A movement older than the Tea Party, the nebulous coalition of conservative wonks now commonly referred to as reform conservatives has gained an increased public profile of late as the smart set with ideas for the Republican Party and an active response to the reactive Tea Party and passive party establishment. Not to be confused with the homonymous Austrian political party, reform conservatives, in as much as they are a unified whole, believe the current GOP electoral slide cannot be arrested without positive reform. As Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry summated in Forbes, “in order to win sustainably, Republicans must put forward policies that are credible, conservative and directly address the day-to-day concerns of lower-middle Americans.”
The Spectacle Blog
Feature of the Day: Google, Facebook, Netflix Make Their Official Case for Net Neutrality
I did not watch the World Cup Finale between Germany and Argentina other than to catch a few glimpses of it in front of various watering holes along Mass Avenue in Cambridge while I was listening to the Red Sox-Astros game (I think I might have been the only person in Boston tuned into baseball today). I had to navigate around crowds which had swelled outside these establishments.
As I was crossing the Mass Ave Bridge back into Boston, I found out that Germany scored in the 113th minute of the match winning 1-0.
It is Germany's fourth World Cup title (the other three were won as West Germany) joining Italy with the second most triumphs. Only Brazil has won more World Cup tournaments with five. It was the third time the Germans and Argentinians hooked up in the World Cup Final with Germany now having won two of the three contests.
No doubt there is a great deal of crying in Argentina as this must its most disappointing day since they lost The Falklands War to the British.
A shocking lack of self-awareness has befallen the Obama administration over the past several weeks, specifically when it comes to its own handling of the Veterans Affairs scandal. It began back in early May, when, after calls increased for VA secretary Eric Shinseki to be canned, the president “regrettably,” and after a lot of prodding from members of Congress on both sides, accepted the resignation, despite a clear need for a change of leadership.
After the resignation things only got worse for the VA, with shocking reports of widespread backlash against whistleblowers at VA hospitals. Almost one in four whistleblowers reported being punished in one way or another, from having their hours docked to being moved to another position.
It certainly looks that way. The other night I was reading my galley copy of Adam Kirsch's forthcoming essay collection, Rocket and Lightship. It's full of good stuff, but the best piece in it is about the Slovenian Marxist gadfly Slavoj Zizek. Zizek is a strange character: a social democratic dissident turned unapolegtic Leninist; a pop-culture loving obscurantist; a millionaire philosopher. He is also, Kirsch intimates, without quite saying as much, an anti-Semite.
Have you ever gone on a couple dates with someone, but then decided it just wasn’t going work out? It’s a tough spot to be in, especially when you know they are totally into you and you have to be the one to call it off.
Chattanooga was in that position in February of this year with the United Auto Workers (UAW). Ever since Volkswagen opened its American manufacturing headquarters in Chattanooga in 2011, the UAW has been the city’s heavy-breathing suitor. Give them this: the union has been very persistent. Caving to their determination, Volkswagen finally agreed to go on a few dates.
It never was a fairytale affair by any stretch. Rather, the UAW begged for affection on the grounds that the relationship was a rational fit. More sales than romance, really.
After evidence surfaced on Wednesday showing that Lois Lerner had sent suspicious emails inquiring as to the way electronic records were handled by the IRS, the fervor reached a climatic peak in some conservative circles. Congress, mostly on party lines, 231-187, with six Democrats joining Republicans, voted back in May to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. With this new information, Congressman Steve Stockman has introduced a resolution to arrest Lerner.
Announced in a press release, Stockman said:
After four years in Miami where he played in four straight NBA Finals (with two NBA Titles), LeBron James is returning home to Cleveland to play with the Cavaliers.
James told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:
When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.
The NBA's premier player, however, is well aware there are big odds against the Cavaliers:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on her seventh trip to China when she was informed that a double agent had been seized in Munich. The spy, who was an employee of the German foreign intelligence agency the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), was detained last Wednesday after attempting to sell services to Russia. But the real revelation came when, interrogating him, Germany’s counterintelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BFV), discovered that the turncoat had conducted espionage operations for the CIA over the past two years. He has earned approximately $34,000. His most recent assignment: passing along to his handlers any information he could find on the German investigation of the NSA’s surveillance of Merkel.
Feature of the Day: Documents Show Rebel Justice in Ukraine Was Bureaucratic, Swift, and Merciless