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(hat tip jerakami)

  • Not since Bob Herbert left the New York Times have I been so sorry to see a political writer go. David Dayen is among the best, anywhere.
  • Alex Pareene's winner as worst of the political media of 2012 is...
    I have written tens of thousands of words on what, precisely, is wrong with Politico. But I can put the case much more simply here: It’s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei.

    VandeHei is the co-founder of Politico, and Allen is the organization’s biggest star. Each morning Allen collects a bunch of links to day-old news stories and emails them to thousands of people, and for this he is paid a fortune. VandeHei is the guy who gives Politico its obnoxious, pseudo-macho ethos, with the shouty memos and nonsense about “metabolism.” Allen exemplifies the sort of political journalist who thinks his job is faithfully reporting what mendacious professional liars tell him, while also usually protecting their identities. VandeHei thinks neutrality requires occupying a space precisely between Breitbart and the Huffington Post. Neither would probably understand if you tried to explain to them that supporting whatever any CEO says or effectively endorsing Erskine Bowles for president is actually a violation of political “neutrality.”

    When you see a joint Allen-VandeHei byline, you can safely expect the worst. When fellow Politico big shots John Harris and Jonathan Martin write a piece, they report on politics. When Allen and VandeHei write, they craft narrative. If the narrative bears no little relation to reality, or is simply self-serving spin from a professional political operative, no matter: Now the narrative is “out there,” because Politico is proud of its ability to create its own buzz and then report on that buzz.

    More of Pareene's Hack List here.
  • On a happier note, The Nation offers its Progressive Honor Roll of 2012. My favorite?
    Most Valuable Senator: Jeff Merkley
  • And Fred Kaplan's list of the best jazz albums of 2012.
    1. Ravi Coltrane, Spirit Fiction (Blue Note).

    If your father was John Coltrane, it’s a nervy thing to take up the tenor sax, but that’s what Ravi Coltrane’s been doing for a living the past quarter-century and now, at 46, he’s found his own voice, even achieved a certain mastery. Spirit Fiction reveals a restless drive but also a craftsman’s precision, an art for shaping a song from the most elusive structure, as well as a full-bodied tone. The two bands he plays with are top notch, but he is clearly the leader here.

  • Nothing to see here:
    Joshua Fu, a civil and environmental engineering professor, and Yang Gao, a graduate research assistant, developed precise scales of cities which act as a climate crystal ball seeing high resolution climate changes almost 50 years into the future.

    The study found that heat waves will become more severe in most regions of the eastern United States and, that both the Northeast and Southeast will see a drastic increase in precipitation.

    The findings are published in the Nov. 6 edition of Environmental Research Letters.

  • As digby says, watch Peter DeFazio explain the chained CPI.
  • So, the Mayan apocalpyse turned out to be as disappointing as the various awaited Raptures, the micro black holes from the Large Hadron Collider, Y2K, and Nostradamus. Never fret, there will be more.
  • What really destroyed Napoleon's Grande Armée, during the 1812 invasion of Russia?
  • Fox may have put Karl Rove and Dick Morris on temporary hiatus, but that doesn't mean its suddenly gone sane.
  • John Dickerson:
    If a presidency has one tool that has not corroded, it is the power to set the agenda. To keep gun control from slipping away into the commission fog, Obama put forward a set of clear benchmarks. Usually he might say he doesn’t want to “pre-judge” a group’s work. Today he said he expected Congress to vote on at least three pieces of legislation: the assault-weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips, and background checks on all gun purchases. Public opinion supports all of these measures, and the president made clear he intends to use his office to fight for their passage.

    The National Rifle Association opposes all three of the measures. In the ongoing “fiscal cliff” negotiations, the president has leverage over Republicans, but he’s still finding it difficult to wield. The NRA is a much more effective organization than the GOP. We’re about to learn whether the Newtown massacre (along with all the others before it) has changed the dynamic for the NRA. Obama is squaring off against them in a policy struggle that traces back to the core of his presidential mission. He ran for office in 2008 promising to defeat the entrenched interests that had learned to work the system at the expense of the greater good. Now he has put himself to this task again, staring down what is perhaps the most entrenched interest.

  • In case you were wondering:
    An investigation into the origin of Rudolph the Reindeer's red nose has ended the generations-old debate by uncovering an elusive but long-hypothesized scientific explanation: A snootful of red cells.

    Detailed evaluation of adult reindeer's nasal microcirculation revealed similarities with human nasal microvasculature, but also striking differences. Reindeer nasal microcirculation exhibited a highly vascularized nasal mucosa, a red cell-rich nasal septal mucosa, and a microvessel density 25 percent greater than that of humans.

    I always thought it was a little lightbulb.
  • No surprise:
    A recent study by a researcher at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) at the Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine and professor at the Université de Montréal suggests that bullying by peers changes the structure surrounding a gene involved in regulating mood, making victims more vulnerable to mental health problems as they age.

    The study published in the journal Psychological Medicine seeks to better understand the mechanisms that explain how difficult experiences disrupt our response to stressful situations. "Many people think that our genes are immutable; however this study suggests that environment, even the social environment, can affect their functioning. This is particularly the case for victimization experiences in childhood, which change not only our stress response but also the functioning of genes involved in mood regulation," says Isabelle Ouellet-Morin, lead author of the study.

  • They won't stop:
    Conservative media outlets are claiming that a leaked draft of the UN climate panel's upcoming report undermines previous predictions of rapid warming driven by rising CO2 emissions. But scientists say these claims are "nonsense" and that the draft report only adds to the existing body of evidence that manmade climate change is a serious problem.

    A draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report, due to be published in fall 2013, was leaked by Alec Rawls, a blogger who volunteered to review the report despite having no scientific expertise. In a blog post on Watts Up With That, Rawls claimed that the draft report contains a "game-changing admission" that galactic cosmic rays have significantly contributed to global warming, undermining the scientific consensus that climate change is driven by human activity. But experts say Rawls "completely misrepresented the IPCC report," noting that he ignored a paragraph that explicitly states there is "high agreement" among scientists that cosmic rays do not have a meaningful impact on global temperatures. Dr. Steve Sherwood -- a lead author of the chapter in question -- told Australia's ABC News that Rawls' claim is "ridiculous," adding: "we conclude exactly the opposite, that this cosmic ray effect that the paragraph is discussing appears to be negligible."

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