Morning Must Reads: December 11

In the news: TIME's 2013 Person of the Year, a budget deal, Syrian war, NSA hacking, the Volcker rule, Obama's approval rating, and Nelson Mandela

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

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

  • Pope Francis is TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year
  • “Congressional leaders struck a deal on Tuesday to undo billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts that have frustrated both parties, a modest agreement that nevertheless raised hopes of an end to the nonstop budget battles and brinkmanship that have consumed Washington in recent years.” [TIME]
    • Are Republicans preparing to block the deal? [Roll Call]
  • “After a night of clashes with protesters in Independence Square, security forces appeared to pull back Wednesday from the central plaza in Kiev where demonstrators have been rallying against the government of President Viktor F. Yanukovich for more than two weeks.” [NYT]
  • “Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August.” [London Review of Books]
    • “The White House is dismissing as ‘simply false’ a new report from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, which states that the Obama Administration ‘cherry-picked intelligence’ in order to make its case for a military strike against Syria.” [Politico]
  • NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking [WashPost]
  • “A broad new government rule to limit risk-taking by Wall Street will force banks to rethink virtually every aspect of their trading activities, setting the stage for more tumult at the largest U.S. financial institutions.” [WSJ]
    • “However, it does not explicitly prohibit banks from making trades to hedge risks in specific circumstances. Banks had feared the draft might be tougher…” [Financial Times]
  • “Disapproval of Mr. Obama’s job performance hit an all-time high in the poll, at 54%, amid the flawed rollout of the health law. Half of those polled now consider the law a bad idea, also a record high.” [WSJ]
  • Nelson Mandela’s Coffin Arrives At the Union Buildings in Pretoria [BuzzFeed]
437 comments
notsacredh
notsacredh

Really OT, but I was at Wally World earlier today and they have all three LOTR movies in blu-ray in one package for $6.96. All three Matrix movies together too for the same price.

Curious_Quiche
Curious_Quiche

Good Lord, LF has pooped the bed. This is the first thing I've been able to put up in days.

hivemaster
hivemaster

 Can you hear me now?  My home Chrome is up to date, so I logged out and back in to see if maybe that's what is needed for Chrome users after LF pushes an update.



notsacredh
notsacredh

It's time for "The Grinch That Stole Christmas". Good night folks.

notsacredh
notsacredh

OT, but I've just made a great scientific discovery. My hair has gotten to be almost as much salt as pepper. I bought some Just For Men. They were out of my shade so I bought the next one down (lighter). It says not to leave it on for more than 5 minutes because it will darken. I left it on 2 and 1/2 minutes extra and it looks like my regular shade. What do I win?

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

I don't have a link but in the last Alberta election, the right-wing Conservatives and labor allied together because they were terrified that the far-right Wild Rose Party would win.  And the Conservatives won.  But since, a budget deficit appeared in Alberta's budget, and to balance it the Conservatives forced through 4 different pieces of legislation effectively mandating Collective Bargaining Agreements for 3 unions.  So Labor has announced that the Conservatives can go ahead and lose to the Wild Rose because they will not support her again.

BTW: Wild Rose merely went "we think you did the right thing....just messaged it wrong".  Somehow...still better off than Sue.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

Ok, I've got to say something.  I don't accept the argument that Obama's numbers are fine because Congress is worse.  I *really* dislike that argument.  Why?  Because I'm fairly sure that if you look at the context of recorded polling numbers, there isn't actually a time where Congress has been more popular than the President.  It's bad Math to try and compare the two.  The other thing is that you're comparing an ostensibly deliberative body representing both sides with polling on a specific individual.  A straight up comparison of individuals (say Obama vs Boehner) might be more informative, but even that is questionable.  Historical analysis of polls has suggested that people are far more forgiving of a President than they are of other members of the Government because they want strength in the seat of power - which is why Bush is set insane records that Governors of Florida and Pennsylvania would kill for.  It's bad math, it's bad analysis.  Compare against Bush's numbers - or his father or Nixon or whoever - or do what I've been doing and actually perform proper analysis, but this "oh, Congress wishes they had Obama's numbers" stuff is just bad.

(Ok, the numbers saying this might be the worst Congress on record are useful, but that's a slightly different discussion point and again, a direct comparison is invalid)

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

So has anyone noticed Curly doesn't seem the greatest when it comes to reading or comprehension? Today is the second time that I know of that he has confused India and Indiana.

fitty_three
fitty_three

Thatcher and Reagan:

They blasted small nations together. How touching...

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@sacredh

Nobel Prize for compensation techniques

fitty_three
fitty_three

@forgottenlord

I think that the word 'congress' is a little misleading, too. It brings with it a picture of false equivalence, like the polls that ask whether we think the country is going the right direction or not.

Everyone knows, or should, that the House isn't the same as the Senate and that their roles in the lack of effectiveness are different too.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

@forgottenlord W was in the 30s and dipped into the 20s for the majority of his second term.  Y'mean Congress was lower than he was??

MementoMori
MementoMori

@forgottenlord

I think it's more valid when it's broken down by party. Eg., "Congressional Republicans"

For better or worse, we have an adversarial two party system. No single GOP legislator compares to the power of the President, but the majority Republican Party in the House has the power to stop him in his tracks. Thus, comparing Presidential approval ratings to say "House Republicans" becomes a good measure of how the country is reacting to any given party's agenda or ability to lead.

It's not apples to apples, but it is valid.


Related:

Only 22% of voters approve of the job the Republicans in Congress are doing. Seventy-four percent disapprove, and 4% have either never heard of them or are unsure how to rate them, according to a new Marist Poll out today.

collioure
collioure

@mantisdragon91 

Yeah, someone keeps posting about India here.  Doesn't everyone know how that society debases women?  

BTW Indiana might not be much better.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@Sue_N

It's coming down like a typical abusive relationship. This isn't going to end well at all.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

At least Thatcher had an excuse. Argentina did after all launch an invasion of British territory.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@sacredh

Other than the fact that you're a soulless atheist commie librul racist Obama worshipping incompetent community organizer thug union gubmint worker welfare gay queen terrorist sympathizing lowlife Dem...

...[struggles to catch breath]...

why should you be ashamed?

Curious_Quiche
Curious_Quiche

Quiche is on the Fox like a Luddite. Is it bad that Firefox is for Luddites now?

notsacredh
notsacredh

@forgottenlord, I didn't ell my wife I didn't get the same color but she said it looked like it normally does. If she can't tell, nobody else will either. Not that I care, but one time I did use two different colors (each side a different color) and she made me do the whole thing over again.

notsacredh
notsacredh

@nflfoghorn, as low as Obama's numbers are now, he's still more popular than either democrats or republicans in Washington. That gives it a little perspective.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@MementoMori

Comparing Republican vs Democrat numbers makes sense, but considering that even Democrat numbers are below Obama's....

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

So how that that excuse your inability to distinguish between the two?