ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles for February, 2011

Obama Should Give Second Cairo Speech

[ Posted Monday, February 28th, 2011 – 17:58 PST ]

Now, obviously, events have changed the situation on the ground dramatically since Obama gave this speech over a year and a half ago. In the last two months, two governments have fallen -- including Egypt's, where Obama gave his speech -- and many more are in danger of falling (to some degree or another). Libya is currently in the midst of what can only be termed a civil war, as a result of the wave of "people power" spreading throughout the region. Leaders even of countries that have not yet had mass demonstrations are scrambling to make political reforms happen as fast as they possibly can, in the hopes of keeping their populace happy enough that these leaders may remain in power.

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Friday Talking Points [156] -- Fighting On Several Fronts

[ Posted Friday, February 25th, 2011 – 17:20 PST ]

We've got so much to cover this week, we're going to have to move pretty quickly here. In international news, North Africa and the Middle East are still seething. The American news media, however, are (I actually heard this phrase being used by someone with a blowdried haircut the other night on television) experiencing "revolution fatigue." Seriously. They're bored with the whole storyline. Another dictator fell? Crowds of unarmed people being machine-gunned? Yawn. Don't we have an Oscars story we could run, instead?

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Labor Shut Out Of Sunday Morning Talk Show Circuit?

[ Posted Thursday, February 24th, 2011 – 18:17 PST ]

Now, apparently, organized Labor is outside the realm of what is allowable on mainstream political shows. Even when the subject at hand is organized Labor.

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Big Brother v. Little Brother

[ Posted Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 – 17:48 PST ]

Everyone knows who "Big Brother" is, of course, because we all had to read George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four at some point in our schooling. Big Brother is the fictional benevolent figurehead in Orwell's "negative Utopia" masterpiece, whose beaming visage is a front for a totalitarian police state which spies relentlessly upon its own citizenry. Television sets, in this future world, are both unavoidable and two-way -- broadcasting images of what you are doing in your own home to the government watchers. To some extent, Orwell's dark fantasy has become everyday life in some places (it's almost impossible to avoid being publicly filmed now in cities like London, for instance). But there's been a balancing revolution in surveillance as well -- which is more and more apparent in the recent news. I'm going to call this effect "Little Brother" -- citizens watching, filming, and reporting on governmental activities to a rapt worldwide audience. And we've already seen how powerful a tool this can be in the Middle East.

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No Budget? No Pay.

[ Posted Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 – 17:59 PST ]

Seriously, how many people does anyone know who get a whole week off for Presidents' Day?!? Congress doesn't take vacations one day at a time, instead it takes off whole weeks -- at the drop of a stovepipe hat. This has long annoyed me, but it becomes particularly odious when Congress is faced with a very serious deadline -- one that might wind up with a government shutdown -- and nobody even suggests that they might want to get back to work while this clock is ticking down. Not Harry Reid, not John Boehner, not Nancy Pelosi, not Mitch McConnell, not any Tea Party Republican -- nobody has even entertained the idea that Congress should forego just one of their weeklong "district work periods" (which any sane Human Resources department would call "vacations").

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Our Forgotten "Presidents"

[ Posted Monday, February 21st, 2011 – 18:29 PST ]

The two formerly-individual holidays celebrating Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday have been merged into a single federal holiday -- a holiday which, while intended to honor both Washington and Lincoln, has now become somewhat "genericized" (in name, at least) into a celebration of all our presidents. But what about the forgotten presidents? [Or, to be scrupulously accurate, "presidents"?]

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My Class Warfare Rant

[ Posted Monday, February 21st, 2011 – 12:39 PST ]

Before I even begin here, I'd like to address what my critics will respond with, when they hear what I have to say. They're going to call these ideas "class warfare." You know what? They're right. I am calling on the middle class and the working class and all the other classes that make up over 19 out of every 20 Americans to start fighting back. Note that, please -- fighting back. Because there has indeed been class warfare waged in America in recent decades, and our class is losing -- and losing badly. The wealthiest of the wealthy -- the modern-day robber barons among us -- have been successfully waging class warfare on the rest of us for so long now that I am sick of it and I think it's time the rest of us fought back, rather than meekly submitting to the whims of the moneyed class. So, before my critics even have a chance to respond, I will save them the trouble -- you are damn right that there is class warfare happening in America. By admitting this, I'm urging the people who have borne the brunt of the situation to wake up and begin to stand up for what is right.

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Friday Talking Points [155] -- Class Warfare Indeed

[ Posted Friday, February 18th, 2011 – 16:53 PST ]

Before I even begin here, I'd like to address what my critics will respond with, when they hear what I have to say. They're going to call these ideas "class warfare." You know what? They're right. I am calling on the middle class and the working class and all the other classes that make up over 19 out of every 20 Americans to start fighting back. Note that, please -- fighting back. Because there has indeed been class warfare waged in America in recent decades, and our class is losing -- and losing badly. The wealthiest of the wealthy -- the modern-day robber barons among us -- have been successfully waging class warfare on the rest of us for so long now that I am sick of it and I think it's time the rest of us fought back, rather than meekly submitting to the whims of the moneyed class. So, before my critics even have a chance to respond, I will save them the trouble -- you are damn right that there is class warfare happening in America. By admitting this, I'm urging the people who have borne the brunt of the situation to wake up and begin to stand up for what is right.

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Opening The Floor Debate

[ Posted Thursday, February 17th, 2011 – 17:36 PST ]

Incoming Speakers of the House of Representatives always like to put their own personal stamp on things. Most of them make pledges to do things differently, and promise to make radical changes in the way the lower chamber of Congress does its business. Bold ideas are tried, but most of these usually fall by the wayside later (or become considerably dialed-back), as the status quo has its say.

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Revolutionary Thoughts

[ Posted Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 – 17:33 PST ]

The revolutionary tidal wave (or, if you prefer, the "Tunisami") sweeping the Middle East and North Africa spreads ever wider, as in country after country young protesters take to the streets in an attempt to change their countries' governments. But don't expect an outcome equal to the (mostly) peaceful overthrows in Tunis and Egypt in every single country now affected by this "people power" movement. There are major differences from country to country, both in terms of the form of government (and the military), and in terms of the likelihood of a victorious outcome for the protesters.

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