Wednesday briefing and open thread

Republicans pine for the glory days of Ronald Reagan — but that was a different country, a county with a lot more raw racism, a country in which only a minority of Americans found interracial marriage acceptable. And yes, that had a lot to do with GOP political strength.

And I don’t think the right has a clue how to operate in the better nation we’ve become. ~Paul Krugman

That’s from Krugman’s piece Seneca, Selma, and Stonewall, discussing the recent acceptance of interracial marriage.

In his speech, Obama invoked the history of struggles for equality with a remarkable triptych: Seneca (women’s rights), Selma (black rights), and Stonewall (gay rights). And there has been remarkably little blowback — a sign of how much the country has changed.

It seems like a nice companion bit to yesterday’s briefing, when we talked about how the “gays” had exactly the same rights as everyone else, except in the ways that they don’t.

It looks like President Obama’s inauguration has everyone’s heads popping right off.

  • Fox: Obama’s ‘Hard-Left’ Inaugural ‘Sets Up’ GOP Comeback:

    What we heard was a hard-left manifesto… It was not so much about populism as it was about pandering. And it was a very bizarre, disordered priority of what our national interests were.

  • Birther Republican Official Hangs Flag Upside Down for Obama’s Inauguration:

    A Republican official in Pennsylvania says that he doesn’t regret hanging at least three American flags upside down to protest President Barack Obama’s second inauguration because “our nation is in a horrible place.”

    WPXI’s Julie Fine took a news crew to party headquarters in McKeesport to speak to Mon Valley Republican Party Chair Brent Kovac after the station began receiving complaints that the official signal of distress was over the line on a day that most Americans put partisanship aside.

    “Sometimes people need a strong statement,” Kovac explained to Fine. “The nation is in distress, and this isn’t the first time this has been done, whether you agree with the sentiment or not.”

  • O’Reilly Attacks Obama for Promoting Social Justice in Inaugural Address

    Tonight in his Talking Points Memo, Bill O’Reilly critiqued President Obama’s inaugural address. Instead of focusing on the country’s fiscal problems, O’Reilly assessed, the president argued that America’s top priority must be social justice.

  • Meanwhile in Michigan ….


    Michigan’s three largest research universities top $2B in annual R&D spending

    Michigan’s three largest public universities surpassed $2 billion in combined annual research and development spending, and together have created 600,000 alumni earning nearly one-sixth of all wage and salary income in the state, a new economic impact report finds.

    The Anderson report also estimates for every dollar the state invested in the three URC universities, it saw $17 in economic benefits. The three schools also have cultivated 149 start-up companies, including 18 in 2010-11, to rank behind only southern California and Massachusetts in the pool of competing university research clusters.

    That would be University of Michigan (Hail!), Michigan State University, and Wayne State University. Meanwhile the Mackinac Center says there is no link between higher education appropriations and growth, because of 1980 and 2002 and Ohio. And Illinois.

    There’s a petition drive underway to repeal the Michigan wolf-hunting law, originally discussed here and here.

    “The idea of seeing these animals caught in steel-jawed traps, languishing and suffering for hours and sometimes days, killed just for a trophy or a pelt, not for consumption, not for any compelling management reason — (it) really appalls me,” Pacelle said at a news conference at the Capitol.

    “We can’t see any scientific reason, any rational reason, or any tribal or cultural reason to hunt the wolf,” said Aaron Payment, chairman of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, one of the key sponsors behind the petition drive.

    Ruth Johnson is still fighting against issuing driver licenses to undocumented immigrants who were approved for the federal work program. In yet another display of extreme right-wing nutbaggery, Johnson has joined Arizona and Nebraska in just saying “NO!” to non-whites young people young undocumented immigrants. The feds have clarified that the approved immigrants have a “legal presence” in this country, so we’ll see how it goes from here.

    Off topic: Russian peasants getting electricity for the first time in 1920

    Census Daily Wednesday, January 23rd Many sumptuous foods get their day, or month, in the sun by way of some commemoration. But January celebrates a very basic, traditional dish. This is Oatmeal Month, recognizing the long-term favorite for its up-to-date health characteristics — low fat, no sodium, and the ability to help lower the risk of heart disease. Oatmeal also fits today’s time pressures, since a bowl can be made in seconds in the microwave. And, of course, oatmeal cookies are among the nation’s favorites. Oatmeal and other cereal uses of oats are a substantial part of America’s breakfast food production, with annual sales of $10 billion and employing about 12,000 people.


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