ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles for January, 2018

A Trainwreck, And An Exit

[ Posted Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 – 18:03 PST ]

Poor Donald Trump. It seems fate has pre-empted the media reviews of his first State Of The Union speech with a story about a Republican trainwreck. That has to have annoyed Trump, one assumes. We all know how much he likes seeing people talk about him on television, so seeing the trainwreck story instead certainly must have put a damper on his victory lap.

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Snap Reactions To The State Of The Union

[ Posted Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 – 23:55 PST ]

As usual, I hereby offer up my initial snap reactions after watching both President Trump's first official State Of The Union speech (last year's was just "an address to the Congress"), and the Democratic response. I like to do this before I dive in to what others may have opined about the speech, so as not to be influenced by any Washington media groupthink. Tomorrow morning, I'll be able to see who agreed with me and who didn't, of course.

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Trump To Try Bipartisanship?

[ Posted Monday, January 29th, 2018 – 18:11 PST ]

Tomorrow night, President Donald Trump will give his first official State Of The Union speech. The White House is leaking that his speech will be the first where he reaches out in an attempt to unify the country and offer bipartisan leadership to Congress. That is a pretty tall order for this particular president, for obvious reasons. But even if he manages to deliver an impressive speech, it's not likely to change anything afterwards. At least not in the way of actual bipartisan legislation, since Democrats are not likely to strike such deals right before a midterm election that could put them in a much better bargaining position afterwards.

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Friday Talking Points [469] -- A Crazed Definition Of Modern Womanhood

[ Posted Friday, January 26th, 2018 – 18:58 PST ]

American women were in the news this week in a big way, on both sides of the political aisle. Last weekend, millions of women took to the streets to protest, once again, Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office. By the end of the week, a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri was making headlines for his rather Neanderthal views on, as he put it, "modern womanhood."

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Who Will Pay For Self-Driving Cars' Accidents?

[ Posted Thursday, January 25th, 2018 – 16:27 PST ]

We're all on the brink of entering a brave new world of self-driving cars, but what few have bothered to point out is that we're going to have to come up with an equally brave new world of legal liability in order to do so. Because nobody's really got an answer to a very basic legal question: if a self-driving car causes an accident, who gets sued? Who pays for damages and injuries? These are basic questions, but the answers are going to get complicated pretty fast.

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Marijuana Legalization Has Passed The Tipping Point

[ Posted Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 – 18:38 PST ]

The state of Vermont has just made some history. It has become the first state in the Union to legalize the recreational adult use of marijuana through its legislature. There was no citizens' referendum where the people voted the new law in; instead, representative democracy worked as designed -- a clear majority of Vermonters were in favor of legalization and their elected representatives actually represented this viewpoint by changing the law. This is important because there are many states like Vermont (24 in total) where the direct democracy of ballot initiatives never took hold. When the people can't directly vote on the issue, it is up to the state government to act, to put it another way. Vermont will become the ninth state with legal recreational marijuana this July, when the new law takes effect. Over one-fifth of the American population now lives where weed is legal. Marijuana legalization can now be said to have reached -- and passed -- the tipping point. There is no going back, at this point, to the failed War On Weed, which has been waged for approximately the last century of American history. All that is really left to happen is for the federal government to wake up to this new reality. That may still take a few years, but at this point it has to be seen as all but inevitable.

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A Taxing Problem

[ Posted Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 – 18:29 PST ]

Congressional Republicans are reportedly (and not too unsurprisingly) gearing up to run their midterm election campaign on their only significant legislative achievement to date, the tax cut bill. Democrats are also fighting for the battle of public perception over what the bill accomplished (and didn't), and the public is probably going to be rather malleable on the issue right up to the election (and beyond). Because the real effect of the tax code changes -- both good and bad -- won't be realized by most taxpayers for over a year.

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What About The House?

[ Posted Monday, January 22nd, 2018 – 18:19 PST ]

The Senate Democrats ended their government shutdown today, not with a bang but with a whimper. They did not achieve their stated objective, to force a vote on a bill to save the DACA program, but they did at least raise awareness of the issue in Washington, so it can't conveniently be swept under a rug for the foreseeable future. The moderates and the Democratic Senate leadership point to a rather squishy promise made by Mitch McConnell to hold a floor vote on a DACA bill at some point in the next two months, which was apparently enough of a commitment to assuage the fears of a majority of Democratic senators for now. But lost in all the recriminations is one glaring question: what about the House?

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Friday Talking Points [468] -- Shutdown Showdown!

[ Posted Friday, January 19th, 2018 – 18:46 PST ]

Where we find ourselves as a nation: this week, the not-at-all-liberal Wall Street Journal broke the story that Donald Trump paid off a porn star mere days before the 2016 election, to the tune of $130,000, to keep her silence about an affair they had right after he had married his third wife. It was later revealed by In Touch Weekly magazine that Trump had compared the porn star (stage name: Stormy Daniels) favorably with his daughter. And yet this news didn't even really break onto the front pages. After one year of President Trump, such a revelation is considered minor news, in other words. That's where we find ourselves as a nation, folks.

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A Simple Budget Process Fix

[ Posted Thursday, January 18th, 2018 – 18:17 PST ]

As I write this, the House of Representatives appears to be ready to hold a vote on the one-month budget extension (continuing resolution), which likely means Paul Ryan has successfully twisted enough arms of the Freedom Caucus ( Tea Partiers) and now has the votes he needs to get the bill passed. Up until a few hours ago, even this was uncertain, showing how Republicans are struggling even among themselves to get anything done. And that's before the bill goes over to the Senate, where it will likely die. Will this lead to a government shutdown tomorrow night? Or will some last-minute deal be struck to keep the doors open? At this point, nobody knows.

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