Welcome back to our annual year-end awards column!
Archive of Articles for December, 2016
I'm really taking this week off as a vacation week, so I'd just like to take a short moment today to remember some of the fallen of 2016. I realize that on Friday there will be a category in the annual awards for "Sorry To See You Go," but I wanted to branch out from politics a bit (and the Friday column is already going to be monstrously long) and honor a few people from other fields who were lost in 2016 and who also had a personal impact on my life.
To all my regular readers -- here's hoping you're having a great holiday season!
Normally we open our annual awards column with an explanation of why John McLaughlin shouldn't sue us. It's become traditional, in fact, to skate the thin ice of "homage" and "satire" versus straight-up theft of intellectual property (which, of course, we'd never ever do... or, at least, admit).
When is Christmas? And why?
President Obama made some news the other day with another slew of pardons and commutations, adding to his record number as president. Obama has pardoned more people than all presidents back to Truman combined, which is both notable and commendable. Many of these pardons came for Draconian sentences handed out during the worst years of the War On Drugs, when people were routinely sentenced to long prison terms not so much for possessing cocaine but rather for possessing the wrong type of cocaine (when there was a 100-to-1 disparity between crack and powdered cocaine in federal sentencing laws). Obama is doing what he can for the cause of criminal justice reform, but there's one more thing he really should do before he leaves office -- reschedule marijuana so that it is not considered more dangerous than methamphetamine and opium. Contrary to his statements in the past, he can achieve this by directing his Attorney General to sign a piece of paper -- congressional approval is not required at all. So in the midst of correcting some abuses of the Drug War with last-minute pardons, Obama should take this proactive step to change the federal War On Weed as part of his presidential legacy.
I have to say, I don't write about television all that often, and when I do it is normally to rip into a network or a host or some other form of complaint. As I did regularly, until NBC wised up and replaced David Gregory with Chuck Todd on Meet The Press (just to give one obvious example). But today, I write in praise of a late-night host.
Donald Trump is never going to stop being Donald Trump. I think that much should be obvious to all by now. What this means for his term in office is really anyone's guess at the moment, but what concerns me the most is how he may just continue to redefine reality to suit his own ego's needs. This is currently on display in the calls for investigating Russia's hacking during the election. Team Trump seems content to define their own reality, which might be stated: "It's just another sore-loser complaint from Democrats and the mainstream media -- they can't accept the fact that Trump won, so they're making stuff up about Russia interfering in the election to feel better, that's all." Trump rejects the consensus of what is now the entire intelligence-gathering apparatus of the federal government, because he doesn't like what they're reporting to him.
We've got a lot to cover today (including Obama's final press conference), so let's just dive right in and try to get through the rest of the week's news in lightning fashion.
Next Friday (and the Friday after that), we're going to have a special "in memoriam" edition of our year-end "McLaughlin Awards." For the uninitiated, this means handing out basketfuls of prizes, in a myriad of categories.
So, today, rather than write a column we can all cheerfully bicker over, instead I am throwing the doors open to nominations from all and sundry.