As Politico's Ben Smith notes, the Obama administration's "leading from behind" in Libya -- having NATO lead the military operations, getting the cooperation from the Arab League, and letting the Libyan opposition have the main stake in the outcome -- seems to have been a success. But it hasn?t been an easy five months for the White House. In fact, it emphasizes how difficult managing a war, even one being waged ?from behind,? can be in this 24-7 media environment. Consider: The American Revolutionary War, with an assist from France, lasted some eight years; the U.S. Civil War lasted four years; and World War II lasted about that same amount of time. There is little patience when the news cycle changes every hour. The one ironic exception, of course: the Afghanistan war, which has lasted nearly 10 years?Something feels too simplistic here. The entire notion of "leading from behind" being a good or bad strategy strikes me as missing the point. It depends.
Mom and dad go on vacation and leave their 4 young children at home.Again, it depends. In the case of health care reform, the President was the proverbial mom and dad who skipped town for a year and didn't leave anyone to watch over the kids in Congress. In fact, he left it to the kids to run their own show, while appointing a weak babysitter (his staff) to run only moderate interference. In that case, leading from behind was a failure because the entire effort was almost a loss, and in the end the President got far less than he potentially could have gotten had he truly led the effort.
1. Mom and dad pick a great babysitter to take care of the kids and all goes well.
2. Mom and dad pick a lousy babysitter to take care of the kids and all goes badly.
3. Mom and dad don't pick anyone to take care of the kids, and all goes badly.
So mom and dad "led from behind" on this one, but in some scenarios leading from behind worked while in others it didn't. So is leading from behind a wise or unwise strategy?
Hurricane Irene intensified back to Category 2 status and may reach Category 3 today. The storm has broken away from island highlands farther to the south and now nothing but the Bahamas lays between Irene and warm water hurricane paradise. Irene could well reach Cat 4 strength over the next several days and make landfall as a powerful, deadly storm.
The track above superimposed over NOAA's sea surface temperature data shows the forecast track as of early this morning. While the centerline has shifted ever so slightly east, there's still a great deal of variability three or more days out, represented by the growing size of the circles. Irene is forecast to pose a major threat to North Carolina, especially the Outer Banks, eastern Virginia, and the Norfolk to DC region. If the storm follows the current forecast it skirts Delaware and wanders back out over water plenty warm enough to sustain or accelerate the convection cycle driving the cyclone. Due to population density (See 3-d diagram posted here), Irene could then go on to threaten the Long Island region right up through Maine as a hurricane or a tropical storm and rank among the most costly storms in history.
See also discussion in FishOutofWaters diary which reports Irene has already reached Cat 3 status.
An investigation from a Scottish newspaper, the Sunday Herald, shows that Royal Dutch Shell has been censured for breaking safety rules 25 times in six years, giving it the second-worst safety record in the United Kingdom.
The piece was released days after Shell closed a pipeline leak in the North Sea that dumped about 218 tons of oil into the water ? the worst spill in the UK since 2000. It also comes as Shell seeks to drill exploratory wells off the Arctic coast next summer.
The list of censures reported by the Sunday Herald is wide-ranging:
The British oil multinational has been prosecuted, fined and formally reprimanded for repeatedly failing to maintain pipelines and other vital equipment in the North Sea, for failing to report a dangerous incident, and for failing to protect workers from hazardous chemicals.
The revelations, from records held by the Government?s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), have led to renewed criticism of Shell in the wake of last week?s oil leak from a pipeline to the Gannet Alpha platform 112 miles east of Aberdeen. The company has been slammed for failing to be open about the leak, which it claimed to have sealed on Friday.
According to the HSE, which released the documents to the Herald, Shell has faced more legal prosecutions for safety and environmental transgressions than any other major oil company. Only a Danish company, Maersk, has received more warnings.
Shell also had one of the worst records for offshore spills in the UK, according to HSE documents:
The most spills were from the Brent Charlie rig, which suffered seven leaks in the two years. The biggest was in April last year when an escape of four tonnes of gas triggered a production shutdown.
Shell?s poor track record prompted experts to question whether the current regulatory regime is working. The company?s performance was ?deeply worrying? in an industry which suffered ?serious and often potentially catastrophic shortcomings,? warned Professor Andrew Watterson, head of the occupational and environmental health research group at the University of Stirling.
Shell is currently working on obtaining permits through the Department of the Interior to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska. As the Arctic region?s sea ice rapidly melts due to climate change, opening up new oil and gas reserves, companies like Shell are looking to exploit those resources.
Although the Coast Guard?s Admiral has repeatedly warned that there is no infrastructure to clean up a major oil spill in the Arctic, and the Interior Department admitted that climate change is ?accelerating? changes in the region in its environmental impact statement, Shell has received conditional approval to drill four exploration wells in the Beufort Sea next year.
