy to help the economy," the Nobel Prize-winning economist wrote in a blog post for the New York Times on Wednesday.

Krugman, like many other economists, has long advocated for increases in government spending to boost the economy.

In a 2012 survey, 80 percent of economists on the IGM Economic Experts Panel said that the stimulus lowered the unemployment rate. And in a blog post published in Project Syndicate on Wednesday, Yale economist Robert Shiller wrote that stimulus is necessary to get out of the current economic slump, which has been exacerbated by government spending cuts.

The sequestration -- a series of across-the-board government spending cuts -- took effect earlier this month as a result of partisan gridlock and will eliminate 750,000 jobs this year alone if the cuts stay in place, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

Many economists say that Republican plans to slash spending would hurt the economy. Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) proposed budget would destroy 2 million jobs in 2014 alone if it were implemented, according to the Economic Policy Institute.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/paul-krugman-conservatives_n_2923857.html

paulejb
paulejb

"AP: ‘Abortions Are Typically Performed In Utero’ "

“Abortions are typically performed in utero”? Where else are they committed? While it is true fallopian tubes are the other site a preborn baby may be killed due to an ectopic pregnancy, this was certainly not the context here. Nor does anyone ever parse a generalized conversation abortion to that specificity.

The context here was that a baby was murdered ex utero – outside the uterus, after delivery. And apparently in certain scenarios this is acceptable, according to Ms. Dale?

Perhaps Ms. Dale believes, as does Barack Obama, that abortion survivors may be legally killed in accordance with a mother’s wishes to terminate her pregnancy.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jill-stanek/2013/03/21/ap-abortions-are-typically-performed-utero

This is just vile. These people are butchers.

La_Randy
La_Randy

"Market Radicals: The GOP's Betrayal of Conservatism"

"But to see how thoroughly the GOP has abandoned its conservative heritage, we have to return to the moral roots of conservatism. Throughout much of the twentieth century, conservatives understood the tremendous moral costs of reckless social and economic experiments. They saw how readily utopian experimenters imposed acute suffering on their people for the sake of distant, intangible political ideals. They saw how often utopian fervor underwrote tremendous moral callousness. The moral core of twentieth-century conservatism lay in its acute awareness of the fragility of the human good, and in its commitment to protect ordinary lives and time-tested political institutions from self-inflicted turbulence.

In the current Republican Party, these moral lessons are nowhere to be found. Today, it is Republicans who are willing to impose suffering on the vulnerable, and to dismantle successful institutions (such as social security), for the sake of abstract ideals. Republicans are eager to cut social services and welfare benefits, to gut consumer and environmental protection, to de-fund unemployment benefits and job-re-training, to end payroll tax breaks. Yet these are precisely the institutions that have helped bring a measure of security and stability to the lives of working Americans, especially in times of economic hardship."

paulejb
paulejb

Cypriot Solution?

"According to our friends at the Federal Reserve, there is only about $9.3 trillion deposited in U.S. banks, meaning that a 10 percent levy would produce only $930 billion — not even enough to cover last year’s deficit.

We could seize 100 percent of the bank deposits in the United States and not even come close to paying off the national debt."

The magnitude of the US debt problem is enormous.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

The Grand Old Party isn't dead yet similarly to how a zombie isn't dead yet. There are no brain functions and nothing good comes from them but they can still do damage to the people around them.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

2014 might be the last stand for the current leadership of this party of fools. Wonder if Boehner and McConnel will still be around when more seats are lost and the party becomes even more irrelevant.

Sue_N
Sue_N

Totally OT, but I've gone three weeks without a cigarette.

And, yes, hubby is still alive and intact.

outsider
outsider

@retiredvet  

Saw this - loved it. And she totally ad-libbed, since she didn't know what she'd be asked. 

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@DonQuixotic

My "favorite" case I ever heard, 6 guys are picked up in connection with the rape and murder of a woman.  They are each interrogated for 9 hours by police - no food, no drink.  Eventually 5 of them make confessions (the 6th refused).  One of them immediately withdrew his confession the following day but the other 4 didn't.  All 6 of them accused the police of misconduct.  In the process of them getting to trial, another man was picked up and confessed without much prodding to the crime - absolutely no relationship with the first 6.  The other 4 withdrew their confessions at that time.  The 7th guy plead guilty and got a moderate sentence.  The guy who refused to confess and the guy who withdrew his confession immediately were both acquitted.  The other 4....got convicted and at least 10 years each (the prosecution had basically made its story that the 6 of them held her down while the 7th raped and killed her).

