Archive of Articles for October, 2022

Loudly Proclaim A Very Big Deal

[ Posted Monday, October 17th, 2022 – 16:30 UTC ]

OK, I can't resist, so let's start off with: "Hear ye, hear ye! President Joe Biden has successfully gotten rid of an outdated and unnecessary rule, which will save millions of people thousands of dollars each." How's that for some good news to start the week? From now on, anyone will be able to walk into a drug store and buy a hearing aid over the counter. No doctor's appointment or prescription will be required.

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Friday Talking Points -- Will Trump Take The Bait?

[ Posted Friday, October 14th, 2022 – 16:29 UTC ]

Maybe he'll actually take the bait, who knows?

Maybe Donald Trump's planet-sized ego and rampant unbridled narcissism will convince him that there just is no possible downside to testifying in front of the January 6th House Select Committee. This isn't just idle speculation, as hours after yesterday's hearing New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman posted the following (which has since been similarly reported in multiple media outlets):

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The House January 6th Select Committee Hearings [Episode 9]

[ Posted Thursday, October 13th, 2022 – 16:47 UTC ]

The House Select Committee investigating January 6th presented the ninth in their series of televised hearings today, although (as we were informed at the start by Chair Bennie Thompson) this was not technically a hearing, but rather a business meeting for the committee. The reason for this change became evident at the end, when the committee voted publicly and unanimously to subpoena the testimony of Donald John Trump.

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A Party That Condemns Racism Versus A Party That Enables It

[ Posted Wednesday, October 12th, 2022 – 15:29 UTC ]

The moral divide between the two major American political parties has become pretty stark. On the one hand, you have a party which stands for respect, inclusiveness, diversity, and multiculturalism; and on the other you have a party which no longer even feels the necessity to cloak its racist language in "dog whistles" anymore. Dog whistles are so passé, at least over on the Republican side of the aisle today. All manner of bigotry (including racism) is now not something for the GOP to condemn or punish or even be ashamed about, instead it is to be either enabled (by saying nothing) or actually celebrated in front of throngs of cheering crowds.

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Space Rocks

[ Posted Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 – 16:02 UTC ]

That title is, of course, a play on words. Just like every other kid who grew up in the Space Age, I have always found space to be rather cool. Watching astronauts walk on the moon is one of my earliest memories, in fact. But if that's truly what I was imparting here -- just an enthusiasm for mankind's forays into the void -- it would have been exclamatory: "Space Rocks!" Instead, it has a more literal meaning, without any verb implied. Because space isn't exactly "full" of rocks wheeling around out there, but there are enough of them that one of them could threaten Earth at some future point. If the space rock was big enough, it could even cause an "extinction-level event," much like the impact which wiped out the dinosaurs. There's even a whole movie genre devoted to the problem: from the 1950s When Worlds Collide to the more-modern Deep Impact and Armageddon to the more recent (and much more cynical) Don't Look Up.

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The Pollsters Can't Tell Who Will Vote

[ Posted Monday, October 10th, 2022 – 14:51 UTC ]

We seem to be entering the homestretch of the midterm election cycle, and I should begin by pointing out that this term is loaded with meaning. A "homestretch," of course, is the last part of a race, generally a horse race. So that's what the political media reports on -- the "horserace" aspect of the contest. Or, put more simply: the polls. But the reputation of professional pollsters has taken quite a beating over the past six years, as they have been proven surprisingly wrong time and time again. So everyone should cast a very skeptical eye over all the polls we'll all be hearing about over the next month. Because the recent polling miscalls (most notably in 2016 and 2020) can all be boiled down to one key cause: pollsters cannot accurately predict who is going to turn out to vote.

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Friday Talking Points -- Biden Walks Back The War On Weed

[ Posted Friday, October 7th, 2022 – 16:45 UTC ]

We were reminded of an old political saying this week: "Only Nixon could go to China." Only a president who was long known as a staunch anti-communist warrior could open up American relations with communist China in the depths of the Cold War, without being painted as some sort of pinko/commie back home. This week's update might read: "Only Biden could pardon weed crimes." Joe Biden, before he became Barack Obama's vice president, had spent much of his life in the Senate being the biggest, baddest drug warrior around. He actually coined the term "drug czar" and worked with the Reagan administration to make the Office of National Drug Control Policy a reality. He's never been pro-legalization in any way, a fact that didn't exactly help him in the 2020 Democratic primaries. But there he was yesterday, taking the first steps away from the War On Weed that any U.S. President has ever taken.

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"We Can Work With That...."

[ Posted Thursday, October 6th, 2022 – 14:19 UTC ]

[The scene: A room deep within the Republican Party headquarters. Applicants are being screened as possible future candidates for office. There is a panel of GOP bigwigs behind a table, as the door opens and a rather large creature with reddish skin enters and takes a seat facing the panel.]

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Playing The Victim Card

[ Posted Wednesday, October 5th, 2022 – 15:38 UTC ]

The Republican Party has gone through a number of complete 180-degree ideological turns in the past few years (since Donald Trump's hostile takeover bid), but one of the most shameless is how they have now perfected a tactic they used to roundly criticize Democrats for using: "Playing the victim card." A few decades back, when marginalized groups started demanding real political power (or even just "a seat at the table"), Republicans would heap scorn on them for "playing the victim card." To them, this meant these marginalized groups were trading on the injustices they had suffered throughout history to get favored status that would dilute the power of straight White males. They rarely came out and admitted it in such stark terms, but that was at the heart of it. By their rights, these marginalized people should have just pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and achieved the American dream and power without any help or consideration from society at large. As far as Republicans were concerned, playing the victim card was a bad and weak and shameful thing to do.

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Ukrainian Military On The March

[ Posted Tuesday, October 4th, 2022 – 15:49 UTC ]

Once again, the Ukrainian military has impressed the world and humiliated Vladimir Putin's Russia. Whole Russian battlefronts are collapsing, in two major areas of the country. In one, the Russians apparently were ordered to pull back, but in the other they were just plain overrun by Ukrainian advances. Militarily, significant gains have been made (and are being made, even as I write this), but there is still a whole lot of occupied territory left for Ukraine to retake (just to keep things in perspective). But for the time being, Ukraine has scored both a psychological victory and a very real military one on the ground.

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