Archive of Articles for December, 2021

GOP Governors' Hypocrisy On COVID Relief Money

[ Posted Wednesday, December 15th, 2021 – 15:48 UTC ]

While reviewing the past year's news in preparation for my year-end columns, I came across something interesting, but didn't mark it down for any special mention. It just seemed one more bit of flotsam in the tsunami of idiocy emanating from the Republican Party over the course of a year. But then today the New York Times provided an update on the situation, so I was left thinking: "that was then, this is now," and I decided to juxtapose the two. Call it a textbook example of Republican hypocrisy.

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Gavin Newsom Steps Onto A Very Slippery Slope

[ Posted Tuesday, December 14th, 2021 – 15:43 UTC ]

California Governor Gavin Newsom has decided that the way to fight fire is with some fire of his own. This can be a valuable political tactic at times, to show the opposition party that their own schemes can be used by the other side in unforeseen ways. But doing so always runs the risk of sparking a conflagration that burns everything down. And this could be one of those times.

It's understandable what Newsom is trying to do and the message he is trying to send. It's an important message, and its intended targets are the six conservative justices on the United States Supreme Court. Plainly stated, this message is: "Be very careful what legal tactics you decide are constitutional, because they will be used in ways you do not like or approve of."

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Summit Of The Joes

[ Posted Monday, December 13th, 2021 – 17:31 UTC ]

There will be a significant phone call made in Washington today. It may even be happening as I write this. President Joe Biden and Senator Joe Manchin are going to talk directly to each other in an effort to strike some sort of deal on Biden's Build Back Better agenda -- call it a summit of the Joes.

Manchin, of course, is never at a loss for reasons why he still can't bring himself to publicly support the bill being crafted in the Senate. These reasons shift over time and he's always willing to create new ones if previous issues he has raised have already been addressed. Months ago, he called for a "pause" on the whole process, which must translate to: "let's just not do anything for another year or two," since no matter how much time passes he still seems to feel no sense of urgency whatsoever.

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Friday Talking Points -- The Hidden Biden Boom

[ Posted Friday, December 10th, 2021 – 17:04 UTC ]

Even though it is still laughably early to make any such future predictions -- especially when it comes to both the economy and politics -- Joe Biden and the Democrats could actually be poised to have a decent shot in next year's midterm elections.

That may sound shocking to some, mostly because pundits are currently predicting doom and gloom for both Biden's presidency and the midterms. But next November is still a long way away, and things change over time. Including current preconceptions.

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Build Back Better Gets A Deadline And A Poster Child

[ Posted Thursday, December 9th, 2021 – 16:49 UTC ]

Congress seems to be dispensing with all the other high-profile things that were on its calendar for the end of the year, and it's still only the second week in December. This could bode well for the chances of the Build Back Better bill actually passing the Senate on Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's stated timeline ("before Christmas"). Additionally, the bill seems to have acquired two things that will ultimately help both its passage through Congress and its appeal to the public: a deadline and an excellent "poster child" issue.

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The Fake Fox News Christmas Tree

[ Posted Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 – 17:06 UTC ]

I have to begin by apologizing for the trivial nature of today's column. It seems that after posting my annual cute kittens yesterday (to kick off our 2021 Holiday Fundraising Drive) I am now getting in touch with my inner Grinch. Or Scrooge, maybe. Or my inner nitpicky pedant, at the very least.

Because when I read the news this morning, I saw all the media hyperventilation over the arson attack which destroyed what Fox News calls (with capital letters, of course) their "All-American Christmas Tree" outside their New York headquarters. Pretty much every other news organization reported it exactly the same way Fox did -- as the destruction of "a Christmas tree." But this is not correct. It is not true. It is, to coin a phrase, fake news. Because it's pretty easy to tell, when seeing photos or videos of the arson or the aftermath that it is not actually a tree.

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Welcome To Our Annual Holiday Pledge Drive!

[ Posted Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 – 18:00 UTC ]

As 2021 draws to a close, we have to say it's been a rather mixed year all around. COVID-19 is still a threat, but nowhere near the threat it was at this time last year. Sane people have gotten vaccinated three times while the lunatic fringe still endangers us all by refusing to get even one "Fauci ouchie." And we seem to all be very slowly learning the letters of the Greek alphabet, as Delta may now be giving way to Omicron. So we're not out of the coronavirus woods yet.

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Nominations Open For Year-End Awards

[ Posted Monday, December 6th, 2021 – 16:00 UTC ]

It is December once again, so we're going to have to take care of some year-end business today. And tomorrow too, for that matter.

Let's begin with that -- our tentative schedule for the month. Today, we'll be throwing open the nominations for the first half of our year-end awards, so feel free to peruse the categories listed below and send your thoughts as to who you think deserves any of them. I didn't start asking for public nominations during the first years these columns ran, but I have been more than impressed at the quality of suggestions I've gotten since I have, so I do encourage everyone to suggest nominees! I take them all very seriously (except for the ones that make me burst out laughing, of course).

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Friday Talking Points -- How About A Little Economic Good News?

[ Posted Friday, December 3rd, 2021 – 17:29 UTC ]

Democrats, as a whole, are pretty bad about messaging. Every so often a brilliant orator breaks this mold (Bill Clinton, Barack Obama) by displaying an ease of communicating with average Americans on a relatable level while still clearly getting their point across. But for the most part, Democratic politicians struggle to master what should be a basic political artform. This problem shows up in an acute way when the subject is the economy. Democrats perpetually shy away from touting economic gains because they fear sounding "out of touch" with the people out there who are still struggling. Republicans, on the other hand, never worry about this at all -- they tout their own successes as a never-before-seen golden age of economic bliss, no matter what is actually going on around kitchen tables across the country. The GOP hammers home this "things are great!" message so effectively that a lot of people start thinking positively about the future even if their own circumstances haven't changed (or have actually gotten worse). Democrats never tap into this inherent optimism because they're always worried that someone somewhere is going to react negatively to hearing some positive news.

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A Longshot To Save Nationwide Abortion Rights

[ Posted Thursday, December 2nd, 2021 – 16:59 UTC ]

The Supreme Court has put America on notice. Once again, it is about to roll back a basic constitutional right for a major part of the country's population. They did so previously on voting rights when they gutted the Voting Rights Act, and they're about to do so again on the right to an abortion. The clock is now ticking on Roe v. Wade, and time will run out whenever they issue their opinion on the Mississippi case before them, which is expected to happen next June (at the end of their yearly term).

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