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

@DonQuixotic As every small bit of the recovery happens Republicans have to work so much harder to tank it.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@La_Randy It really is staggering just how much of society the Repubs are willing to burn down in the name of ideology. The party that hates and resents the poor champions policies that will create many, many more if them. The party that decries abortion and cries "save the babies!" Wants to gut any and every program that affects children and families. They worship the almighty dollar, but don't want anyone earning a living wage. And God forbid anyone should get sick and need medical care, because they sure as he'll don't want to provide that! Education? No thank you, that's for commies. Science? Pah.

There are banana republics looking at us and going, "What is wrong with you people?"

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 

Odd. Mayor Schiliro has all the qualifications to be a member of the party of Clinton, Weiner and Spitzer. Wonder why he is in the wrong party?

roknsteve
roknsteve

@Sue_N Keep at it. You have to really hate them.  That's how I quit about 23 years ago.   

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

@Sue_N Congratulations! When I quit and said I had my last cigarette such and such a day ago, a friend said to me, "Don't memoralize it, you quit on such and such a day." Subtle change of mindset that was good for me.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Sue_N 

Congrats.  Are you going cold turkey or using a patch/gum?

retiredvet
retiredvet

@La_Randy  It's a good report on how messed up the GOP is. And it's by the GOP.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@forgottenlord @mantisdragon91 

We're doing good over all. Paulejb is so marginalized that I don't even have to scroll to read anyone destroying his trolling. Now it's just onto next subject. 

Sue_N
Sue_N

@nflfoghorn @Sue_N This time I am determined to stick with it. The last time I tried to quit, I had gone for a month or so without one, and then we started having issues with my father (it's always family, ain't it?). I thought, "I'll just get a pack and smoke one. Just one." The "one" led to the whole pack, then another pack, then a carton, and that was that.

I remind myself of that every time the cravings hit.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@roknsteve @Sue_N It's also helpful to remind myself just how much they cost and what other, better things I can do with that money.

I can fill up my car for less than a carton of cigarettes. It's almost like getting a raise at work!

Sue_N
Sue_N

@Ivy_B @Sue_N Thanks. The worst part is needing something to do with my hands. I find myself playing games in my phone a lot more just to occupy them.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@outsider2011 @Sue_N Thanks. I'm really, really hoping I can make it stick this time.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@DonQuixotic @Sue_N Gum. It tastes like crap, but it's better than the cigs.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

@Sue_N That is what absolutely shocked me when I discovered the cost a few years ago! I said I was old - when I started a carton cost $2.50. .25 a pack - .35 in a machine.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@outsider2011 @Sue_N The hardest part is when I'm driving or reading. I can change routes to shorten the drives, but I still find myself reaching for a cigarette when I read. Lots of old habits to break.

But I do like having a sharper sense of taste and smell!

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@Ivy_B @DonQuixotic @MrObvious @outsider2011 @Sue_N 

I grew up, like many in my generation, well informed of how horrible cigarettes are for you from teachers, parents, and the media as a whole despite Big Tobacco's best efforts.  Few of my friends actually smoke; it's a dying habit.

outsider
outsider

@MrObvious @outsider2011 @Sue_N 


Smart; it's good to have priorities. 


I used to just be a social smoker, then it got me, and i smoked regularly. But i decided to cut it out. But you and Donnie are better off not having touched smokes at all

outsider
outsider

@Sue_N 


When i quit, i did it cold turkey; but it was breaking the associations that i found the most difficult. Like waiting for the bus, and not having a smoke. 

So keep up the good work. It does get easier

doddeb
doddeb

@Sue_N: I smoked for 30 years. You can quit too. And hopefully avoid COPD by doing so. Trust me its not a good way to go through life.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@doddeb 

Seconding this.  With that much willpower you're practically a Green Lantern.

doddeb
doddeb

@Sue_N : I have total faith that you have all the willpower needed. You 're a Texas liberal for pity sakes.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@doddeb Thanks for the advice. I think in the past I've gotten too impatient and sort of sabotaged myself.

Keep a good thought!

doddeb
doddeb

@Sue_N: good job. I quit two years ago, using the gum. Don 't hurry quitting the gum, either. Give yourself some time to adjust.