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03 Jan 2012 15:10


U.S.: NASA scientist denounces 2012 apocalypse theories

  • Nibiru is ridiculous because it doesn’t exist — it never existed as anything but a figment of the imagination by pseudo-scientists who don’t seem bothered by a complete lack of evidence.
  • Dan Yeomans, director of NASA’s Near-Earth Object program • Dismissing some of the 2012 apocalyptic theorizing that’s become something of a cultural meme leading up to this year. The fear that Earth will be struck by a planetary body known as Nibiru (also sometimes called “Planet X”) represents one such theory, distinct from  similarly stoked fears about whether the Mayan calendar can somehow forecast the end of the world. source

31 Oct 2011 15:25


Politics: Rick Perry, easing off his anti-drug stances?

  • A very, very energetic Rick Perry: In this case, “energetic” is a euphemism for “dangerously over-caffeinated, perhaps to the point of requiring medical attention.” We’re not quite sure what to make of this bizarre speech Perry gave to New Hampshire Republicans a couple of days ago. He’s not just unusually expressive; he looks like he’s about to burst (fast-forward to 2:30 or so if you’re feeling impatient). His frantic performance might make slightly more sense if he were speaking to an ultra-conservative crowd in South Carolina or something, but was a room full of New Hampshire moderates. Color us baffled, but at least he didn’t come off as over-prepared. source

27 Sep 2011 00:54


Politics: When it comes to fundraising, Obama’s still got the magic touch

  • $5 million in donations in two days; he’s makin’ it look kinda easy source
  • » So far, so good for Obama: With a successful West Coast swing (helped in large part by an up-to-$35,800-a-plate dinner in San Diego), President Obama is well on his way to reaching his goal of $55 million in the third quarter of 2011, which Reuters claims is “a more modest total that they say reflects the fact he was stuck in Washington for most of July by a bitter budget debate with Republicans.” Sure, modest total.

05 Sep 2011 23:02


Politics: Michele Bachmann’s top advisers step down, take smaller roles

  • Legitimately, it’s a Romney-Perry race.
  • Ed Rollins, the now-former campaign manager for Michele Bachmann • Discussing why he and deputy manager David Polyansky both stepped down from their positions this week. When asked if they left because of strategic differences, he said that there is “no strategic differences in the sense of what we should be doing or saying — it’s just a question of how you use your time, how you use your resources.” source

30 Aug 2011 22:06


Politics: Forecasting model with perfect record predicts Obama reelection

  • In 1981, a professor at American University developed a forecasting model for presidential elections. Based on thirteen different metrics, or “keys,” the model has never been wrong. In 1992, it spotted George H.W. Bush’s vulnerability when everybody assumed he was invincible; that prediction was instrumental in convincing Bill Clinton to enter the race. Which is to say, were it not for Allan Lichtman and his “Thirteen Keys,” we may have never had a President Clinton. Now, Lichtman has applied his model to 2012. Here’s how Obama stacks up:
  • Reelection Working in the president’s favor are his significant domestic policy accomplishments, a lack of scandals, a weak Republican field, generally successful foreign policy, no significant third party candidates, no primary challenger and a lack of sustained social unrest.
  • Defeat So why might Obama have reason to worry? Well, the long-term economy, a lack of personal charisma, the results of the last House election and, if it comes to fruition, an upcoming recession could all spell trouble for his reelection campaign.
  • » Conclusion: “Even if I am being conservative, I don’t see how Obama can lose,” Lichtman says. The President wins 9 out of the 13 keys, two more than needed. Now, there’s lots of room for debate here–for example, is it really true that Obama lacks personal charisma? Lichtman’s rationale here is that the president has “lost his ability to connect since the 2008 election,” but that’s debatable. And do we know for certain that Rick Perry won’t prove to be a dazzling candidate, charming voters across the nation? Furthermore, a lot can happen between now and 2012: a surprise rebound of the economy, an unforeseen international crisis, or some other black swan event. But as it stands, this metric is some of the best reelection news Obama’s had in months. (Photo: Reuters/Jim Young). source

15 Aug 2011 21:26


Politics: Missing from last week’s Iowa debates: A feisty Buddy Roemer

  • it’s because he’s got such a rad name. Roemer, the former Louisiana governor, is one of the many Republican presidential candidates. But he wasn’t invited to last week’s debate due to low polling numbers. Too bad, because his tweets during the debate make him seem like a real hoot. While we learned that Bachmann thinks submission is “respect,” Roemer tweeted “Submission to an atheist must mean whips and chains. Good statement Congresswoman Bachmann.” Ice burn. Next time this happens, Buddy, consider having a Super Bowl-style party with Fred Karger, a candidate in the very same situation. source

08 Jul 2011 14:27


Biz, Politics: Unemployment numbers show Obama’s major hurdle in 2012

  • 9.2%unemployment rate, which jumped last month unexpectedly
  • 18,000number of jobs added, which is straight-up anemic source
  • » Why this stinks for Obama: Early on in his administration, he said it wouldn’t go higher than 8.2%. While unemployment declined for a little while, it’s been steadily going up again. The Obama administration is trying to downplay the issue, but it’s proving difficult, and could prove his major flaw in the upcoming election. It’s an easy target for GOP candidates. Instead of talking about how he’s helped turn the economy around, Obama is going to have to fight back by saying how the Republicans will make it worse, and let’s face it: That doesn’t sound like such a great defense.

06 Jul 2011 09:43


Politics: Mitt Romney, fundraising machine; Newt Gingrich debt-saddled

  • $18.25 million the amount in donations that Mitt Romney received in the second quarter; the leading GOP candidate is pretty far ahead of the other guys
  • $1.2 million the amount in invoices that Newt Gingrich has; he’s paid them down by ten percent, but still has significant debt issues source
  • » Everyone else is kind of in the middle: With Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul hovering around the $4 million mark, and Herman Cain around $2.5 million, all pale in comparison to the Mittster, who is unemployed. Newt, who raised $2 million, was saddled with massive debt as a result of much of his senior campaign staff leaving; he has just $225,000 in the bank, which is extremely low. Newt, this presidential thing isn’t gonna work out.

13 Jun 2011 17:02


Politics: A bumpy ride: Romney unveils new attack ad against Obama

  • Bump in the road: Be warned, you’re going to hear those four words a lot in this new ad by the Mitt Romney campaign. The ad has stirred up some discussion, specifically because it’s making such a strident criticism of such an offhanded turn of phrase. Arguments about the content of the ad aside, though, here’s what we’ll say: This is a poorly constructed piece of political handiwork. The reason being, the ad uses the words “bump in the road” so many times that they begin to lose all impact well before the end (in which it dissolves into a full cacophony of “bumps in the road”). It’s really, really trying too hard, which is something we sometimes think about Mitt himself. source

06 Jun 2011 16:04


U.S.: Rick Santorum makes it official for 2012

  • Pick Rick? Former Republican senator Rick Santorum has officially announced his candidacy for President in 2012. We’ll admit, we were surprised when we long ago heard he might run, as we figured any candidate whose name can’t be safely Googled would be advised by strategists to sit it out. For perspective on his political stripes, here Santorum brings up gay marriage as an example of Obama devaluing our “moral currency.” The fact that he uses this rhetoric in his announcement speech is telling — that’s what he wants to be talking about, not currency standards. And in a country that seems to care less and less about who wants to fall in love and get married, this could very well be the last stand for one of America’s most strident political culture warriors. source