Archive of Articles for April, 2010

A Big VAT Lie

[ Posted Monday, April 19th, 2010 – 16:56 UTC ]

I speak of the "value-added tax," or "VAT." Republicans are horrified that President Obama has a secret plan to pass this tax, and are shouting from the rooftops (of the nearest Fox News building) how strongly they're going to oppose it. The facts that Obama himself has come out against the idea, and it seems to have virtually no support in Congress, have not gotten in the way of Republicans doing so, either.

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Friday Talking Points [119] -- Democrats, Sell Yourselves!

[ Posted Friday, April 16th, 2010 – 16:43 UTC ]

There was an amusing story in the news recently about some folks who got word that a beer company had sent hundreds of cases of beer to the local dump, because it was past its expiration date. Finding this a shame, these enterprising folks "liberated" themselves 50 cases of free beer, presumably to drink it forthwith. The most amusing part was the closing quote in the article, from the beer company's president: "Beer is a popular product."

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Tax Day Secret -- Democrats Lowered Your Taxes!

[ Posted Thursday, April 15th, 2010 – 23:41 UTC ]

My wife and I got an eight hundred dollar tax break this year. In fact, almost everybody got this break -- four hundred bucks per person. Apparently, it was passed as part of the stimulus package last year. I do remember, at the time, hearing something about how Obama's stimulus changed people's take-home pay by readjusting the federal withholding figures, but I had no idea it would turn into eight hundred bucks back on my tax form.

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Tea Partying's First Anniversary

[ Posted Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 – 16:59 UTC ]

What I just wrote could describe tomorrow's "first anniversary" Tea Party rallies. Or it could describe a late-1960s anti-war rally. About the only thing these two historical eras have in common is the age of the driving force behind the protests. In other words, don't look now, but the Baby Boomers are back in the streets.

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From The Archives -- Tea And Sympathy

[ Posted Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 – 18:46 UTC ]

[Apologies for posting a repeat of an old column here, but I am busy doing my taxes, so didn't have the time to write today. This column originally ran here exactly one year ago today, and was written right before the first "tax day tea parties" took place. It's hard to believe, looking back, that this entire movement is only one year old, but they began on tax day, 2009. Since Thursday will likely see large anniversary rallies and marches by the Tea Party folks, I thought it was a good time to take a look back at the advice I gave to them last year, and the history of the Boston Tea Party as well. So, if you'll forgive me for the repeat column, while I scurry around at the last minute to get my taxes done, I promise we'll resume new columns starting tomorrow.]

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Can Harry Reid Deliver?

[ Posted Monday, April 12th, 2010 – 16:12 UTC ]

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid already had a lot of things on his plate to get done in the Senate this year, even before last week's news broke. Now he's facing two more big issues in the midst of an election year (and in the midst of a fight for his own political life in Nevada) -- a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, and an upcoming confirmation battle over a Supreme Court nomination. Given that Harry Reid's Senate is not exactly known for moving with blinding speed (to be fair, few Senates are), one has to wonder whether Harry Reid can deliver on some of these big issues before the midterm elections or not.

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Friday Talking Points [118] -- Cold War Jumps Shark

[ Posted Friday, April 9th, 2010 – 17:08 UTC ]

Yesterday, President Obama signed a strategic arms reduction treaty (the "New START") with the president of Russia. This is the first nuclear warhead treaty with Russia in 20 years. It will reduce both countries' stockpiles of nuclear warheads by one-third. And, as far as the network news in America was concerned, it was a very ho-hum story.

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In (Partial) Defense Of Michele Bachmann

[ Posted Thursday, April 8th, 2010 – 16:56 UTC ]

I've written here before in defense of Sarah Palin, and since the two just recently shared a campaign rally stage, I thought it'd be timely to write at least a partial defense of Michele Bachmann today. Because a recent comment by the Minnesota Representative has gotten a lot of ridicule from the left side of the blogosphere, but nobody bothers to point out that she's actually right in what she says about the U.S. Census Bureau and Japanese internment during World War II. This is intellectually dishonest, I feel, which is why I have to make the attempt to defend her words.

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Program Note

[ Posted Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 – 22:17 UTC ]

This site will go "dark" on Thursday, April 8, 2010, for a few hours. This is due to maintanence issues beyond our control, as our local ISP upgrades the server which hosts this site. The target hour for the site to be down is noon, Pacific Time. They hope to have the [...]

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Exceptional Democracy

[ Posted Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 – 15:52 UTC ]

Americans, in general, like to believe in the concept of "American Exceptionalism." This doctrine can be summed up as: "We're the best damn country on the planet, wouldn't the rest of you lesser countries agree?" But to me, what is telling is that whenever nascent democratic forms of government develop in other places in the world (born through the ravages of war, popular revolt, simple modernization, or any of a number of other reasons) and the people affected have the opportunity to select what form their new democracies shall take; they almost without exception (pun intended) choose some form of the British parliamentary system, rather than American-style representative democracy.

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