The GOP's 2016 science experiment

I suppose the week following the Fourth is always quiet, although you'd suspect with the continuing drama in Greece and the (underreported) turmoil with China's economy, there should be tons of great content on the web this week. Alas, of all my trolling there's only two things worth sharing, and it starts with the inimitable Mr. Putin:

Putin is weak
Vox' series of articles on what's really happening in Russia continue to impress. This week is a look at how strong Putin really is - and the answer isn't encouraging (although you wouldn't know it from the header photo!). Despite the mockery he received during the 2012 debates, there's no question that Russia continues to represent the biggest foreign policy challenge for the United States, and a Putin who's not fully in control only amplifies that danger.

The GOP's attempt to close the campaign science gap
Remember that post-mortem on the Romney campaign? Unfortunately, the GOP seems to have forgot about 95% of it related to messaging and outreach. The one thing they are serious about, though, is catching up to the Dems on the analytic and scientific end of campaigning. Among the many reasons Obama crushed Romney in 2012 was his superior command of where to get out of the vote and how to target the most "in play" areas. I'm optimistic about what this means for the 2012 Republican candidate, but fear that if the message itself doesn't evolve no amount of science will find people who want to hear what we're selling.