Archive of Articles for February, 2014

Friday Talking Points [291] -- Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

[ Posted Friday, February 14th, 2014 – 19:10 UTC ]

John Boehner has a song in his heart. That song is "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," which he was heard quoting from as he was busy passing a clean debt ceiling bill in his House. He followed up with another lyric from the tune: "Plenty of sunshine coming my way." Mr. Boehner is, of course, being amusingly ironic. He does not, in fact, have a song in his heart, and he is not looking for beams of sunshine heading his way from his fellow Republicans.

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Boehner's Immigration Window

[ Posted Thursday, February 13th, 2014 – 17:44 UTC ]

I'm going to ignore the main "will he or won't he" question for the time being, and instead concentrate on a wonkier subject: "when will he, if he does?" This stems from a piece of conventional Washington wisdom (which, I might add, I usually treat very gingerly, and always wash my hands afterwards) -- that John Boehner is waiting to introduce immigration reform until after the season of filing deadlines for the primary elections, to avoid Republican House members facing primary challenges from Tea Partiers. This qualifies as Washington conventional wisdom because the notion is being bandied about by both Lefties and Righties. Democrats and Republicans (those who want to see something done on immigration) agree that Boehner is just waiting for this magic window, while Republicans against immigration reform are using the same idea as a dire warning (mostly to spur fundraising). But has anyone really examined the primary schedule? Because it is a lot more spread out than might be expected. So the question becomes: does this window even really exist?

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Will Obama Slip Obamacare Mandate Deadline One Month?

[ Posted Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 – 17:22 UTC ]

The official numbers are in for January, showing that Obamacare signups beat the monthly projection for the first time. This is good news for the White House, as is the new overall signup total of 3.3 million. After a very rocky rollout, the Obamacare website seems to now be back on track. The numbers are good, but they will likely fall short of the overall goal of seven million signed up by the deadline, currently set for the end of March. This will leave the White House with a rather obvious path to make up the difference: slip the individual mandate deadline by one month, to the end of April. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Obama chooses this route, likely in the middle of next month.

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Third Time's The Charm

[ Posted Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 – 17:26 UTC ]

John Boehner just bowed to reality for the third straight time, rather than choosing to create yet another meaningless self-imposed crisis for the American economy. There are metaphors a-plenty to describe today's events, but we're going with how one fellow Republican put it (who didn't even agree with Boehner when it came time to vote): "John Boehner was the adult in the room."

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The Future Of Immigration Reform

[ Posted Monday, February 10th, 2014 – 18:17 UTC ]

Last week, John Boehner made a rather stunning turnaround on whether the House will be passing some sort of immigration reform this year. To be snide: first he was for it, before he was against it. What happened in between (one assumes) is that he tried to sell the idea to his own caucus. Who (from all appearances) wasn't buying it. While this might not be the end for immigration reform this year, the idea certainly can now be said to be on life support, at best. What this means for the future of immigration reform is anybody's guess at this point, so I thought I'd map out a few scenarios which assume immigration reform is not going to pass before this year's elections.

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Friday Talking Points [290] -- Freedom From Job Lock

[ Posted Friday, February 7th, 2014 – 19:18 UTC ]

Americans across the land are banding together to solve one of the country's most pressing problems, it seems: demanding that Justin Bieber be deported!

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Freedom To Flash Upheld

[ Posted Thursday, February 6th, 2014 – 18:03 UTC ]

Constitutional legal cases are, at times, ponderous and dense with seemingly-arcane hairsplitting to determine what the Constitution really means in the modern word, or when viewed with modern attitudes. Sometimes, however, constitutional cases are pretty easy to understand, because virtually everyone can relate to the circumstances which brought it to court in the first place. An injunction just issued by a federal judge falls into the second category, because it affirms the right to free speech -- specifically, the free speech of an automobilist flashing his headlights at oncoming traffic to warn of an impending speed trap. Obviously, this is something most who have driven cars can relate to on a very personal level.

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Insanely Early 2016 Speculation (Hillary Clinton Edition)

[ Posted Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 – 17:32 UTC ]

Other than the Electoral College shift, another rather strange dynamic seems to be shaping up between the two dominant American political parties. Democrats and Republicans are reversing their traditional scenarios when it comes to nominating presidential candidates. This tradition even comes with its own bumpersticker slogan to define it: "Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line." Democrats, in other words, have a large field to pick from and select the one that everybody likes best, in the end, and then enthusiastically gets behind them for the general election. Republicans, however, pretty much know who is "next in line" for the nomination, and while other candidates may put up a limited fight, everyone knows who the nominee is going to be long before the first primary happens -- after which, Republicans all fall into line behind him, like him or not. But this time around the primary field is going to be wild and wooly over on the Republican side, with nobody being able to convincingly claim to be "next in line" (Rick Santorum or Paul Ryan could come closest to making such a claim, but this is going to be challenged by many others). But over on the Democratic side, there is only one woman standing, at least at this point, and her name is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Risky Business

[ Posted Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 – 17:17 UTC ]

If you buy car insurance and then get into an accident, when the insurance pays for your repairs, have they "bailed you out"? Most people would answer "no," because planning for risks in advance by buying insurance is a responsible thing to do. There is no "bailout" involved at all. But that's the basic concept Republicans are planning on selling, if today's rumors are to be believed.

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Obama Poll Watch -- January, 2014

[ Posted Monday, February 3rd, 2014 – 16:23 UTC ]

President Obama just had -- relatively -- the best month in job approval polling he's had for his entire second term. The reason for the qualifier in that previous sentence is that in absolute terms, Obama's poll numbers are still pretty bad, but when measured by month-to-month change, January was the best month Obama's had since the afterglow of his re-election. But then a picture is clearer than all these words, so let's take a look at the chart:

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