But the Interior Department?s environmental review is based on the assumption ? put together by Shell itself ? that the company could recover up to 90% of oil spilled in the Arctic. Shell?s worst-case scenario was a leak of 480,000 barrels of oil over a 30-day period, forecasting that it would be able to recover between 236,700 barrels and 407,124 barrels
That is an extraordinarily optimistic scenario. Only eight percent of oil from the Exxon Valdez spill was recovered; only three percent of last year?s spill in the Gulf was recovered; and a similarly small amount was recovered after July?s Yellowstone oil spill. Yet somehow, even with Shell?s poor safety and environmental track record, that is an acceptable scenario for the government.
Shell?s claims about its clean-up capabilities are as believable as TransCanada?s claim that the Keystone XL Pipeline will be the ?safest in the U.S.” ? after spilling oil 12 times in one year.
It’s always lovely to be vindicated, particularly when that vindication comes in the form of deleted scenes of James McAvoy imagining Michael Fassbender in drag hitting the internet.
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT?s 8:45 AM round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here?s what we?re reading this morning, but let us know what you?re checking out too. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- Religious conservatives have already begun blaming the LGBT community for yesterday’s east coast earthquake, as they will probably do so next week for Hurricane Irene. We’d like to take this opportunity to apologize in hopes of saving them the trouble.
- Metro Weekly takes an in-depth look at the impact of the President’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act six months ago.
- Openly gay Virginia Senate candidate Adam Ebbin (D) won his primary yesterday, clearing the way for a likely victory in the heavily Democratic 30th district.
- U.S. District Chief Judge James Ware has suggested he might record the August 29 hearing in the Prop 8 case.
- Never underestimate the National Organization for Marriage’s ability to depict a fight for more rights as a fight to curb rights.
- The Minnesota Independence Party has come out in opposition to the 2012 ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage in the state’s constitution.
- The Florida teacher who told the world through Facebook that same-sex marriages are a “cesspool” that made him “almost throw up” is not sorry in the least for “exercising his rights.”
- But Billy Clemons, city manager of Lorena, TX, has “apologized” for various homophobic and and racist remarks he made in “private” (on Facebook).
- A bar in Cork, Ireland has sincerely apologized to a gay couple who were thrown out by bouncers for kissing.
- Mission America’s Linda Harvey presents homophobic rhetoric at its best, suggesting ending the gay identity entirely is the key to fighting HIV.
- Dr. Charlie Glickman points out that the study “proving” bisexuality is not wrong, but fundamentally flawed for the pedantic way it attempts to “measure” sexuality through pornographic arrousal.
- Coming soon from HBO: “The Strange History of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
- CNN anchor Don Lemon comments on the strange dilemma of being a “confirmed bachelor” so long as he and his boyfriend never marry.
- Do you believe Rick Santorum has gay friends who respect them? We’d love to meet them:
Welcome to ThinkProgress Economy?s morning link roundup. This is what we?re reading. Have you seen any interesting news? Let us know in the comments section. You can also follow ThinkProgress Economy on Twitter.
Cross posted from The Stars Hollow GazetteFind the past "On This Day in History" here.August 24 is the 236th day of the year (237th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 129 days remaining until the end of the year. On this day in 79 A.D.,[...]
Read The Full Article:
Fellow blogger over at FutureMajority.com has just released an expose on what has been said to be one of the fastest rising political youth organizations in the country. As it turns out - the group is a front group for ultra-conservative economic policy, spinning fake or cherry picked polling data, and running one of the largest AstroTurf 2.0 operations ever seen!
While the GOP has made gains with young white males (though just how much is in question do to an oversampling of the south in the cited report) since the period those surveys were done, overall the ethnically diverse Millennials have not drastically changed, with the majority of disappointment in Washington coming from the left...
"Generation Opportunity bases their legitimacy on the number of followers on their Facebook page, "Being American." At the time of writing, the page has just under 940,000 fans, which would be very impressive for an organization that was publicly announced less than 3 months ago. According to their announcement press release, their fan page already had over 600,000 fans before they even publicly announced their existence. That is a little bit too impressive. . . .Then again, Generation Opportunity doesn't have any fans, "Being American" does. Apparently, "Being American" is a Generation Opportunity project. Let me translate: someone gave Generation Opportunity the existing page for "Being American" and the organization branded it as their own. Anyone who has ever liked "Being American" on Facebook because they like being American is unwillingly being counted as a supporter of this organization, and Generation Opportunity is using these people as 'evidence' that they are legitimate and "one of the largest and fastest growing organizations targeting young Americans." This is astroturfing 2.0. . . . "
"Generation Opportunity is a conservative astroturf front group being used to push a pro-conservative youth narrative using the false legitimacy of their acquired Facebook page. There are no Millennials involved. There is nobody involved in the organization that is not a conservative activist. None of their polling data has included crosstabs or demographics.. . ."
