Archive of Articles for June, 2013

Friday Talking Points [262] -- War On Women Continues Apace

[ Posted Friday, June 14th, 2013 – 16:37 UTC ]

Last week, Republicans seem to have decided that the whole "autopsy" business after they got beaten so badly in the 2012 elections was just hogwash, and that they should double-down on their demonization and scapegoatery efforts. The "Plum Line" blog over at has a good rundown (although now that the site is disappearing behind a paywall, I may have to reconsider linking to its articles in the future).

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Hail To The Pigskins?

[ Posted Thursday, June 13th, 2013 – 17:10 UTC ]

Frank Luntz, celebrated spinmeister, has taken on a new task, it seems. He'll be in charge of figuring out a way to convince the public that a blatantly racist major sports team's name is really nothing to get upset about.

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Pentagon Should Get Only One Year To Fix Sexual Assault Problem

[ Posted Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 – 16:26 UTC ]

The Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Carl Levin, has just voted down an amendment championed by Kirsten Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill which would have stripped from the chain of command the decisions on prosecuting sexual assaults in the military. Although the amendment had 28 co-sponsors (including four Republicans), Levin voted against it and the measure will not be part of the military bill they're currently working on. McCaskill or Gillibrand can still bring it back up when the bill gets to the floor (or the House could pass it in their version), but its chances for passage at this point seem somewhat diminished. Levin offered his own way to tackle the problem which does not take the prosecution decision out of the hands of the commanders but does achieve several other positive reforms, including removing the power to overturn a jury's verdict in such cases from the commanding officers.

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Program Note

[ Posted Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 – 22:14 UTC ]

No column today, sorry. Columns will resume tomorrow, but for the next two weeks columns may be infrequent, as the Netroots Nation blogger conference will be taking up a lot of my time. Watch this space for further details as I figure them out, and sorry for the interruptions in service in advance.
-- [...]

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Cautiously Optimistic On Gay Marriage

[ Posted Monday, June 10th, 2013 – 16:58 UTC ]

The Supremes could surprise me, of course -- they've certainly done so in the past, on many occasions. It's a lot tougher to pick outcomes on the Supreme Court than it is to, say, pick who is likely to win an election. Only nine people get to vote, after all, and they don't answer public opinion polls in the meantime. But I have a strong suspicion that the Supreme Court is going to try to kick the political can down the road a bit.

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Friday Talking Points [261] -- Rest In Peace, Fourth Amendment

[ Posted Friday, June 7th, 2013 – 16:33 UTC ]

Every so often as I sit down to write these Friday columns, the spirit of the rant overtakes me. Instead of our usual Talking Points section this week, I offer up such a rant, on the death of the Fourth Amendment. You have all been warned. I did consider calling this rant an "Ode To Dianne Feinstein," but then I thought that was too limiting -- she certainly isn't the only one out there singing from the same hymnbook. And I certainly wouldn't want to have anyone feel left out.

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From The Archives -- HAL 9000 Meets Big Brother?

[ Posted Thursday, June 6th, 2013 – 15:59 UTC ]

I realize that the news Glenn Greenwald just broke on the National Security Agency glomming onto the records of everyone who made a phone call through Verizon is what I really should be commenting on today, but then I realized I had written an article a long time ago which is germane to this debate. Back in August of 2007, I wrote the following piece on warrantless wiretapping, which poses a few questions that have not only never been answered but indeed never even really discussed. Now, I realize that the situations between now and what I was commenting on then are not clearly parallel, since actual wiretapping (recording or analyzing the content of phone calls) is different (and much more intrusive) than merely accessing the records of who called what phone (which is what apparently happened with Verizon). But the wider picture brings up the same basic question this article asks: should vacuuming up all available data and then weeding it out with computers be legally-admissible evidence in a court of law? So I thought it was worth re-running this column today to examine an aspect of governmental communications intercepts that never seems to get talked about.

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Obama Should Admit Defeat On Morning-After Pill

[ Posted Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 – 17:08 UTC ]

President Obama should really stop fighting against the idea of making the morning-after pill available to anyone who needs to buy it. He really should instruct Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder to admit defeat on the issue, and to just move on. Because what he's fighting for, ultimately, is his own political hypocrisy. Politically, this should be reason enough to throw in the towel on this fight.

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What Will Christie Do?

[ Posted Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 – 17:10 UTC ]

The death of Senator Frank Lautenberg has given New Jersey's governor an interesting choice. Who will Chris Christie appoint to fill the vacancy, and what will it mean for his own political future?

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Obama Poll Watch -- May, 2013

[ Posted Monday, June 3rd, 2013 – 17:22 UTC ]

Barack Obama had a pretty bad month inside the Beltway, with Republicans on the warpath over multiple scandals. Outside Washington, Obama didn't have too bad a month at all, as his job approval ratings barely budged. While this calm may seem to indicate that the public has a much higher tolerance for what constitutes a "scandal" than congressional Republicans, there were indications at the end of the month that this may just be a calm before much stormier poll numbers for the president. But first, let's look back on last month. Here's the chart:

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