Morning Must Reads: July 24

In the news: defense contractors, Anthony Weiner, 9,000 California inmates, insider trading, Wrigley Field, Bob McDonnell, and the ratio of royal babies to photographers.

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

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

  • Big defense contractors like Lockheed Mar­tin are weathering the federal budget sequester far more easily than they projected, in part because they have gradually eliminated jobs over the past few years in anticipation of spending cuts.
  • End the White House press briefing!
  • Wife at his side, NYC candidate for mayor Anthony Weiner admits to more online sex chats.
  • California Gov. Jerry Brown wants Justice Anthony Kennedy to block a release of more than 9,000 inmates.
  • Federal prosecutors are preparing to announce criminal charges as early as this week against SAC Capital Advisors LP, the hedge-fund giant that has been the target of a multiyear investigation into alleged insider trading.
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel finally can call victory on a $500 million Wrigley Field renovation project that doesn’t rely on public financial support.
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has apologized for the “embarrassment” that he and his family have caused Virginia over a gift scandal, and said he has repaid $124,000 in loans to the political donor chiefly involved.
  • The House is poised to vote on restricting the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs in what will be the first test of congressional support for the massive data collection activities that were revealed last month.
  • According to a new WSJ poll, Govs. Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Andrew Cuomo of New York would start campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination with their public images almost entirely unformed.
  • Blanket coverage: One royal baby, 44 photographers
447 comments
ahandout
ahandout

Mantis you are the number 1 moron of the swamp.  You get the award.

Of course, he didn't phrase it quite like that. His testimony was purposefully vanilla, designed not to cause indigestion on Wall Street. But that didn't stop him from indicting the Congress. In his first sentence he stated:

"The economic recovery has continued at a moderate pace in recent quarters despite the strong headwinds created by federal fiscal policy.

PLEASE REMIND US WHO BERNAKE REPRESENTS.  I know that you know, but come on tell the truth.  Bernake represents those 1% that you hate.

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

Isn't it great that Lockheed Martin and others from the Military Industrial Complex are still doing just fine...What the world needs is more drones and bullets...



nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

...Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force: 14.3% [June 2013] 

... Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate): 7.6% [June 2013]

(emphasis added)

Wonder who can't read his own "attack" posts? 

Worse yet, when a Republical was in office, why didn't he care about the "real" unemployment rate then??

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Extinction. Its not just for Dinosaurs and Dodos anymore.

The vanishing GOP voter Despite autopsies and rebranding scams, the party has become even more unpopular since its 2012 defeat

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

John McCain's Fantasy-Land

It has become clear that President Obama is about to make good on his plan to send small arms and weapons to the opposition in Syria that is fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad. It's a move that I and many other veterans have long opposed, for reasons laid out yesterday by Republican Congressman Rich Nugent, who said, "We want to make sure that we don't put our sons or daughters in any jeopardy particularly as it relates to arming those that we have no idea who they are." But, now, it's done. However, the president is also recognizing the reality of Syria -- a reality I predicted months ago.

Back then, of the civil war in Syria, I wrote:

Not only are there a wide array of groups involved, but the introduction of Iranian and Hezbollah forces, combined with support from Russia, provide a strong center of gravity for Assad regime support... The insurgents aren't organized, and even with weapons, would have a difficult time conducting decisive combat operations in what looks like a stalemate.
The New York Times reported the other day:
The White House began publicly hedging its bets about Mr. Assad. After saying for nearly two years that Mr. Assad's days were numbered, the press secretary, Jay Carney, said, "While there are shifts in momentum on the battlefield, Bashar al-Assad, in our view, will never rule all of Syria again." Those last four words represent a subtle but significant shift in the White House's wording: an implicit acknowledgment that after recent gains by the government's forces against an increasingly chaotic opposition, Mr. Assad now seems likely to cling to power for the foreseeable future, if only over a rump portion of a divided Syria.


That's important, because at the same time the White House was acknowledging the strong potential for a stalemate, General Martin Dempsey, the nominee to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, strongly warned Congress that any military options in Syria would be "an act of war," and even if limited in scope, could easily lead to mission creep.

Of the menu of military options available, Dempsey wrote, "Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid." He went on to sound strong warnings against use of each military option, for instance, writing that setting up a no-fly zone would cost billions of dollars and loss of American lives, while not guaranteeing any significant impact on the course of the war. In that sense, he was clearly providing cover for a White House that has realized the reality of the stalemate, and doesn't want to commit American troops to less than optimal conditions.

I'll give you one guess as to who didn't like hearing a military commander telling him that it wasn't wise to go further than we already are in Syria. Here's a hint. It's the same guy who went to meet with the Syrian opposition, and ended up taking pictures with terrorists, because we can't tell who is a "good rebel" and who is a "bad rebel" over there. It's also the same guy who wanted to surge to fight terrorists in Iraq -- many of whom were recently broken out of Abu Ghraib prison, and may run to join the Syrian rebels, thus becoming people he now wants to arm and aid.

Both in hearings and afterwards, Senator John McCain was apoplectic that a senior military commander dared warn against McCain's long-stated desire to enter another war, this time in Syria. So angered was the senator, that he threatened to hold up Dempsey's nomination to head the Joint Chiefs.

In some sense, McCain's outburst is understandable, because he clearly understood all of these warnings were preemptive arguments against him and Senator Lindsay Graham, when the duo will inevitably ratchet up their war rhetoric. Yet, at the same time, just like in Iraq, it is clear that Senator John McCain is living in an fantasy-land, where the American military alone can shape any geopolitical situation into whatever it wants, like a lump of clay.