"Paul T. Conway, Kellyanne Conway, and Matthew Faraci are not bad people. Kellyanne Conway in particular has been a long-time advocate of youth outreach on the right and has spoken openly about improving voter access. If conservatives want to start another youth outreach or advocacy group, more power to them. I welcome the addition of organizations that seek to engage young voters regardless of their place on the political spectrum. However, I do not support the idea of a falsely non-partisan organization disingenuously using the followers of another Facebook page as legitimacy to push a conservative narrative so it looks unbiased."
For months I've reported on a recent trend I've seen emerging among conservatives. Suddenly the right is taking the youth vote seriously at a time that our side continues to take them for granted. Part of my frustration stems from seeing friends organizing in the youth movement struggle to get their groups funded or even noticed by the establishment or party elites. But republicans appear to have taken notice.
Young voters had an upward trend that occurred in 2000 and has been steadily climbing ever since.
As such, Republicans understand that this is a numbers game. The key demographic for a long time was Baby Boomers just because there were so many of them. During the '70s Boomers had significant impacts - and are continuing to have. But the Millennial Generation amounts for 80 million people - who will soon be 80 million voters. In 2004 they went for Kerry, in 2008 they went for Obama, and if Democrats can hold on to them for just a few more elections they'll have solid partisan blue votes for life.
Generation Opportunity is the indicator that the GOP will stop at nothing to make sure this doesn't happen.
This photograph is featured on both
Paul's publicly-funded official House website
and his privately-funded campaign site. Freedom!
Via Dave Weigel, the Ron Paul presidential campaign announces:
The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign announced today that constitutional and international law expert Bruce Fein will join the campaign as senior advisor on legal matters.
And just what kind of "constitutional and international law" expert is Fein? That would be the same Bruce Fein who:
...drafted an article of impeachment against President Obama over his attack on Libya, throwing down a legal gauntlet that could be picked up by some Congressional Republicans.
Fein also supported impeaching George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Bill Clinton, but the thing he's known for now is trying to impeach President Obama, and it's hard to see his selection by Paul as anything more than a pretty loud dog whistle to far right activists. Paul prides himself on being a man of principle, but as you may recall, he enjoys boasting that Ronald Reagan actually endorsed his early campaigns for Congress. And yes, that would be the same Ronald Reagan who invaded Grenada without Congressional approval. Yet despite the fact that Reagan actually sent ground troops in, and Americans died, somehow you don't hear Ron Paul or his minions arguing for Reagan's impeachment, yet they do for President Obama. I wonder why.
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE?
What the Democratic-controlled House under Speaker Nancy Pelosi is responsible for:
- Health insurance reform: Initial bill had public option, before Senate stripped it out; Kids can stay on parents' insurance 'til age 26; Closes Medicare "Doughnut Hole"; Eliminates pre-existing conditions; Expands coverage to tens of millions
- Repeal of Don't Ask, Don?t Tell
- Ethics reform
- Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
- American Clean Energy and Security Act
- Extension of Childrens Health Insurance Program
- Raising the minimum wage
- Food Safety Enhancement Act
- Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act
- Small Business Jobs Act
- The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
- Injecting resources into the economy to prevent the Bush recession from sliding into a second Great Depression, saving/creating millions of jobs in the process
- Dodd-Frank financial regulation reform
- James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act
- Helping America maintain a sterling AAA credit rating
- Working long hours for long stretches doing the people's business during a very difficult time
What the Republican-controlled House under Speaker John Boehner is responsible for so far:
- Voting to repeal the "Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." (The repeal would have little, if any, effect on jobs but would add to the deficit, says the CBO.)
- Attempting to dismantle Medicare by voting to pass a budget that turns it into a coupon program
- Voting for unnecessary anti-abortion bills and...more unnecessary anti-abortion bills!
- Panicking world financial markets by holding the debt ceiling hostage; causing S&P to downgrade the U.S. credit rating by convincing them that the "party of fiscal discipline" wouldn't think twice about defaulting on our debts
- Naming some Post Offices
- Holding the FAA---and tens of thousands of jobs---hostage for the sake of weakening unions
- Refusing to consider an extension of the payroll tax cut
- A breezy, leisurely work pace with lots and lots of days off during a very difficult time
- A promise to create "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" during election season, but ignoring job creation completely once elected
So, uh, this is what it means to "take our country back," huh? Awesome.
Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]