Is your email private? You may think it is, but you may also be surprised how easy it is for law enforcement to access it without a warrant. For instance, any email you write today requires a warrant before the police can take a look at it. But 180 days from now, that same email that you just sent can be accessed without a warrant.
Archive of Articles for March, 2010
You can call it his groove, or you can call it his mojo, or (if you're less Austin Powers-minded), you can call it his political momentum. But whatever you choose to call it, Barack Obama has emerged, phoenix-like, from the ashes of the healthcare debate rancor and is now forging ahead on many fronts. This political rebirth is not guaranteed of success in any way, but it certainly is refreshing to see, I have to say.
A question which is causing no small degree of fear among Republican leaders in Washington right now is whether the Tea Parties are going to turn out to be a good thing or a bad thing for the Republican Party. Republican party wonks are torn between welcoming the enthusiasm the Tea Party folks bring into their "big tent," all the while worrying that this very vocal group is going to be dictating what is and what is not acceptable in Republicanism from this point on. Which, the seasoned politicians and party hacks know, may prove to provoke a backlash among independent voters, and lead to losing elections Republicans should have won.
No matter how you slice it, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have achieved a stunning legislative accomplishment -- one which had been pronounced dead over and over again for the past year by the punditocracy. Obama has now delivered upon one of his signature campaign issues, and (by doing so) dramatically improved his party's chances in the upcoming midterm elections.
No matter what healthcare bill passes, it is not going to remain static. It is going to be revisited again and again over the next few decades. Everyone may remember the initial passage years from now as the big historic "turning point," but there will still be a lot of work left to make it a truly historic change. That's the way of lawmaking. Rather than bitterly denouncing whatever emerges from Congress as being far short of what you expected, see it instead as merely the beginning of the long road towards making the system work the way you want it to. See it as a call to action, and not a defeat, if you really want to make it better. And don't get discouraged, because these things always take more time to get right than anyone expects.
The Republican Party has, up until recently, tried to distance itself from the "Party of No" label which Democrats are fond of using against them. "It's all the Democrats' fault that we can't bask in the sunshine of bipartisanship," they used to say. But since Barack Obama's signature health reform legislation passed, the Republicans seem to actually be embracing the "Party of No" concept.
Examining the politics of the recently-passed healthcare reform legislation is tough, at this point, because the game is in the immediate process of changing. President Obama's team likes the term "game-changer," and it is rare indeed to be able to identify such game-changing while it is still in process. Usually these things are only apparent after the fact, when viewed in retrospect. But, for better or worse, passing healthcare reform has indeed changed the political game for this year's midterm elections.
A post-mortem, in the medical sense, is when you carve up a body to figure out why it died. But the term has migrated into the patois of American business, where (in corporate terms) a post-mortem is a meeting held after the completion of a project, where you review the course of the project from beginning to end. You look at what went right, and what went wrong, and then you try to improve the procedure for future projects, in an effort to avoid making the same mistakes over again. Now that fight for health reform legislation (in one form or another) is just about over, I feel it's time to take a look back, and identify some areas for improvement for the future Democratic legislation.
One year ago I wrote about my experience becoming an American citizen. Yesterday, I celebrated my first anniversary as an American. When I became a citizen, I felt that I now "belonged." I felt that I had made a commitment to this country. I felt that I had a responsibility to be a participant in the political process and an active member of my community.
If nothing else comes of it, you've got to admit that the health reform movement has given a lot of people a very detailed education about the sausage-making process in Washington. Remember when the word "reconciliation" was universally understood to mean "getting back together" instead of "open partisan warfare," for instance? The tortuous process health reform has wound in its progress from where we were a year ago to where we stand today at least provided many "teachable moments" on how things actually happen in Washington. And -- as the term "sausage making" implies -- some of it ain't pretty.