Archive of Articles for August, 2023

H.H.S. Calls For Major Retreat In Federal War On Weed

[ Posted Thursday, August 31st, 2023 – 15:12 UTC ]

Could we finally be approaching the official end to the federal "War On Weed"? That possibility now exists thanks to the Department of Health and Human Services, who just made a recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Agency. And while it is not the unconditional surrender that pro-cannabis activists have been hoping for, it certainly would be the first major retreat in this metaphorical battlefield ever. If the H.H.S. advice is adopted by the D.E.A., the federal government would scale back a position that can only be described as "Draconian," and instead adopt a position that is a whole lot closer to reality.

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Budget Battles Loom

[ Posted Wednesday, August 30th, 2023 – 16:12 UTC ]

In one month we may face yet another government shutdown crisis, if Congress doesn't act before then to pass some sort of federal budget. And from the vantage point of one month out, the possibility of chaos seems high no matter what eventually happens. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is going to be forced to act one way or another, and it seems every option he has is going to leave some portion of his own party very angry with him.

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And Then There Were 13... Or 10? Or Maybe 9?

[ Posted Tuesday, August 29th, 2023 – 16:26 UTC ]

Way back in 2015, late-night television's Stephen Colbert had a ritual bit he'd run every time a presidential candidate dropped out of the race. Using the impressive ceiling in his studio, he projected an image of the also-ran candidate à la how the deaths of each "tribute" in The Hunger Games were announced. He called it the "Hungry For Power Games." Of course, earlier this year, late-night television was the first to go dark when the Hollywood writers went on strike, so we can't expect this sort of thing in the current campaign until they are all back at work (and being paid better). Which is a shame, because the Republican presidential field is already beginning to narrow. Today, the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, became the first to officially drop out of the race.

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February, Anyone?

[ Posted Monday, August 28th, 2023 – 15:51 UTC ]

Donald Trump's legal calendar for early 2024 is filling up fast. Today, the federal judge in Washington D.C. who is overseeing Trump's January 6th trial set the trial's start date for March 4th. As many have noted, this is one day before fifteen states will hold their primaries on "Super Tuesday." While some are expressing astonishment that the trial date is surprisingly early, I find myself frustrated that it is actually scheduled far too late -- because by the time it is over, Trump may well already be the de facto Republican nominee.

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Friday Talking Points -- Mugging For The Cameras

[ Posted Friday, August 25th, 2023 – 17:17 UTC ]

We will start this column (as every public speaker is taught to) with a joke. We saw two Republican spectacles this week: the first was watching all the "not-named-Trump" presidential candidates trying to verbally mug each other onstage for two hours, and the second was Donald Trump himself scowling into a jail camera for his first-ever mugshot. You might say it's been a very muggy week all around.

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Trump Gets Booked (Again)

[ Posted Thursday, August 24th, 2023 – 17:31 UTC ]

Donald Trump is (as I write this) inside the Fulton County Jail, being processed and booked for the fourth time. This time he's not getting quite such kid-glove treatment, from either the Georgia officials or the media. For the first time, Trump will be fingerprinted and he will have a mugshot taken. Data will be entered (but probably not verified) about Trump's weight and height. Of course, he did arrive with a police and Secret Service escort (and not at the main entrance) and he will not have to sit in a holding tank with other prisoners. The broadcast media isn't going to get much in the way of live shots, which is probably why they didn't cover Trump's flight or even his motorcade in Atlanta. NBC and CBS only cut into their programming when Trump arrived at the jail, and ABC still isn't covering it (I should add that these are just my local affiliates, other stations may have handled it differently). After Trump's three previous surrenders, the media excitement level has been dialed way down.

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The First Republican Presidential Debate

[ Posted Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023 – 22:01 UTC ]

Overall, tonight's first Republican debate was pretty entertaining, at least to me. These days, the entertainment value of a debate is a lot more important than scoring any kind of ideological points, so I'm using the same scale everyone else will.

There wasn't a whole lot of actual debate about differences in ideology... some, but not a lot. It was instead more of a series of one-on-one shouting matches between two of the candidates. More on those in a moment.

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Laying In Popcorn Supplies For Tomorrow Night

[ Posted Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023 – 16:16 UTC ]

Tomorrow night will be the true kickoff to the Republican presidential primary season, as Fox hosts the first GOP presidential debate. I should mention in advance that I will be doing my usual "snap reactions" column after the debate tomorrow night, so this is my last chance to comment on things beforehand.

I thought I would run down my impressions of all the candidates who qualified for the debate, from what I have seen and heard of them so far. Some have done a better job of getting their faces out there in the media than others, which leaves for plenty of "getting to know you" moments (for me, at any rate) tomorrow night.

Anyway, without further ado -- listed in order of the strength of their polling (which will also determine how close to the center of the stage each candidate gets to stand), here are the Republican candidates who will be on stage for tomorrow night's opening GOP presidential debate:

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Could Trump Dominate The Debate In An Unexpected Way?

[ Posted Monday, August 21st, 2023 – 15:08 UTC ]

It is already conventional wisdom that Donald Trump is going to try to steal all the thunder from the first Republican presidential debate, by counterprogramming with a Tucker Carlson interview (which will assumably air simultaneously with the debate). But I think there's going to be more to it than that -- in fact, it seems incredibly obvious to me, although so far not many others seem to have picked up on it. I think Donald Trump is going to steal the show in a different and perhaps unexpected way -- by turning himself in to be processed at the Atlanta jail either right before or during the debate.

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Friday Talking Points -- Quad-Indicted?

[ Posted Friday, August 18th, 2023 – 16:54 UTC ]

Once again, the political week was dominated by news of Donald Trump. And we can all now properly identify Trump as a "twice-impeached, four-times-indicted ex-president." Sadly, the English language stops after "once... twice... thrice..." so there is no (legitimate) snappier way to say that (although we would suggest "quad-indicted," since it does seem to have a ring to it... but we digress...).

Linguistic kidding aside, Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis finally completed Trump's quartet of indictments, adding 13 more felony charges for Trump (who has now been charged with a whopping 91 felony counts in total) as well as plenty of other felonies to go around among his 18 co-defendants. Rather than take a targeted approach by just charging Trump with the easiest-to-prove-in-court charges, Willis swung for the fences and corralled all the wrongdoing within one RICO charge covering everyone. Trump and his campaign and all his legal team and even his thugs on the ground in Georgia are all now accused of being a "racketeering-influenced and corrupt organization." Sounds about right... especially after the news broke that the grand jurors who voted for the indictment have been doxxed online and are now getting threats -- just like you'd expect to see in any mob case. Trump even attempted to tamper with a witness before he even showed up to testify for the grand jury on Monday. The witness was not cowed and did testify, and very late in the evening the indictment was made public.

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