Archive of Articles for March, 2011

Real Budget Battle Hasn't Yet Begun

[ Posted Thursday, March 31st, 2011 – 16:01 UTC ]

The media is currently obsessing over the prospects of a government shutdown next Friday, and over the congressional budget negotiations currently taking place which could prevent it from happening. But this is a relatively small fish to fry, because the real budget battle will be officially joined next Tuesday, when Republican Paul Ryan unveils his budget plan for 2012, complete with 10-year projections. What is currently being debated pales in consequence to the fight over the 2012 budget, although it may take the media a while to realize it, because it is so much more fun to say "government shutdown" in a scary voice on television.

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House Republicans' Constitutional Ignorance

[ Posted Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 – 16:13 UTC ]

The Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives are supposed to -- according to their own statements -- absolutely revere the United States Constitution. They even opened their current congressional session by reading the whole text of the document aloud (or, at least, the non-embarrassing parts of it). So it's a little surprising that they appear not to understand one of the bedrock ideas enshrined within the Constitution -- how a bill becomes a law. House Republican leaders have announced they'll be voting on a bill this Friday (charmingly entitled the "Government Shutdown Prevention Act"). This bill reportedly contains a piece of legislative fantasy within it -- that the House of Representatives can declare something to be the "law of the land" without any input or action from either the Senate or President Obama.

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Congress: Nice Work, If You Can Get It

[ Posted Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 – 16:37 UTC ]

The low water mark is the Senate, this year, who has seen fit to only show up one-half of the weekdays available to it. They took an astonishing twenty-eight workdays off, in under three months' time. That is taking almost six weeks off, to put it another way.

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Obama's Libyan Gamble, Week Two

[ Posted Monday, March 28th, 2011 – 16:09 UTC ]

Events on the ground in Libya, roughly one week after coalition warplanes and cruise missiles began flying, seem to have taken a turn for the better for the rebel forces. Surprisingly, though, the American media and political establishment seems largely focused on any number of ways this war could turn out badly for America, for Libya, and for the world. As city after city falls to the rebel forces, perhaps this narrative will shift somewhat. President Obama is about to give a speech to the nation, which may help focus the media on what is actually going on in Libya, rather than speculating about what could happen. Or perhaps not -- Obama's speech may become "the story" itself, and be picked apart word by word for the next few days, no matter what the rebels are doing in Libya.

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Friday Talking Points [160] -- "Name That War" Contest

[ Posted Friday, March 25th, 2011 – 17:27 UTC ]

Anyone who sits in the Oval Office -- no matter what their name or political party -- is going to have detractors. As they should, since disagreeing with political leaders is almost the national sport in America, and always has been (sorry, baseball, but political bickering has been around a lot longer). Sometimes criticism of the president is for very principled and deeply-held beliefs. Sometimes, it is just knee-jerk-ism of the first order.

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Program Note

[ Posted Thursday, March 24th, 2011 – 12:54 UTC ] is currently experiencing intermittent power outages at our server company. We are in the midst of a winter rainstorm, so this may go on for the immediate future. I am going to try to post an article today as normal, but if it doesn't appear, it is likely I am sitting here [...]

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The Chances Of Success In Libya

[ Posted Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 – 17:52 UTC ]

So, the big question is: what are the odds? What chance does each of these three scenarios -- win, lose, or stalemate -- have of actually becoming reality in a short stretch of time (one month, perhaps two at the outside)?

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Senator Schumer Works To Honor Henry Johnson

[ Posted Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 – 17:00 UTC ]

Schumer: These Amazing New Documents Paint A Compelling Case To Finally Give This American Hero the Top Military Award He Earned With His Bravery So Many Years Ago

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Obama's Libyan Gamble

[ Posted Monday, March 21st, 2011 – 16:02 UTC ]

Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the rounds of the Sunday morning political shows yesterday, to lay out the Obama administration's plan for this war. Very few people in the media listened to what he said. The war plan for Libya -- if everything goes perfectly -- can be summed up as: "Lead the initial attack with cruise missiles. Spend a few days bombing command-and-control infrastructure, and generally kicking butt as we see fit. Take out as many Libyan Air Force assets as possible. Then turn the entire thing over to 'the coalition' and step back into a support role. Let the French, the British, and the Arabs (and anyone else who wants to join in) supply the warplanes and pilots to patrol the no-fly zone from this point onward, while American pilots fly the electronic jamming planes and intelligence aircraft necessary to provide the fighters with an accurate picture of what's going on."

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Friday Talking Points [159] -- Firing Up The Base

[ Posted Friday, March 18th, 2011 – 17:22 UTC ]

Here's a quick test for whether you are being fed speculation and fluff, or whether you are being told real information: Are there numbers involved? If so, then thank a scientist (and the editor or producer who allows such science on the air, I guess).

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