On that point, it must also be noted that much of McCain's anger toward Dempsey goes back to the same issue that angered him over Chuck Hagel and many others -- namely the surge in Iraq. As noted in an op-ed found here, McCain still cannot let it go. His insistence to re-litigate the surge at every opportunity reeks of a man who knows he probably wasn't right about it. The danger is that so many in Washington still consider McCain a voice of authority on national security and the military. That's precisely why Dempsey (likely with White House support) launched arguments against McCain's oncoming call for more involvement in Syria.

It is still true that sending small arms to the opposition is not a wise move, and we can face blowback. But President Obama painted himself into a corner on that one, by setting up a "red line" when it came to use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. He was wrong to do so. Still, to his credit, it seems that the president is staying cognizant of the reality in Syria, and why further involvement is not advisable. Meanwhile, John McCain continues to fall further and further away from the real world.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Our Star-Trek Future? NASA Scientists Engineering a Warp-Drive Solution for Faster-Than-Light Space Travel

Move over Star Trek! According to state-of-the art theory, a warp drive could cut the travel time between stars from tens of thousands of years to weeks or months. Harold G. White, a physicist and advanced propulsion engineer at NASA and other NASA engineers are trying to determine whether faster-than-light travel — warp drive — might someday be possible. The team has attempting to slightly warp the trajectory of a photon, changing the distance it travels in a certain area, and then observing the change with a device called an interferometer.

“Space has been expanding since the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago,” said Dr. White, 43, who runs the research project told the New York Times. “And we know that when you look at some of the cosmology models, there were early periods of the universe where there was explosive inflation, where two points would’ve went receding away from each other at very rapid speeds. Nature can do it,” he added. “So the question is, can we do it?”

In 1994, a Mexican physicist, Miguel Alcubierre, theorized that faster-than-light speeds were possible in a way that did not contradict Einstein by harnessing the expansion and contraction of space itself. Under Dr. Alcubierre’s hypothesis, a ship still couldn’t exceed light speed in a local region of space. But a theoretical propulsion system he sketched out manipulated space-time by generating a so-called “warp bubble” that would expand space on one side of a spacecraft and contract it on another.

La_Randy
La_Randy

From Mr Pierce:

REALITY BITES

"Of course, all of what he's railing against here has been going on since 2010, when the American people put their brains in a jar and elected a House Of Representatives full of Louie Gohmerts and a Senate minority for which Bob Bennett of Utah was Che Guevara. The president has paid a fearsome price for neglecting his primary duty as the leader of his party -- to make the Republican party pay an even more fearsome price for rendering itself into the retrograde monkeyhouse. If he had fulfilled that duty as leader of his party, he would have been better able to fulfill his duties as leader of the country. Now, he's pushing back against a resistless tide of complete, unfettered vandalism and lunacy, as best expressed in the lead story in today's Times, in which the House majority produced its wish-list that absolutely will become law the first chance they get to enact it. They do no bluff. This was no posturing. This is what they believe good government is, and it is what they will do to the country if they ever get the power. This was the trailer for the eventual disaster movie."

ahandout
ahandout

@terryclifton1 The military complex is just like every other government agency.  Once you create it and fund it, they want more, more, more.

At least the military protects the US.  Most of the government agencies that are growing out of control don't produce anything, or do anything of value.

paulejb
paulejb

@nflfoghorn

U-6 in June of GWB's 5th year in office was 9.0%, far below Obama's 14.3%, Foggie.

La_Randy
La_Randy

@DonQuixotic Read this yesterday, way cool stuff. I would like to see some of the actual mechanical processes being discussed.

jmac
jmac

@La_Randy  They themselves are afraid of the power.   That's why they didn't let Democrats undo the filibuster.   It was an easy call for them to let Democrats change the rules for presidential nominees (excluding judges AND legislation) and they didn't do it.    Republicans know all too well what's happening in the House and what the Senate is becoming with it's Mike Lees Ted Cruzes.   McConnell knows.  They know all too well after George W.  It's a scary thought even for them.   


terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@MrObvious @terryclifton1  

One trillion dollars a year is a lot of money to pass around. Our empire is crumbing around us, and we are too busy killing people all around the world to notice.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb

"At the end of January 2009, 32,204,859 Americans received aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. As of April 2013, there were 47,548,694 Americans on food stamps."

You dispute those numbers, Bugs?

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@La_Randy @DonQuixotic

Best part:

Still, one of the most dubious is Dr. Alcubierre himself. He listed a number of concerns, starting with the vast amounts of exotic matter that would be needed. “The warp drive on this ground alone is impossible,” he said. “At speeds larger than the speed of light, the front of the warp bubble cannot be reached by any signal from within the ship,” he said. “This does not just mean we can’t turn it off; it is much worse. It means we can’t even turn it on in the first place.

jmac
jmac

@La_Randy Senator Lamar Alexander (Republican Tenn) on changing the rules:

"What it means is that with 51 votes, any majority can do anything it wants on any day in the United States Senate. It can change abortion rights. It can change civil rights. It can change environmental laws. It can change labor laws. Today, the House can do that, and when it comes to the Senate, we stop and think and consider."

---- We all know who would change civil rights, environmental laws, labor laws if they could get in power - 

ahandout
ahandout

@fitty_three @roknsteve IQ 53 and Rokn head couldn't muster up enough brain power to come up with anything intelligent so they kiss each other's ass.