Archive of Articles for March, 2018

Friday Talking Points [478] -- Seeking Lead Lawyer For Difficult Client

[ Posted Friday, March 30th, 2018 – 17:22 UTC ]

By Trumpian standards, this has been a relatively quiet week. After all, the president only fired a single cabinet secretary, and zero high-ranking aides! Plus, Trump hasn't attacked Stormy Daniels on Twitter even once, after her bombshell interview on 60 Minutes last Sunday. For Trump, this shows some newfound restraint.

Read Complete Article »

Schrödinger's Sex Scandal

[ Posted Thursday, March 29th, 2018 – 17:13 UTC ]

Today, we're going to take a trip down the rabbit hole with Schrödinger's (Cheshire?) cat. If that sounds like a mixed-up metaphor, that's because it is. Our fantastical journey starts off as a Charles Dodgson-style syllogism, but since it contains such circular logic it winds up being an Erwin Schrödinger-style thought experiment. Did they or didn't they? Well, until the wave function collapses into a single eigenstate, President Donald Trump's lawyer's lawyer would have us all believe that they both did and didn't, at the same time. The cat is both alive and dead, in other words. While this may be the most obscure and confusing lead paragraph I have ever personally written, such obscurity seems to be almost required these days, to talk about the growing sex scandal (or non-sex scandal) surrounding Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels.

Read Complete Article »

Census Bureau Doesn't Always Live Up To Its Ideals

[ Posted Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 – 17:20 UTC ]

The Trump administration just announced that it will be adding a citizenship question to the main U.S. Census form that all United States residents will be getting in 2020. Already, several states have sued to block this move, since it could obviously lead to undercounting the actual population. The Justice Department is attempting to claim that the data is necessary to uphold voting rights, but it strains credulity to picture Jeff Sessions being suddenly concerned about upholding federal voting laws, given his history on civil rights. The Census Bureau is trying to put itself on the side of the angels as well, insisting that individual data would never be turned over to law enforcement agencies so that undocumented immigrants could be rounded up. But their hands aren't exactly historically clean either, which is why it's tough to make the case that anyone refusing to answer the citizenship question on their Census form is somehow being overly paranoid.

Read Complete Article »

Paul Ryan On The Way Out?

[ Posted Tuesday, March 27th, 2018 – 16:54 UTC ]

Rumors are swirling inside the Beltway that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan may not be around for very much longer. If this seems too good to be true for Democrats, well, it's because it likely is -- at least for the time being. But there's more than one way to skin this particular cat. So let's take a look at all the various ways Paul Ryan could exit both his current leadership position and his House seat, just for fun.

Read Complete Article »

The March For Our Lives Could Change The Politics Of Gun Control

[ Posted Monday, March 26th, 2018 – 18:06 UTC ]

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School staged an incredibly successful rally in Washington this weekend, as hundreds of thousands of students, parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens marched to demand stricter gun control laws. It was an impressive feat, since in general high school students are not normally expected to organize anything more complicated than the school yearbook or the prom. I personally could not imagine my former self (at that age) joining together with other students to create such a massive event in a little over one month's time. So the students deserve a whole lot of credit for pulling it off in such spectacular fashion. But the biggest question overhanging the success of the march was whether it will actually change anything or not in the politics of gun control legislation.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [477] -- Read The Bill!

[ Posted Friday, March 23rd, 2018 – 18:00 UTC ]

Add this week in Congress to the enormous mountain of steaming Republican hypocrisy, we suppose. Remember back when Republicans got their knickers in such a big twist over Democrats passing lengthy bills without adequate time for congressmen to understand? When the Affordable Care Act passed, some Republicans even chanted "Read the bill!" in protest during the vote. Those were the days, eh? When Republicans retook Congress, they did so in part on a promise that every bill would have a 72-hour period between when it was released publicly and when the vote would happen, in both chambers of Congress. That statement, as they say in Washington, is no longer operative. The Republican-led Congress just passed a 2,200-plus page omnibus budget bill mere hours after the text was released (the House voted 17 hours after the bill was filed, which fell 55 hours short of their promise). Neither the House nor the Senate got anywhere near three days to read the bill. Which is one more big dump on top of the rest of "GOP Hypocrisy Mountain," raising it to new malodorous heights.

Read Complete Article »

A New Tariff In Town

[ Posted Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 – 17:22 UTC ]

President Trump's White House made two announcements on tariffs today, which was likely not a coincidence. The big announcement was that Trump will be levying new tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese goods. Specifics will follow, within a few weeks. The timing of this may have been intentional, because the Trump administration also revealed today that the steel and aluminum tariffs aren't going to be anywhere near as tough as Trump initially stated. If the idea was for one bit of tariff news to hide the other, this largely seems to have worked. However, the big tariff news caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to react by plummeting 700 points.

Read Complete Article »

Democrats Should Run Against Ryan And McConnell

[ Posted Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 – 17:19 UTC ]

Although it hasn't gotten a whole lot of media attention yet, this is another one of those weeks when Congress actually does something, because they are forced to. A handful of times each year, Congress runs up against a calendar deadline (usually one of their own making), and is thus forced to pass a bill or else (choose one): the federal government will shut down, the country will default on the national debt, some large group of people will be royally screwed by congressional inaction, or (the worst of them all, to congresscritters) one of the enormous number of congressional vacation weeks will be in peril of being delayed or cancelled.

Read Complete Article »

Two State Court Cases With National Political Impact

[ Posted Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 – 17:06 UTC ]

Two completely unrelated court actions are in the news today. There is no real common thread between the two, other than that they both involve state court actions and that both have rather large political overtones. So just to warn you up front, there won't be any sweeping conclusion at the end that ties the two cases together in any way (fair warning).

Read Complete Article »

Dare Trump To Face The Press

[ Posted Monday, March 19th, 2018 – 16:38 UTC ]

At the end of this week, President Trump will hit a milestone -- he will have gone a whopping 400 days since giving a formal solo press conference. In his entire 14 months in office, he has given precisely one such press conference, in February of 2017. So what is he so afraid of? The press corps needs to do a much better job of pointing this out, by absolutely daring Trump to hold another no-holds-barred press conference.

Read Complete Article »