Archive of Articles for June, 2014

"No Budget, No Pay" Works Once Again In California

[ Posted Monday, June 16th, 2014 – 17:28 UTC ]

Yesterday was Fathers' Day. Most dads, even those who happen to be elected officials, were able to relax and enjoy the day by spending some time with their families. California legislators did not have this luxury, due to their own inactivity in the days leading up to a midnight legislative deadline. They worked throughout the weekend to produce the state's budget on time -- which they achieved, late yesterday. But the really newsworthy thing about this was why they decided to work the whole weekend instead of just ignoring the mandated deadline (which they used to routinely do). They put in the overtime hours for one reason and one reason alone: if they hadn't come to an agreement on time, their pay would have stopped at midnight. Call this story the success of the "no budget, no pay" idea, if you will.

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Friday Talking Points [308] -- Selenofriggatriskaidekaphobics Unite!

[ Posted Friday, June 13th, 2014 – 17:39 UTC ]

I have to begin this week by apologizing for the irreverent nature of that title, but then how often do you get a chance to coin a cool word like "selenofriggatriskaidekaphobia"? The proper answer is that the chance won't come again until 2049, which explains why we couldn't resist. The word is a mashup of two phobias, the fear of a full moon (selenophobia) and the fear of Friday the 13th (friggatriskaidekaphobia, not to be confused with fear of the number 13, which is just triskaidekaphobia, of course). The rare occurrence of a full moon on a Friday the 13th won't happen again for another 35 years, so today's pretty much it for this generation of selenofriggatriskaidekaphobics, at least. But enough of this looney etymological fun, let's get on with a week chock-full of political happenings, shall we?

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The Race Is On To Replace Cantor

[ Posted Thursday, June 12th, 2014 – 16:56 UTC ]

In one week, House Republicans will vote on a replacement for Eric Cantor, who will be stepping down from his Majority Leader position (due to his loss in this week's primary). This vote will provide a test of strength for both the Tea Party faction and for the Establishment Republicans. Who wins this power struggle may eventually determine the direction of the Republicans in the House for years to come, meaning it'll be a fairly important vote.

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The Aftershocks Of Cantor's Loss

[ Posted Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 – 16:51 UTC ]

Every so often, the American political world is turned upside down. Last night was one of those moments, as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was "primaried" out of a job. Nobody (including me) predicted this upset. Today, pundits are falling all over themselves to come up with an appropriate metaphor for the magnitude of Cantor's loss on the political scene. Living in California as I do, I'm going to go with earthquake terminology: this was a massive and cataclysmic temblor for Republicans -- the equivalent of about a 9.0 on the political Richter scale.

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An Inconsequential Question: What To Call Hillary

[ Posted Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 – 18:51 UTC ]

When we look back at this particular week much later on, it seems we'll remember it as the week the 2016 presidential race truly began in earnest. Measured by the sheer volume of headlines generated and punditry produced, now will be seen as the moment when Hillary Clinton reintroduced herself to America. With the kickoff of her book tour, Clinton has already started tongues wagging (in a major way) about what her chances will be in 2016.

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Not Far Enough On Student Loans

[ Posted Monday, June 9th, 2014 – 16:58 UTC ]

A proposal from Senator Elizabeth Warren would drastically change the program, but so far it hasn't gotten President Obama's full-throated support. While I understand that Obama can rightly say that he's doing what he can on student loans outside of Congress, if he truly wanted to reform the program he would get solidly behind Warren's proposal and push it as hard as possible, in an effort to shame at least the Senate into acting upon it.

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Friday Talking Points [307] -- An Alternate Reality To Consider

[ Posted Friday, June 6th, 2014 – 16:43 UTC ]

This week was notable in many respects in the political world, but one subject overwhelmed almost everything else. We're going to address the prisoner swap and Bowe Bergdahl in an unusual way this week, in lieu of our regular talking points at the end of the column. But first, we're going to take a very quick look at what else happened this week, and then hand out the weekly awards.

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Remembering The Fallen

[ Posted Thursday, June 5th, 2014 – 16:05 UTC ]

Tomorrow, President Obama and other world leaders will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. There are still living survivors of that "longest day," but they are getting fewer and fewer with each year's anniversary. Even the youngest of those on the beaches that day are now in their 80s, and they won't be with us much longer.

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Foggy Points Of View On Bergdahl

[ Posted Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 – 15:43 UTC ]

When one usually speaks of the "fog of war," the term is generally understood to mean the disorganization of combat. When battles are fought, it is often unclear as to what is going on, whether you're a private in the trenches or a rear-echelon officer trying to keep on top of a developing situation under your command. What is also understood is that after a while, the fog usually clears somewhat. Things which aren't immediately apparent become clarified when enough time has passed for accurate reports of the situation to come in.

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Will The Tea Party "Strike Back"?

[ Posted Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 – 16:29 UTC ]

Today is primary election day in eight states across the land (including my own). The most media attention will be paid to the Mississippi Republican Senate primary, where the incumbent, Senator Thad Cochran, may be in trouble from a Tea Party challenger. So while the storyline a few weeks ago was "Establishment Republicans win big over Tea Party," the storyline tomorrow may be "Tea Party strikes back!"

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