Archive of Articles for August, 2013

Friday Talking Points [269] -- The Debate Debate

[ Posted Friday, August 16th, 2013 – 17:22 UTC ]

We begin today with some awfully short memories, from both the Right and the Left, on the crossover subjects of presidential debates, television, and Hillary Clinton. It all stems from the news that the Republican National Committee has announced it will not sanction 2016 Republican candidate debates on CNN and NBC, because the two stations are both putting together movies about Hillary Clinton. The RNC feels that this will unacceptably prejudice the networks in the 2016 presidential race, in which Clinton is likely to be a Democratic candidate.

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Please Demote David Gregory, NBC

[ Posted Thursday, August 15th, 2013 – 16:42 UTC ]

While I normally don't go in much for directly attacking media personalities publicly, at times it becomes almost necessary to do so. I offer this up as a warning that the rest of this column will be nothing short of a heartfelt plea to the folks who run the NBC News division to please, please, please replace David Gregory as host of the venerable Meet The Press (the longest-running television show in history). So if that sort of thing isn't your cup of tea, then I'd suggest just skipping today's column.

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Rubio Drops An "Obama-Bomb"

[ Posted Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 – 17:04 UTC ]

Fear is a big motivator in politics. This has been known ever since Niccolò Machiavelli pointed it out, at the very least. The Republican Party has shown mastery in the use of this fact for years. To be fair, Democrats also attempt the tactic from time to time, but this isn't really relevant to the discussion of Senator Marco Rubio and his continuing push to get his fellow Republicans to support his efforts on immigration reform. Because while Republican fear-mongering is usually directed at Democrats, Rubio's tactics are aimed directly at members of his own party. His clever talking points are aimed, these days, at House Republicans who are reluctant to support the Senate immigration reform bill Rubio helped draft. Yesterday, he upped the ante in this game, with a frightening (for them) new attempt to scare Republicans into supporting his effort.

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News Consumers Way Ahead Of David Brooks

[ Posted Tuesday, August 13th, 2013 – 18:38 UTC ]

The Huffington Post just highlighted the worst example of this from last Sunday's political chat shows on television, and while they did an exemplary job I feel further deconstruction is necessary. David Brooks, in discussing the online changes in the journalism business, falls back on the sneering contempt print journalists have long voiced towards the blogosphere:

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One Small Step For Eric Holder

[ Posted Monday, August 12th, 2013 – 16:26 UTC ]

Just so no one makes the accusation that I'm belittling Attorney General Eric Holder's speech today; if my headline were longer, it would conclude: "...and one giant leap for the Department of Justice." Holder's speech today, and his new policy announcements and proposals, are indeed a significant leap forward for the federal government, which -- ever since Nancy Reagan and the tragic death of Len Bias -- has been locking people up for drug offenses at a rate unparalleled in American history. What Holder said today was that it's time for this outdated, expensive, and largely futile policy to end, or at least be severely curtailed. And that, indeed, is a giant rhetorical and philosophical leap forward.

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Friday Talking Points [268] -- PBS, Citizen Koch, And Obama's Press Conference

[ Posted Friday, August 9th, 2013 – 16:15 UTC ]

The big political news today, of course, was President Obama's press conference. While the subject matter largely revolved around the National Security Agency reforms Obama is belatedly proposing, I found the rest of the presser to be more interesting, personally -- mostly because the excerpt we're going to provide will in all likelihood be virtually ignored in most media reports. But we'll get to all that in the remainder of the column.

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Holder To Announce New Drug Policy?

[ Posted Thursday, August 8th, 2013 – 17:25 UTC ]

Attorney General Eric Holder seems to be signaling that he'll soon be announcing major changes in the federal government's policies on illegal drugs. If this turns out to be true, it will indeed be a welcome change in the approach the Justice Department has taken under President Barack Obama. Obama is now the third president to have admitted smoking marijuana before he entered office (well, OK, the second one who admitted inhaling, technically, but still...), so any changes are indeed long overdue.

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There's A-Gonna Be A Shootout (In The Obamacare Corral)!

[ Posted Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 – 17:48 UTC ]

The Republican Party is busily choosing sides in an upcoming fight. Now, in normal times that sentence would be parsed as: the Republican Party -- as a whole -- was choosing their strategy in a looming battle with Democrats. These days, due to the ever-more-visible deep divisions within the party itself, Republicans are instead choosing which side to take in an upcoming battle with itself. Which makes the entire exercise enjoyable for Democrats, who have a number of options of their own. But we'll get to that in a moment.

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Program Note

[ Posted Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 – 16:23 UTC ]

I had fully intended to write a column today on the sale of the Washington Post to Amazon's Jeff Bezos, but the more I pondered the matter, the less sure I was of drawing any kind of conclusions. Will it be a good thing or a bad thing? Well, the only real answer [...]

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Obama Poll Watch -- July, 2013

[ Posted Monday, August 5th, 2013 – 16:11 UTC ]

President Barack Obama's job approval polling numbers continued a rather dramatic slide in July, resulting in the lowest public approval yet of his second term. He hasn't quite hit the low point of his first term, but he is getting dangerously close. Whether he can turn this trend around in August remains to be seen, but he's certainly got his work cut out for him. A quick look at this month's chart shows the size of the problem Obama's going to have to overcome, to do so.

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