There seems to be a higher-than-usual amount of attention on grading President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office. We're still more than a week away from the milestone, yet both the media and the White House already seem to be at fever pitch over how history will see Trump's first 100 days. Maybe it's just my own perception, but I don't seem to remember quite this level of intensity for the past few presidents, or at least not this early on the calendar.
Archive of Articles in the "Afghanistan" Category
Today is when America celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's birthday, so I thought it would be an appropriate day to discuss a cultural change in America over the polite terminology used to identify what might be called characteristics of (take your pick) race, ethnicity, or cultural identity. I'll warn you from the start, however, that this is not the usual discussion most people would associate with today's holiday, but rather something which has left me scratching my head trying to figure out the reasoning behind. I will begin with one of the usual discussions people have today, and then branch off from there, in an attempt to relate it all in a loose fashion to Dr. King's holiday.
With only about four months left to go in his second term in office, President Barack Obama just had his first veto overturned by Congress. Considering Obama's rather aloof attitude towards Congress (including even members of his own party), what is extraordinary isn't so much that Obama just got overturned -- it's that it hasn't happened before now. The contentiousness between the White House and the Capitol has been pretty fierce during Obama's term, but up until this week none of his vetoes has been overturned.
Well, the first presidential debate is a done deal, and as always I like to quickly type out my own personal reactions before reading everyone else's, to give you an opinion uninfluenced by the herd mentality of the rest of the media.
One of the risks I regularly take as a blogger is to write and publish my own reactions to major political events (like debates) before I even look at what anyone else is saying. This assures the reader that my opinions and perceptions will be untainted by groupthink, and solely my own. I cannot follow the pack, as it were, if I have no idea where they're headed. But, as with any risk, occasionally it puts me in a position at odds with the political universe.
Tonight we saw the NBC pre-debate. The non-debate debate. Officially a "candidate forum," both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appeared on the same stage -- but not at the same time. The stage was an impressive one, or at least the exterior shots were, since it was held on an aircraft carrier in New York City. This was to highlight the subject of the event: foreign policy and the military.
I'm writing this while watching all of Day One of the Republican National Convention. I apologize in advance for the rather stream-of-consciousness nature of the post, but I also caution that you should get used to it, because we are in for two weeks of convention-palooza.
Before we begin, we should mention that this week's talking points section consists of a few extended excerpts from President Obama's recent speech on fighting the Islamic State. What he had to say was important, and it counters several insidious talking points that have been used against him in the past, so we felt it was worth taking over this week's talking points. Just to warn everyone up front.
Being in the midst of history sometimes mean events are not seen in the "big picture" view that historians often later take, when looking back at the period. Case in point: what will America's ongoing war eventually be known as? To date, we've been at war since October 2001, or a mind-boggling period of 15 years. This war was initially called "The Global War On Terror" by the Bush administration, which lumped in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq with all the skirmishes in various other North African and Middle East countries. The Obama administration has dropped the term, but they've never really replaced it with anything else. But what I wonder this Memorial Day is what it will be called in the future. Right now, it'd be the "Fifteen Years' War" -- but few expect all conflicts will end by the time the next president is sworn in, so eventually that number will likely be higher.
After two seemingly-endless Republican debates, this week the Democratic candidates for president finally got their turn to face off against each other on national television. While the audience was smaller (since Donald Trump was not on stage), it was still a lot bigger than most political debates in the past -- over 15 million people watched on CNN, and a further million livestreamed it. This is up from the usual audience of 2-to-5 million, it should be noted, from years past.