Archive of Articles for December, 2023

My 2023 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Friday, December 29th, 2023 – 19:20 UTC ]

Welcome back to the second of our year-end awards columns! And if you missed it last Friday, go check out [Part 1] as well.

As always, we must begin with a warning for all readers. It's long. Really, really long. Horrendously long. Insanely long. It takes a lot of stamina to read all the way to the end. You have been duly warned! But because it is so long, we certainly don't want to add any more here at the start, so let's just dive in, shall we?

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From The Archives -- The Biggest Conspiracy Of All

[ Posted Wednesday, December 27th, 2023 – 17:46 UTC ]

Speaking as someone who generally enjoys a good conspiracy theory just for the "creative writing" aspect alone, in all good conscience I simply must report this shocking news: I have uncovered a big, fat conspiracy that is no mere theory. We're either being lied to, or we're joining in the propagation of the lie ourselves, with merriment. In actual fact, it would not be hyperbole to call this the father of all conspiracies.

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My 2023 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]

[ Posted Friday, December 22nd, 2023 – 17:37 UTC ]

Welcome to the first installment of our year-end awards!

As always, we must begin with a stern warning: this is an incredibly long article. So long you likely won't make it to the end, at least not in one sitting. It is -- as always -- a marathon, not a sprint.

We have tried to credit readers' nominations where we could, but writing the whole column is such a frenzied activity that we may have omitted the citations here and there -- for which we apologize. Reader suggestions make our job putting together this list a whole lot easier, and we are indeed grateful for the people who do take the time to do so (and you still have a chance to make nominations for next week's awards, we would point out).

OK, since it is so long, let's not make it any longer and get right to it. Here are our winners for the awards categories first created on the McLaughlin Group television show, for the year that was.

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From The Archives -- Why Christmas Is Not On The Solstice

[ Posted Thursday, December 21st, 2023 – 18:18 UTC ]

When is Christmas? And why?

These are questions guaranteed to get you funny looks when you pop them, especially in a gathering of wassail-soaked relatives. But if you're tired of hearing the seemingly-eternal "this is what Uncle Fred did when he was twelve" stories, and you're leery of bringing up politics with your kin from Outer Podunk, then it's at least a conversation-starter that's somewhat neutral. Plus, you can reaffirm your nearest-and-dearests' image of you as a latte-sipping fruitcake who moved away from the glory of the heartland and now lives on (say it with an embarrassed whisper) the coast.

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A Constitutional Question

[ Posted Wednesday, December 20th, 2023 – 17:11 UTC ]

The Colorado supreme court decision that ruled Donald Trump ineligible for the state's primary ballot was a legal and political earthquake, and we're still experiencing the aftershocks of it. For the moment the questions are fairly simple: will the United States Supreme Court hear and rule on the case before the January 5th deadline or not? And, of course, which way will they rule, if they take it up? But there are going to be further reverberations from this that echo across other states as well, so we could all be in for a very bumpy ride.

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Farewell And Godspeed, Mr. Roadshow

[ Posted Tuesday, December 19th, 2023 – 15:19 UTC ]

I realize that it is the height of the holiday season and I should be either writing about politics or attempting to dispense my own particular brand of holiday cheer, but instead today I am personally moved to write an obituary for a well-loved newspaper columnist. Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer the week before Christmas -- which is why I am warning everyone here up front (in case you'd prefer to skip today's article and instead seek out something more cheerful).

I am not alone today -- far from it -- in mourning the news of the passing of Gary Richards. For those of you who don't now or have never lived in or around Silicon Valley, he was a feature writer for the San Jose Mercury News. But few called him by his given name, because for over three decades he was much more well-known by the title of his column series: Mr. Roadshow. His beat was traffic. And the roads. And drivers. And all things transportation, really.

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Trump's Xenophobia Is Nothing New

[ Posted Monday, December 18th, 2023 – 17:05 UTC ]

Donald Trump loves to whip up fear of "the other." He's been doing it for decades, in fact. So the news that he's continuing to do so out on the campaign trail -- in the most vile language possible -- shouldn't really come as that big a shock to anyone, really. But it is being widely covered in the media mostly as if it were some sort of recent development. My response to this reaction is simple: "Where have you been for the past eight years?!?"

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Friday Talking Points -- A Seinfeldian Impeachment Inquiry

[ Posted Friday, December 15th, 2023 – 18:40 UTC ]

President Joe Biden now has an official impeachment inquiry investigating him in the Republican-held House of Representatives. It is the most singular such inquiry in American history, since nobody -- not even the people who have been pushing the idea -- can say precisely what crime Biden has supposedly committed. So for now, they're just investigating him for the crime of (take your pick): being Joe Biden. Or being a Democratic president. Or beating Donald Trump. Or (most likely, given the Republican monomania on the idea) being Hunter Biden's father.

None of these things are actual crimes, it bears pointing out. But that simply doesn't matter to the House. They're merrily on their way to impeaching Biden for one reason and one reason alone: because Donald Trump wanted them to. Trump is still miffed (to put it mildly) that he's the only U.S. president to have been impeached not one time but twice. So, as far as he is concerned, Republicans have a duty to turn the tables and impeach the man who beat him at the polls, to try to weaken him for the presidential rematch that is shaping up for next year.

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Gone Fishin'

[ Posted Thursday, December 14th, 2023 – 16:59 UTC ]

The United States House of Representatives has gone fishing. They've already been fishing in the same waters for months, but they've now done the equivalent of putting up an official "Gone Fishin' !!" sign on their door. They have yet to catch anything even remotely edible, but they remain ever hopeful.

For the first time in American history, an impeachment inquiry into a sitting president has been approved by the House without any actual "high crimes and misdemeanors" specified. Oh, they have their suspicions about what crimes President Joe Biden may have committed, but no actual evidence of anything. Hence the fishing expedition. Every single House Republican voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry, while every single Democrat voted against it.

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For The Rest Of Us

[ Posted Wednesday, December 13th, 2023 – 17:23 UTC ]

Satanism has become a bone of contention in the Republican presidential primary. No, really! We're so far through the looking glass that you just can't make stuff like this up anymore, since reality provides an adequate diet of "sentences I thought I would never write."

It started with an modern annual tradition. In Iowa, the Satanic Temple successfully petitioned to erect their own holiday display in the statehouse, alongside the Christian and Jewish displays. They put up a mirror-bedecked goat's-headed statue, wearing a pentagram/wreath on his chest. Because, you know, the holidays!

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