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NY Times:
United States and Russia Agree on Framework for Securing Syria’s Chemical Weapons, Kerry Says
The press seems a little bemused that they have to take Kerry seriously now, after their treatment of him in 2004.

Timothy Egan:

The net result, accidental or not, is that Syria is no longer just an American problem. They say they will give up the poison gas that, wink, wink, was never used. The principle, as Obama said, “that with modest effort and risk we stop children from being gassed to death,” is there on the table for a world that preferred to look the other way. And, added bonus: the neocon warriors are gone, homeless in both parties. All of this is a hugely positive leap from where we were a week, a month, or a year ago.

But outcomes don’t really matter to those obsessed by who won and who lost, those who see all politics as up-and-down nonsense instead of a clash of ideas with real consequences. So this past week has to be cast in the tired terms of the daily struggle for sound-bite supremacy. It’s a debacle. A blunder. A humiliation. “This rudderless diplomacy,” said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican Party, “has embarrassed America on the world stage.”

You want embarrassment? Just consider some of the public statements of Republicans in the last two weeks.

I talked about the death of neocon ideology this week on the Kagro in the Morning show. I'm apparently not the only one to notice.

Monte Frank on another international embarrassment:

Just two weeks ago, a gunman entered a school in Georgia with an AK-47 and began shooting. An Australian baseball player was senselessly murdered in Oklahoma City. Elementary schools in Colorado hold drills where five-year-old kids hunker down behind tables while an "active shooter" knocks at the door. Just this week, Colorado voters ejected in recall elections two state senators who had sponsored new gun control laws in the wake of the Aurora cinema mass shooting. And the grim parade of gun violence in our cities marches on.

This madness must end – and it will when Congress stops ignoring the will of the American people and makes our nation and the entire world safer by passing common-sense and constitutional gun safety measures. The vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, agree on what needs to be done to cure our gun violence epidemic, which will not only save lives, but spare America from embarrassment in the world.

More politics and policy below the fold. (see graphic at top):

This is why intelligence and knowledge is disparaged in the country that reached the Moon. These days, intellectuals are mocked as “faggy” and unmanly as if brute strength somehow contributed to the technical prowess, economic agility and innovation that made America a superpower.

This is why our politics are a disaster. When you raise a generation to believe that throwing a ball is more important than fulfilling their civic duty to make informed decisions, you allow charlatans to sell their lies to the public unchallenged.

Peter Beinert:
Bill de Blasio’s win in New York’s Democratic primary isn’t a local story. It’s part of a vast shift that could upend three decades of American political thinking.
One of the more talked about articles this week, and worth a read.

NY Times:

In an effort to balance its budget, NPR said on Friday that it would try to reduce its staff about 10 percent through voluntary buyouts.

The announcement was depicted as one of the most substantial staff cutbacks in the history of the public radio organization. NPR would not comment on whether it would resort to layoffs if it did not achieve the desired reductions through buyouts.

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