Archive of Articles for October, 2021

Two Spooktacular Tales Of Spine-Chilling Horror, For Right And Left

[ Posted Friday, October 29th, 2021 – 16:32 UTC ]

After being too despondent last year to write a Hallowe'en column (which is understandable, since the reality of the situation -- with Trump possibly about to win a second term -- was so horrendously scary I found I just couldn't top it), we return this year with our slate of annual tales of horror, for those on both the right and the left.

So sit down, imagine me holding a flashlight under my chin in a darkened room or campsite somewhere, and let me terrify you right down to your toes.

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From The Archives -- A Scary Hallowe'en Story

[ Posted Thursday, October 28th, 2021 – 17:13 UTC ]

I boarded the train in one of those Eastern European capitals that make you feel like you've stepped back about a century in time. The train car itself did nothing to dispel this notion, as the windows looked like they had last been cleaned promptly after World War I... and forgotten ever since. The upholstery on the seats was worn and threadbare, but when I sat down in one, I found that at least they were well-padded and comfortable. I settled in and looked around at my fellow travelers.

There were a few groups of people strung out throughout the train car, who all ignored me completely. They looked like tired commuters on their way home, and this proved to be the case, as they all got off at the first dozen or so stops on the outskirts of the city. I thought I would be alone for the rest of the journey, but at the last suburban stop a very old woman got on and sat down across from me. She looked a little spooky, with an eyepatch over one eye, and a bandanna tied over her hair. A mystical perfume which hinted at far-off bazaars wafted its way over to me. Her wizened visage examined me critically, and I was surprised to see a small smirk develop on her face as she did so.

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Hang Tough, Bernie!

[ Posted Wednesday, October 27th, 2021 – 15:41 UTC ]

I don't know about any of the rest of you, but at this point I'm getting pretty sick and tired of reading the output of the rumor-mill each morning. Especially since most of the rumors seem to have come true, and each and every one of them involves yet another ambitious campaign promise made by Joe Biden which has now fallen by the wayside solely because Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin keep shifting their ideological demands about what agenda items are worthy for inclusion in what was supposed to be the flagship of Biden's entire domestic legacy. That flagship has shrunk from being a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to now more resembling a medium-sized Coast Guard cutter. Don't get me wrong, a Coast Guard cutter is a fine ship and all, but it (obviously) can do far less than a flattop.

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Watching The Polls In Virginia

[ Posted Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 – 15:26 UTC ]

For whatever reason, New Jersey and Virginia set themselves up as political harbinger states. They hold their gubernatorial elections the year after presidential elections, and since they're the only two such races in the country in these off years, they almost always get plenty of national attention. The question now (as always) is: "What are the chances for the party in power in next year's midterm elections?" The fact that these two races don't always accurately predict much of anything when it comes to midterms is always conveniently ignored, as the pundits spend months dissecting both the build-up and the aftermath of the two state contests. This year is no different, and all eyes are on Virginia (since New Jersey seems safely in the Democratic column, this time around).

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The Tag-Teaming Gets Brutal

[ Posted Monday, October 25th, 2021 – 15:22 UTC ]

If Joe Biden only had one recalcitrant senator to deal with on his Build Back Better agenda, this wouldn't all be ending in so much disappointment. If it was just one of them (or even two who were united in their objections), then the horse-trading would have been a lot easier. As it stands though, the tag team of Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are ripping so much out of Biden's overall plan that it is almost guaranteed to be disappointing to most of the Democratic voters who heard Biden campaigning for president. Some might be disappointed that tuition-free community college is not going to happen, while others will be disappointed that there will be no significant reduction in prescription drug prices. Still others will become disillusioned at all the cutbacks the Child Tax Credit seems to be undergoing. The number of issues where the reality of any deal is now going to fall far shorter than the promises means a whole bunch of single-issue (or even "major-issue") voters are going to feel let down. And that could be crucial for the Democratic Party's chances in the next few elections (including Biden's himself, if he chooses to run for re-election).

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Friday Talking Points -- Contemptible!

[ Posted Friday, October 22nd, 2021 – 16:49 UTC ]

This week, the House of Representatives declared that Steve Bannon was contemptible. Well, that's not strictly legally accurate -- they actually officially held him in contempt of Congress, but it's more fun to say it the other way. Because he so obviously is, of course.

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The Disappointing Endgame Approaches

[ Posted Thursday, October 21st, 2021 – 15:47 UTC ]

So we're now really down to: "Build Back Smaller." Once again, Democrats have taken what could have been monumentally historic change and watered it down to the point where many Democratic voters are going to actually wind up disappointed, even if a deal is struck and something passes Congress and is signed into law by President Joe Biden. Whatever passes will still be historic legislation, just as Obamacare was (and still is), but a lot of Democratic voters will inevitably be left with a strong sense of "what might have been."

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Manchin's Bipartisan Delusion

[ Posted Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 – 14:46 UTC ]

Today, the United States Senate staged a Kabuki vote for the benefit of one senator. It will probably come as no surprise to hear that Senator Joe Manchin was the reason for this doomed attempt to pass new voting rights legislation. This is, in fact, the second such Kabuki vote this year on the subject, the only difference being this time around the Senate voted on the compromise plan Manchin himself had drafted. And, just like before, it failed along strict party lines. The entire exercise was designed to prove to Manchin that this was exactly what was going to happen.

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Celebrating A Decisive Franco-American Victory

[ Posted Tuesday, October 19th, 2021 – 15:02 UTC ]

Today marks the 240th anniversary of the United States of America taking its place at the world's table of nations. No, it's not the Fourth of July or even the ratification of the Constitution, but instead today is the day that British Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis surrendered his army at Yorktown, Virginia. This was the pivotal moment in the Revolutionary War when the British began negotiating with the United States instead of continuing the attempt to militarily crush the rebellion in the colonies. It was also the last significant battle fought in the American Revolution. Although the Treaty of Paris wasn't signed for two more years, this was really the point where we won the war, to put it another way. And that's certainly worth celebrating.

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Justice Delayed

[ Posted Monday, October 18th, 2021 – 16:12 UTC ]

Donald Trump made two types of legal news today. He filed suit against the House January 6th Select Committee in an attempt to block disclosure of White House records surrounding the attack on the U.S. Capitol, which will hinge on a very dubious "executive privilege" claim. But Trump is also sat down today for a video deposition in a case over Trump Tower guards' behavior towards a protest which happened when Trump first declared his bid for the presidency, back in 2015. These two separate cases bookend a real problem in America -- justice being delayed for so long it effectively becomes justice denied, just by running out the clock.

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