Archive of Articles for December, 2013

Open Call For Nominations

[ Posted Thursday, December 12th, 2013 – 16:36 UTC ]

Today's going to be somewhat of an "open thread," as the blogfolk say.

While our regular Friday Talking Points column will appear here tomorrow as usual, for the next two weeks afterwards it will be pre-empted by our annual awards columns. These take a look back at the previous year and take note of what happened in an amusing fashion. Check out last year's columns (Part 1 and Part 2) to see what I'm talking about.

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The Budget Deal's Crass And Craven Politics

[ Posted Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 – 17:34 UTC ]

The big political news of the day is that Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray have hammered out a new budget deal. Mostly, this news focuses on the details of the agreement, or the sheer jaw-dropping astonishment that a deal was reached before the next artificial deadline was hit. This last bit is actually laughable and not a little pathetic, when you consider how low the bar now is for Congress meeting the responsibilities outlined in their job descriptions. But even that is not the most cynical (or, if you're in a more forgiving mood, "most crassly political") aspect of the deal, which news reports are mostly missing today. Because, to me, the most appropriate headline from the new budget deal should really be: "Democrats And Republicans Agree To Remove Budget Negotiations From 2014 Campaign, Out Of Fear."

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"Obamacare" Approaching Milestone?

[ Posted Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 – 17:53 UTC ]

Is "Obamacare" approaching a political milestone of sorts? Well, maybe. But first let me explain those "scare" quotes. Obamacare (the program itself) is of course reaching milestones, and will continue to do so for a while. But "Obamacare" (the name Republicans have been using) is what I'm talking about here -- the term itself, not the program. And that may indeed be about to hit a political milestone. Because the first Republican has come out in favor of not calling it "Obamacare" anymore, and instead referring to it by its full "Orwellian" name (his term, not mine): the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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Road Tripping

[ Posted Monday, December 9th, 2013 – 18:13 UTC ]

Kidding aside, the reason I'm writing this today is because of an article in Salon today, and because of my firm belief in the power of the Great American Roadtrip. The article was written by Eric Lutz, age 25, after a 1,200-mile trip where he visited the home districts of Michele Bachmann, Paul Ryan, and Steve King. The article is an interesting piece of writing, especially in the responses it generated in the comments.

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Friday Talking Points [284] -- Defending Populism

[ Posted Friday, December 6th, 2013 – 18:26 UTC ]

A little-noted anniversary happened this week -- because it has been 80 years since Americans came to their senses and passed the Twenty-First Amendment, thus repealing the lunacy of Prohibition. So there's something to raise a glass to, over the weekend. So to speak.

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Holiday Fundraiser Kickoff (With Kittens, Of Course)!

[ Posted Thursday, December 5th, 2013 – 19:44 UTC ]

It's that time of year again, folks!
Yes, it is time once again for our annual holiday pledge drive, which we traditionally begin by intentionally distracting you with the cutest kittens known to exist -- in a cheap effort to tug at your heartstrings as you reach for your wallet. While this yearly begging season [...]

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Delay Iran Sanctions

[ Posted Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 – 17:56 UTC ]

Last Sunday, Senator Bob Menendez suggested a fairly good idea for further economic sanctions on Iran. Menendez, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has come up with an answer which could possibly satisfy both sides -- those who support the diplomatic track and those who are pushing for harsher sanctions for Iran. The idea is to let the Senate go ahead and pass further sanctions, but to trigger them to the timeline of the ongoing negotiations, so that new sanctions wouldn't kick in until after the six month period of talks. If a permanent deal is struck before that time, then new sanctions (obviously) wouldn't take effect, but if no deal is reached by the deadline, then the sanctions begin automatically.

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Obama Poll Watch -- November, 2013

[ Posted Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 – 17:23 UTC ]

November was either a very bad month for President Obama in job approval polling, or his worst month ever. Take your choice.

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The Obamacare Website, Version 1.1

[ Posted Monday, December 2nd, 2013 – 15:49 UTC ]

The Obama administration just rolled out what could be called "version 1.1" of, the website set up as a health insurance exchange for Americans who live in states which didn't set up their own state-level exchanges. In the computer world, "version 1.1" normally means "the first bug-fix version" of a piece of software. After two months of nothing short of disaster, the White House is now confident that the website is ready for prime time. Mostly.

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