Archive of Articles for January, 2015

Friday Talking Points [332] -- Getting Ready For Obama's Big Speech

[ Posted Friday, January 16th, 2015 – 17:58 UTC ]

This was a busy week in politics, as the Republicans in the new Congress began a bout of legislating and President Obama ramped up his agenda in preparation for next Tuesday's big speech to Congress and the country. So let's just dive in to the week that was, shall we?

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California's Jungle Primary Needs To Be Tamed

[ Posted Thursday, January 15th, 2015 – 17:25 UTC ]

Even though I live and vote in California, there's a fact which keeps slipping my mind. I've written a number of articles already about Senator Barbara Boxer stepping down, and I never even took this fact into account while writing them, for instance (and for which I apologize, if I said anything flat-out wrong in them). This is nothing more than simple denial, I'll admit, because I dislike this new fact so much that I'm doubtlessly intentionally forgetting about it in the hopes that it will go away. I speak of the new primary voting system our state has instituted, the "top two" or "jungle" primary. Now that Barbara Boxer has announced she will not be running for another term as senator, the issue is about to get a little higher profile, because 2016 will be the first time the new system is used for an open Senate race.

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Obama Bouncing Back

[ Posted Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 – 17:37 UTC ]

In less than a week, President Obama will give his State Of The Union speech to Congress and the nation. Sitting presidents usually get a bump in the polls immediately afterwards, since it is always the most-watched political speech of the entire year. But what's interesting to note, one week out, is that Obama is already enjoying somewhat of a bounce in his job approval polling. What's more, Obama seems poised to rise even higher in public approval, since the next issue teed up for a major political battle is one where Obama's stance is a lot more popular than the Republican position: immigration reform. All in all, ever since his forceful response to the midterm elections, Obama seems to be getting more and more popular.

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First Faux Obama Scandal Of The Year

[ Posted Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 – 18:20 UTC ]

Looks like we have a winner for the prize of "first completely GOP-ginned-up Obama 'scandal' of the year," folks. Last night NBC News led their evening broadcast with the story, which they judged to be more important than "U.S. military gets hacked by terrorists." In other words, we're back to chasing shiny, shiny objects rather than reporting actual news. Happy new year, from Brian Williams!

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Petraeus Must Be Prosecuted

[ Posted Monday, January 12th, 2015 – 16:31 UTC ]

The New York Times disclosed over the weekend that federal prosecutors have recommended that the Justice Department should bring charges against former general and C.I.A. director David Petraeus. Unless President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder (or his successor) want to be seen as flaming hypocrites, Petraeus must now be prosecuted.

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Friday Talking Points [331] -- Nous Sommes Charlie Hebdo

[ Posted Friday, January 9th, 2015 – 18:13 UTC ]

Je suis Charlie. In fact, let's go even further: Nous sommes Charlie Hebdo. Because we are all Charlie, this week.

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We'll Miss You, Senator Boxer

[ Posted Thursday, January 8th, 2015 – 17:37 UTC ]

This isn't goodbye. It won't be for another two years. But upon hearing the news today that Barbara Boxer will not seek re-election in 2016, my immediate reaction was that she'll be sorely missed in the United States Senate.

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What To Expect From The 114th Congress

[ Posted Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 – 18:19 UTC ]

As dawn metaphorically breaks over the new 114th Congress, the inside-the-Beltway punditocracy is going through one of their periodic bouts of self-delusion over how wonderfully everyone is going to get along for the next two years. Sanity and comity will reign supreme on Capitol Hill, they blithely predict, and all kinds of stuff will get accomplished. The only real question is which side of the aisle will be signing melody and which will be harmonizing, as everyone joins in a rousing chorus of "Kumbaya." You'll have to forgive me for not being so easily convinced, mostly because I can accurately remember back past roughly two weeks ago, which seems to be the attention span for some of these pontificators.

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Time For Time-And-A-Half

[ Posted Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 – 17:39 UTC ]

Millions of Americans just got a raise. Their first 2015 paycheck will be substantially bigger in many states, as new minimum wages take effect. This is great news for those at the bottom of the pay scale, and it will likely generate some upward pressure on those making slightly more than minimum wage as well. The supervisors of minimum-wage earners will demand to be paid more than those they are supervising, and the managers of the supervisors will use the same logic. J.F.K.'s "rising tide" will lift a lot of boats, in other words. But there's an even bigger change coming soon for those in the middle class, which should help to rectify the problem of income equality for tens of millions of hard-working Americans. The big change that President Obama is going to soon unveil is an update of the mandatory overtime rule.

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Claiming Credit

[ Posted Monday, January 5th, 2015 – 16:59 UTC ]

President Obama is doing the preparatory work for his upcoming State Of The Union speech this week, by visiting three states to tout his successes and also to build support for the proposals he's likely to make in the big speech. This is all standard politics, really. But Democrats should really join in a loud chorus right now to help Obama achieve the first of those goals -- claiming credit for turning the American economy around. This is important for two reasons. The first is that Democrats (and Obama), up until now, have been too timid to claim much of any credit for the economy, out of fears that it could take a turn for the worse and they'd end up looking like Pollyannas (Obama already got his fingers burnt on this previously, with the supposed summer of "green shoots," quite a while back). The second reason it behooves Democrats to claim some credit right now is that if they don't, Republicans are already chomping at the bit to claim all that credit for themselves.

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