About brobrubel

Retired journalist. I've reported and edited for newspaper in Florida, Kentucky, New York, Brussels and London. I also spent a few years as a government flack in Pennsylvania. This blog contains random thoughts on politics, world affairs and entertainment

I’ve got to get to Stockholm

Just to ride the subway:

I’ve been on Metros in New York, Washington, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Montreal, London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, Hong Kong and places I don’t even remember, and I’ve never seen anything as cool as this.

I’m ready to book a flight.

The GOP rebranding strategy for 2016

It’s 2014, which means we’re gearing up for the 2016 presidential election. (Yeah, we have the midterm congressional elections coming up, but now is when the messaging for 2016 actually begins.

So which Republicans are among the likely presidential contenders, and what are they doing?

From the Washington Post:

Since giving up on cowboy boots (the arched heels agitated his back) and wearing hipster glasses, [Rick] Perry has a look more bookish than buckaroo — and more in keeping with his attempt at intellectual reinvention.

What was it that Rick Perry did that made him look dumb, anyway?

Yeah, glasses. That’ll fix everything. Because we all know that people who wear glasses are smart. Here’s what the site Eye Candy Optical says:

Scientific research has shown that we do perceive people who wear glasses as more intelligent when compared to those who do not wear glasses (As an aside, we also view people who wear glasses as more competent, and more industrious according to a recent article in Psychology News and Reviews).  Count me in!

Although perception is not a reality, you may give yourself a leg up just by putting on a proper pair of specs.  Let’s face it….it couldn’t hurt! In today’s competitive world anything that gives us a little extra boost (real or perceived) is worth a try.

Rick PerryNow there’s a smart looking man!

And since looking intelligent is part of the strategy for potential Republican presidential candidates, what other ways will they present themselves to the American voter?

Again from the Washington Post:

The last time Republicans began running for president, there was a race to be the most confrontational, the most unbending. Mitt Romney said he was “severely conservative” and got caught mocking the “47 percent.” Rick Perry called the Federal Reserve “treasonous.” Rick Santorum said he was “for income inequality.”

What a difference a disastrous election, two years and terrible polling make. If 2012 was a contest to be the toughest, the 2016 presidential Republican primary is likely to include a competition to appear the most compassionate.

The rebranding effort is taking center stage this week with pleas for more compassion from four potential GOP presidential candidates: Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.), House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. The Republicans are working to redefine the GOP as kinder, more connected to the daily economic anxieties of poor Americans — and better able to win national elections.

Remember the last compassionate conservative?

But how do you look compassionate?

image11406142490That’s Paul Ryan on the right at a heroin clinic, looking compassionate. The GOP message had been, “You use heroin, you go to jail.” Now, let’s pull a gem from the past, quoting George Bush (the smarter): “Message: I care.”

We are not dealing in substance anymore. This is all about illusion. Nobody is going to read these guys speeches or cross reference their statements in newspaper articles. This is the first step in the Fox News election strategy.

We know what the message will be, and how they’re going to present it. So what can we do?

WNBA All-Star Game: What? They had it already?

I’m not sure what happened, but I completely missed the WNBA All-Star Game this year, and I was really looking forward to it because Shoni Schimmel, the former Louisville Cardinals superstar, was voted in as a starting guard representing the Atlanta Dream.

And now that I realize what happened, I’m really upset I missed seeing this:

I was at Shoni’s last game as a Louisville Cardinal, when she almost pulled out a win against Maryland in the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight. Had certain juniors on the team at least made their average (Sarah, Bria, Jude:  I’m looking at you), the Cards would have gone to the Final Four.

The worst part is, I can’t even find a rerun of the All-Star game, because Watch  ESPN doesn’t have it on its repeat rotation.

Beliefs (via XKCD)

beliefs

Just when you think it can’t get worse:

[Rep. Michele Bachmann] and 2012 Republican presidential candidate told RealClearPolitics on Tuesday that she is considering a second White House run.

Bachmann made the revelation during an interview, in which she was asked for her view on whether any Republican women might seek the Oval Office in 2016.

“The only thing that the media has speculated on is that it’s going to be various men that are running,” she replied. “They haven’t speculated, for instance, that I’m going to run. What if I decide to run? And there’s a chance I could run.”

It’s worse.

Flying fish

In order to stock remote lakes in the Rocky Mountains, wildlife officials get in a plane, fly over the waterways and drop baby trout from the air.

Which, honestly, has to suck for baby trout. It just seems wrong to put water dependent creatures in the air. I’ve heard of flying fish, but trout don’t sound like sky pilots to me.

And even if they did have wings, playing paratrooper with them could go horribly wrong. Remember this?