Archive of Articles for September, 2014

Together And Apart

[ Posted Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 – 17:05 UTC ]

What I find interesting in the debate over Scottish independence is the larger question of whether Europe itself is coming together or flying apart. Or, perhaps, whether it could manage to do both at the same time.

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In Celebration Of Our National Anthem's Bicentennial

[ Posted Monday, September 15th, 2014 – 16:53 UTC ]

This past Saturday and Sunday marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore, which occurred towards the end of the War of 1812. Tomorrow will be the bicentennial of Francis Scott Key completing the now-immortal lyrics he titled: "The Defence Of Fort M'Henry" -- later more famously known as America's national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

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Friday Talking Points [319] -- Slouching Off To War

[ Posted Friday, September 12th, 2014 – 15:56 UTC ]

Back in 2007, I thought it would be a good idea to write congressional Democrats a memo, in the hopes they could begin to learn a skill Republicans seem to be born with: the ability to stay on-topic and present your political ideas and agenda items succinctly and memorably to the public. I had grown tired of watching the Sunday political shows where Republicans all sang off the same songsheet while Democrats were easily led into the weeds with long rambling tangents to what they should have been saying that particular week. This early effort grew, in the following weeks and months, into the format we now use weekly: a quick rundown of amusing items in the political news of the week, the awarding of the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week and the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week, and then seven numerated talking points suggested for all Democrats to use to explain the Democratic position to all and sundry (especially on Sundry morning talk shows... so to speak...).

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Obama Poll Watch -- August, 2014

[ Posted Thursday, September 11th, 2014 – 16:04 UTC ]

OK, with that out of the way, let's take a look at how President Obama did in job approval polling last month. The results were mixed, but overall fairly positive. Here's the new chart:

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A Reluctant Warrior

[ Posted Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 – 19:54 UTC ]

President Barack Obama has always been a reluctant warrior. It is, in fact, one of the big reasons he was elected, since America had turned away from the cowboy swagger of Bush and Cheney by 2008. Tonight, President Obama laid out the case for escalating a war we've already begun, in Iraq and Syria. He presented his plan to the public, and gave his reasons for why America should become more involved in the fight against the Islamic State (or, variously, ISIS or ISIL), and explained what America would and would not be doing in the coming months.

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The Challenge From The Left

[ Posted Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 – 16:41 UTC ]

By the time I post this article, the election returns may have already been announced in New York state's Democratic gubernatorial primary. I state this up front to let readers know that I'm writing this before knowing how big a margin of victory the current governor, Andrew Cuomo, manages to gain over his Progressive challenger, Zephyr Teachout. Cuomo's victory is pretty much a foregone conclusion, but the size of his victory may be an important gauge of the growth of the Progressives, or what has previously been called "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." If Teachout does better than expected, it could have reverberations in the next few years, as the 2016 presidential contest gets underway.

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Coyly Campaigning In Kansas

[ Posted Monday, September 8th, 2014 – 16:39 UTC ]

Last week, a political tornado of sorts happened in Kansas (of all places), raising the possibility of this Senate race becoming the tipping point which could decide partisan control of the Senate for the next two years. Democratic candidate Chad Taylor attempted to drop out of the race completely, clearing the field for Independent Greg Orman to take on sitting Senator Pat Roberts. Orman, however, is being coy by refusing to announce which party he'll caucus with on the all-important vote for Senate Majority Leader, should Orman win his race. If he does beat Roberts, Orman will become the third sitting Independent in the Senate.

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From The Archives -- The First "Friday Talking Points"

[ Posted Friday, September 5th, 2014 – 15:00 UTC ]

So Petraeus and Crocker have reported, President Bush has spoken to the nation, and the congressional war debate is slated to begin in earnest next week. Since the Democrats seem to be incapable of staying "on message" the way Republicans so effortlessly manage to do, I'd like to steal a page from the Republican playbook. It's an idea whose time has come: Democratic talking points.

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From The Archives -- Rape And Murder Should Not Be A Cartoon

[ Posted Thursday, September 4th, 2014 – 15:00 UTC ]

There has been a trend in the television news media over the last decade which needs to be stopped. This trend is to show animated mockups while reporting war stories. These seldom enhance the news value of the story, instead merely giving viewers something to watch while the anchor reads the story.

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From The Archives -- Allow Minimum Wage Workers To Share Congress' COLA

[ Posted Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 – 15:00 UTC ]

The first article details how the House Appropriations Committee voted 32-27 to approve an amendment to a health and education bill to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25. The author of the amendment, Rep. George Miller [D-CA], is quoted saying, "The minimum wage is lower than it has been at any time since 1956. Congress' refusal to raise the minimum wage shows an utter disrespect for millions of Americans who work hard every day and still struggle to meet even the most basic needs." He obviously feels strongly about it, but unfortunately the minimum wage raise will probably not survive when it gets to the House floor since the Appropriations Committee doesn't even have jurisdiction over the issue. In other words, there's virtually no chance the Republican-dominated House is going to pass it any time soon. The article should really have a sub-head reading: "But It Ain't Going To Happen".

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