Archive of Articles for July, 2009

Friday Talking Points [86] -- Obama Warms Up In The Bullpen

[ Posted Friday, July 17th, 2009 – 18:21 UTC ]

The only real question in the hearings is how large a foot Republicans were going to insert into their collective mouth. The answer: medium-sized. Republicans on the Senate committee had a tightrope to walk this week, and the only drama was whether they would fall into the net of public yawns, or plummet to being the "Permanent Minority Party -- And Definitely Not THAT Kind Of Minority, Thank You Very Much." Republicans, you see, live in a world called "the 1950s." They must have all brightened up considerably when Sotomayor herself brought up Perry Mason (which caused the historic First Official Senatorial Joke to be uttered by Al Franken, it should be noted for posterity's sake). The geezers must have thought, "Perry Mason! Finally.... finally... a cultural reference I understand!!"

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Program Note

[ Posted Thursday, July 16th, 2009 – 22:19 UTC ]

Apologies for the lack of a column today.
Our power went out and stayed out for hours, meaning I could not read the news of the day, or write about it, until a short time ago.
Columns will return (the electric company willing) tomorrow. We sincerely apologize for the disruption in service.

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The JusticeBot 9000

[ Posted Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 – 17:27 UTC ]

"But that's just the problem!" interjects Dr. Frank, in frustration. "Following the law sounds easy, but the law has changed over the years. The things the Constitution did not address come before judges all the time. Life has changed since 1787! And the law has changed as well."

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Parade Season Reflections

[ Posted Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 – 16:23 UTC ]

Americans see ourselves as always doing good, and we tend to sweep anything which doesn't support this notion into our collective Memory Hole. Some people in the world, however, have longer memories than that. A lot longer. To some, celebrating James II's defeat by William of Orange on the banks of the Boyne River is a modern holiday, because their grudges go back even further. We'd all do well to remember this.

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Obama's "Drip, Drip, Drip..." Intelligence Problem

[ Posted Monday, July 13th, 2009 – 16:23 UTC ]

President Obama has always said he wants to look forward, not backward. This, when it comes to the actions of the previous administration, means Obama is content to just identify any problems with George Bush's (and Dick Cheney's) methods on security and intelligence matters, rectify any abuses and correct any mistakes, promise we'll never do it again, and move on. Obama has never advocated -- and, indeed, done what he could to discourage -- any sort of investigation into Bush's actions in response to 9/11 (some of which continued throughout Bush's two terms). Obama's opposition to such investigations has been steadfast and unwavering. He has even (now that he leads the executive branch himself) strongly argued in the courts against any examination of how executive branch power was used under Bush.

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Friday Talking Points [85] -- Roll Up! See The Show!

[ Posted Friday, July 10th, 2009 – 17:26 UTC ]

OK, this column is rapidly getting out of my control, so I have to move on to the more important things before it totally loses all touch with sanity. In other words, we hereby return you to our cradle-to-grave Michael Jackson coverage, now entering its 294th hour...

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Obama Should Threaten To Cancel Congress' Five-Week Vacation

[ Posted Thursday, July 9th, 2009 – 16:54 UTC ]

President Obama always knew he'd face an uphill battle to get healthcare reform legislation through Congress this year. He gave them a pretty generous timeline to do so, and we are fast approaching one of the dates on that timeline -- each house of Congress is supposed to pass their version of a healthcare reform bill by the time Congress breaks for the summer for five weeks. Achieving this milestone on Obama's timeline is now officially in doubt. So Obama should push back a little, and unveil the threat of using Article II, Section 3, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, which states that the president "may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them." In other words: call a "special session" of Congress. In even plainer language: cancel their month-long-plus vacation.

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Obama And Bright Lines In The Sand

[ Posted Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 – 17:03 UTC ]

Is President Obama just a politician, or is he a leader? That is the core question he faces in the debate over healthcare reform, and -- so far -- he seems to be more concerned with being a successful politician than being a successful leader. Because Obama appears to have one major goal in this entire undertaking -- in his words, "a bright line in the sand" -- which he will not back down from. That goal appears to be to sign a piece of legislation this year. What the legislation actually contains is of lesser importance than being able to say: "I got healthcare reform passed."

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Is David Letterman The New Washington Post?

[ Posted Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 – 17:07 UTC ]

Three decades ago, the newspaper The Washington Post took down a sitting president. Now, it has been reduced to a shadow of its former self. Recently offering to sell access to its reporters and administration bigwigs for the low, low price of $25,000 per "salon" certainly didn't help improve the paper's image. But, little noticed among the mainstream media (but much more so among the zeitgeist), David Letterman has now played a major role not only in determining last year's election, but also in hounding Sarah Palin out of office (at least, according to Palin's close friends). This, if true, is a notable achievement for a late-night comedian... but nobody seems to be noticing.

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Sarah Palin, Preparing To Run

[ Posted Monday, July 6th, 2009 – 16:55 UTC ]

While it is so easy to slip into double meanings when talking about Sarah Palin (for example, I considered "Waiting For The Other Naughty Monkey Double Dare Red Shoe To Drop" as a title today... ahem), the title I did choose starts out as a literal one. Because I finally got around to reading Palin's most recent interview, in Runner's World magazine. And the article is accompanied by seven photos, not (as one may have expected) of Sarah Palin actually running, but instead of Sarah preparing to run. We'll get into double meanings later, but first, let's examine these preparing-to-run photos.

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