01/27/2013 archive

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert

The Word – Win, Lose, or Redraw

Since the losing party never gets to pick the president, Republican legislators propose allocating electoral college votes by congressional district.

On This Day In History January 27

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 27 is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 338 days remaining until the end of the year (339 in leap years)

On this day in 1888, the National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C., for “the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”

The 33 men who originally met and formed the National Geographic Society were a diverse group of geographers, explorers, teachers, lawyers, cartographers, military officers and financiers. All shared an interest in scientific and geographical knowledge, as well as an opinion that in a time of discovery, invention, change and mass communication, Americans were becoming more curious about the world around them. With this in mind, the men drafted a constitution and elected as the Society’s president a lawyer and philanthropist named Gardiner Greene Hubbard. Neither a scientist nor a geographer, Hubbard represented the Society’s desire to reach out to the layman.


The National Geographic Society began as a club for an elite group of academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel. On January 13, 1888, 33 explorers and scientists gathered at the Cosmos Club, a private club then located on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., to organize “a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.” After preparing a constitution and a plan of organization, the National Geographic Society was incorporated two weeks later on January 27. Gardiner Greene Hubbard became its first president and his son-in-law, Alexander Graham Bell, eventually succeeded him in 1897 following his death. In 1899 Bell’s son-in-law Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor was named the first full-time editor of National Geographic Magazine and served the organization for fifty-five years (1954), and members of the Grosvenor family have played important roles in the organization since.

Bell and his son-in-law, Grosvenor, devised the successful marketing notion of Society membership and the first major use of photographs to tell stories in magazines. The current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of National Geographic is Gilbert Melville Grosvenor, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 for the Society’s leadership for Geography education. In 2004, the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C. was one of the first buildings to receive a “Green” certification from Global Green USA The National Geographic received the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Communications and Humanity in October 2006 in Oviedo, Spain.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Chris Hayes: Joining Chris Sunday will be: Ambassador Swanee Hunt, the former ambassador to Austria from 1993 to 1997, now the Elizabeth Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; Robin Wright (@wrightr), joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center; Horace Campbell, professor of African politics, African-American studies and political science at Syracuse University; Joshua Trevino (@jstrevino), vice president of external public relations at the Texas Public Policy Foundation; Vince Warren (@VinceWarren), executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies; and Adam Serwer (@AdamSerwer), reporter and blogger for Mother Jones.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Sunday’s guests on “This Week” are Foreign Relations Committee members Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

“Zero Dark Thirty” screenwriter and producer Mark Boal and Atlantic national correspondent Mark Bowden, best-selling author of “Blackhawk Down,” discuss the controversy over the Oscar-nominated film’s depiction of so-called enhanced interrogation in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

The  roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with ABC News’ George Will; Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ); Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile; NPR “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep; and New Republic owner and publisher Chris Hughes, who interviewed President Obama for an Oval Office exclusive hitting newsstands next week.  

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly; former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) who will discuss gun control.

A panel looks at the big news this week: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s announcement lifting the ban on women in combat, the three-month debt ceiling deal which passed the House Wednesday, gun control and more with former Romney Campaign Senior Adviser Kevin Madden, Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter, The New York TimesDavid Sanger and The Washington Post‘s David Ignatius.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent; Kelly O’Donnell, NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent; Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post Columnist; and Chris Frates, National Journal Congressional Correspondent.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Former Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) sits down exclusively with David Gregory for his first live interview since the election.

The roundtable guests are incoming President of the Heritage Foundation, former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC); President and CEO of the NAACP Ben Jealous; Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward; NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell; and NBC News Special Correspondent Ted Koppel.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are retired Gens. Stanley McChrystal and Michael Hayden; Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA);  Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA), Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Saratoga Springs, Utah Mayor Mia Love (R) and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Mali conflict: AU set to discuss troop deployments

 The BBC 27 January 2013 Last updated at 06:56 GMT

African Union leaders are meeting to discuss the conflict in Mali, as members move to deploy troops to help the French-led operation there.

African states have pledged 7,700 troops to support French and Malian forces in their campaign against Islamist militants in northern Mali.

Only a small part of the African force has so far deployed.

French-led troops have retaken several towns since France intervened two weeks ago, and on Saturday captured Gao.

The French defence ministry said troops gained control of the city – northern Mali’s most populous – after securing the airport and a strategic bridge to the south.

Sunday’s Headlines:

On Japan’s school lunch menu: A healthy meal, made from scratch

‘Human safaris’ to end for Andaman trib

Are we seeing the last flight of the condor?

Iraqi troops killed, kidnapped in apparent revenge attack

Riots over Egyptian death sentences kill at least 32

The Legacy of Aaron Swartz

The White House announced a National Day of Civic Hacking, June 1 – 2, 2013, as the internet continues to mourn the hacker and activist, Aaron Swartz, who died of suicide at age 26. Aaron’s partner Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director and founder of SumofUs.org joins host Chris Hayes; Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Susan Crawford, professor for the Center on Intellectual Property & Information Law Program at Carodozo School of Law; and Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic on the Up with Chris panel to discuss the legacy of Aaron Swartz.

What We Now Know

Up host Chris Hayes  discusses what we have learned this week about congressional gridlock, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) “gentleman’s agreement” handshake with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the dwindling hope for considerable change to the filibuster. He is joined by Mike Pesca (@pescami), sports correspondent for National Public Radio; Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman (@Sum_Of_Us), executive director and founder of SumofUs.org and partner of Internet activist Aaron Swartz; Susan Crawford (@scrawford), author and  professor for the Center on Intellectual Property & Information Law Program at Carodozo School of Law; and Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisi), senior editor for The Atlantic.

Real Filibuster Reform Will Not Be Coming to the Senate

What Killed Filibuster Reform?

Scott Lemieux, The American Prospect

Senators have a disincentive for getting rid of the anti-majoritarian rule: It gives them more power.

The failure to reform the filibuster is a very bad thing. The question is why so many Democratic senators-including some blue-state representatives like Vermont’s Patrick Leahy and California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer-showed so little inclination to act in the interests of progressive values.

One issue is that some senators may not accurately perceive the damage that the filibuster does to Democratic interests. [..]

The larger problem, however, is that even for senators who understand the history of the filibuster and its inherently reactionary effects, the filibuster represents a disjuncture between the interests of progressives as a whole and the individual interests of Democratic senators. Collectively, the filibuster makes it harder to advance policy goals. But on an individual level, the filibuster and the Senate’s other arcane minority-empowering procedures give senators far more power than ordinary members of a typical Democratic legislature (including the House of Representatives). This helps to explain why even relatively liberal senior members tend to be more reluctant to abandon the filibuster than newer Democratic senators; once you get used to power, it’s hard to give it up.