Archive of Articles for February, 2024

Justice Delayed

[ Posted Thursday, February 29th, 2024 – 16:44 UTC ]

Will Donald Trump ever face justice for the events surrounding the January 6th attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol? Or will justice be delayed so long that justice will eventually be denied? These are now open questions, after the Supreme Court has injected more months of delay into the process.

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Republican Kabuki Returns

[ Posted Wednesday, February 28th, 2024 – 16:50 UTC ]

When he was elected to his leadership role, my initial reaction to Speaker of the House Mike Johnson's ascension was that the odds of him still being speaker beyond Valentine's Day were only about 50-50. Here we are at the end of February, and he's still speaker... but those odds might catch up to him soon. Congress has been punting the budget bill repeatedly since the start of last October, and they're lining up in punt formation once again. This time, however, it will be a very short punt and might actually end up with a budget (or at least part of one) being passed and signed into law by President Joe Biden as early as next week. Hey, stranger things have happened, right?

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Protest Vote Speculation

[ Posted Tuesday, February 27th, 2024 – 16:13 UTC ]

Michigan is holding its primaries today, and the political media's main focus seems to be on the people who won't be voting for the two main candidates in the race. On the Republican side, the question is not whether Donald Trump is going to win or not (he is) but on how many people will vote for Nikki Haley, who is still clinging on to relevance. On the Democratic side, the question is not whether President Joe Biden is going to win or not (he is) but on how many people mark their ballot "uncommitted," in protest over his policies towards Israel and the Gaza Strip. When everyone already knows which two horses are going to win, to put this another way, then they've got to find something else to talk about.

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It's Not Just About Abortion

[ Posted Monday, February 26th, 2024 – 15:45 UTC ]

Democrats are beginning to widen their political message in a way that could prove to be a big winner for them not just in November but for years to come. So far, the fallout from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade has been overwhelmingly positive for Democrats, since the majority of Americans actually favor abortion rights for all women. And now Democrats have the clear opportunity to link a number of other things to the proven political winner abortion rights has turned out to be. In fact, they should adopt a new slogan: "It's not just about abortion."

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Friday Talking Points -- A Slow Sort Of Week

[ Posted Friday, February 23rd, 2024 – 18:08 UTC ]

Because this week had a federal holiday at the start of it, Congress is off on vacation for two entire weeks. Nice work if you can get it, eh?

It's not as if they don't have anything to do, either. When they return, the Senate will hold the first impeachment trial for a sitting cabinet member ever (although "trial" may be overstating it, since it may be over before it even begins, with a simple vote to dismiss the nonsensical articles of impeachment the House finally was able to pass), the House will be under pressure to pass some sort of military aid for Ukraine before their soldiers are reduced to fighting with pointy sticks, and Congress will be staring at yet another government-shutdown deadline at the end of the week. Those are just the big things on the congressional plate, mind you. But after all their hard work (at not getting anything done on time), they all needed two weeks of relaxation, obviously.

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A Cosmic Interlude

[ Posted Thursday, February 22nd, 2024 – 18:25 UTC ]

I am playing hooky from politics today, because right in the middle of my usual writing time there will be a cosmic event streamed live. For the first time since 1972, a vehicle launched from the United States of America will attempt a "soft landing" on the Moon. "Soft landing" means it's going to try to land rather than just crashing into the Moon's surface. This is a historic occasion, made even more so by the fact that the spacecraft was launched by a private company, on top of a different private company's rocket. The event will be streamed live by NASA, but unlike the last American landing on the Moon (Apollo 17, which touched down on December 11, 1972) the mission is being carried out completely by private companies.

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Biden Impeachment Investigation About To End Not With A Bang But A Whimper

[ Posted Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 – 16:43 UTC ]

T. S. Eliot wrote a poem that seems entirely appropriate to quote from today, since it aptly sums up the Republican effort in the House of Representatives to find something -- anything! -- to use to impeach President Joe Biden. After more than a year of digging, they have found less than nothing. Their one crown jewel of an accusation was brought by a man who is now being charged with lying about the entire thing to the F.B.I. Which is why the final lines of "The Hollow Men" seemed appropriate to quote (emphasis in original):

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but with a whimper.

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Biden Should Address The Nation

[ Posted Tuesday, February 20th, 2024 – 16:52 UTC ]

It is a rare event, but every so often I have to fully agree with a Republican. I was going to write this today anyway, begging for the same thing (for broader reasons), so this definitely caught my eye. Here is Representative Chris Smith from New Jersey, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (which just introduced a foreign aid and border security deal as an alternative to the Senate-passed "foreign-aid-only" bill), advising President Biden to publicly go on offense over Ukraine military aid right now:

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From The Archives -- Moving Washington's Birthday

[ Posted Monday, February 19th, 2024 – 16:35 UTC ]

Happy Presidents' Day to all!

Well, to all who live in Hawai'i, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Vermont, at the very least. These are the states which officially recognize today as "Presidents' Day." Unlike other federal holidays, however, there is much disagreement and controversy surrounding the holiday. Not so much the holiday itself, but over what to call it (and when to celebrate it). In states such as California and Alaska (and, notably, the state of Washington), the apostrophe moves and it is known as "President's Day." This can be read as either snubbing all the other presidents (since the holiday originally celebrated one president's birthday), or celebrating the presidency itself (or the day of the president, to put it another way). But even without such grammatical gymnastics, the day has plenty of other official titles. Some states such as Michigan and New Jersey dispense with the apostrophe altogether and just call it "Presidents Day." Some states get flowery ("Recognition of the birthday of George Washington" in North Dakota), and some get inclusive ("Lincoln's and Washington's Birthday" in Montana, "Lincoln/Washington/Presidents' Day" in Arizona, and "Washington and Lincoln Day" in Utah), and some even throw in a local personage to the mix ("George Washington's Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day" in Arkansas). Wikipedia lists ten separate official state titles for the holiday, in fact.

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Friday Talking Points -- Grinding Exceedingly Fine

[ Posted Friday, February 16th, 2024 – 18:04 UTC ]

That headline comes from the end of an aphorism that goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks: "The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine." Today, the wheels of justice just ground out a penalty of $355 million for Donald Trump, for committing serial fraud in his New York businesses -- which we certainly found to be an "exceedingly fine" result of the case (an "exceedingly fine fine," maybe?). The $355 million can now be added to the $88 million Trump is already on the hook for, after losing two other civil cases (the defamation cases brought by E. Jean Carroll). Plus, in today's ruling, two of Trump's children were fined $4 million each, as well as a $1 million fine for another member of the Trump Organization (making it a $364 million penalty, in all). This was the capstone to a week watching the slow grind of multiple court cases Trump is currently ensnared in, so we thought it was an appropriate place to start our column this week.

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