Archive of Articles for April, 2016

Friday Talking Points [387] -- Fighting Or Following?

[ Posted Friday, April 15th, 2016 – 16:53 UTC ]

Believe it or not, it was a fairly quiet week on the Republican campaign trail. That's news in a sort of "man bites dog" (or, at the very least, "rabid attack dog refuses to bite") sort of way. In fact, the biggest news from the Republican side this week was Paul Ryan definitively refusing to be the Republican nominee this year. Ryan delivered a speech (called "Shermanesque" by every political reporter in existence) which essentially said: "Man, you couldn't pay me to be the GOP nominee this year -- no thanks, but I'll see you all bright and early for the 2020 contest!" This is a smart move indeed for Ryan, since it is looking more and more like Republicans don't stand a snowball's chance in Hell of winning the White House this particular year. So we're ignoring all the "but that's what he said about the speakership" tease articles, and we're taking Ryan at his word. No how, no way is Ryan going to be the nominee this year.

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The Final Debate

[ Posted Thursday, April 14th, 2016 – 21:01 UTC ]

The last Democratic presidential debate was held tonight on CNN, broadcasting from New York City. This debate was not originally on the schedule the Democratic National Committee had approved, and was added due largely to popular demand. It will be the final time Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton face off against each other on a stage -- the next debate to happen will be between the Democratic and Republican nominees, later in the year.

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The $15 Revolution

[ Posted Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 – 16:45 UTC ]

The fight for a $15-an-hour minimum wage achieved its biggest success last week, when California's governor signed a minimum wage hike that will bring the entire state up to a $15-an-hour minimum within the next few years. This is a milestone for a number of reasons, the most impressive being that it is the first such statewide measure to be enacted in the entire country. But what was really notable about the new California law was the way it happened. Because it was a real vindication of Bernie Sanders's contention that without a "political revolution," nothing much of note will get done in politics these days.

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Fallujah Will Fall Next

[ Posted Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 – 17:20 UTC ]

I thought the subject of how the war against the Islamic State is going in Iraq was worth an update today, because the Iraqi forces are on the brink of reclaiming a pretty impressive swath of the map. I should mention up front that for the purposes of this article, I'm going to largely ignore how the war is progressing in Syria, for no other reason than to keep things focused.

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Competing Perceptions Of The Republican Race

[ Posted Monday, April 11th, 2016 – 17:17 UTC ]

The Republican Party seems to be in the midst of a period of soul-searching, heading into the remainder of the primary season. The viewpoints within the party are all over the map, and even the perception of how the 2016 presidential race is going to play out can be vastly different from Republican to Republican. How it all turns out is anyone's guess at this point, but at least one Republican faction will be able to say "we told you so" at the end of the process. The questions are who is going to be right, and what it will mean for the party going forward.

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Friday Talking Points [386] -- Marijuana Policy Questions For The Candidates

[ Posted Friday, April 8th, 2016 – 17:26 UTC ]

There was some good news and some bad news on marijuana this week, which got us thinking about how the subject of federal marijuana policy relates to the presidential nomination race. So while we'll take care of the news (good and bad) in the awards section, we're going to also devote the talking points section to a list of questions we would love to hear answered by all the candidates. Obviously, the answers from Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are the most important, since they'd be the only ones who might actually try to improve the current situation, but it really shouldn't excuse the Republicans from having to answer them as well. Rather than just a quick "Do you support medical marijuana?" question, we really think the issue needs to be addressed in a little more depth.

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Possible End In Sight To The War On Weed

[ Posted Thursday, April 7th, 2016 – 16:54 UTC ]

The incredibly destructive federal war on marijuana may be about to end in a major way. It won't disappear entirely, but even so we may soon see the beginning of the inevitable end to the federal War On Weed. If so, it will become a major part of President Barack Obama's legacy -- even though he's actually the third president in a row who admitted to using marijuana at some point in his life. Obviously the scare stories couldn't all be true, if three presidents' lives weren't totally ruined by their recreational use of what is a fairly benign plant.

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Chicago 1968... Cleveland 2016?

[ Posted Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 – 17:06 UTC ]

The Republican National Convention will be held in Cleveland later this year. Already it is shaping up to be one of the most contentious party meetings in American history, even months ahead of time. Pretty much no matter what happens, there are going to be some seriously disappointed people (and that's putting it mildly), both within the convention hall and out in the surrounding streets. That much, at this point, seems almost guaranteed. The real question is whether this will boil over into anything other than the usual disgruntled muttering of the supporters of a losing candidate or not.

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A Good Night For Underdogs?

[ Posted Tuesday, April 5th, 2016 – 16:02 UTC ]

We've reached the sparse and arid part of the primary calendar, which means that instead of another multi-state Tuesday, the political world is now focused solely on the Badger State. This follows last week, when (gasp!) no state voted on Tuesday, and will be followed by another two-week gap, before New York weighs in.

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Obama Poll Watch -- March, 2016

[ Posted Monday, April 4th, 2016 – 17:31 UTC ]

President Obama made a big breakthrough in public opinion polling in March, one that is (for once) pretty obvious in his chart. For the first time since May, 2013, Obama's average job approval number for last month was higher than his average disapproval. Take a look at this month's new chart -- it's pretty easy to see how big a deal this is, even on the overall chart of his entire time in office.

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