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Archive of Articles in the "Russia" Category

Friday Talking Points -- Republicans Show Their True Colors

[ Posted Friday, January 27th, 2023 – 17:58 UTC ]

President Joe Biden gave a speech this week on the state of the American economy. On his watch, the economy has greatly improved as we all dug ourselves out of the pandemic recession together. So Biden deserves a victory lap. He also used the speech to draw a stark comparison between Democrats responsibly steering the economy and Republicans who apparently are salivating at the prospect of blowing it all up.

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Friday Talking Points -- Biden's First Two Years

[ Posted Friday, January 20th, 2023 – 18:27 UTC ]

Two years ago today, Joseph Robinette Biden Junior was sworn in as the nation's 46th president. So how is he doing at his job? His approval rating in public opinion polls has generally improved since the midterm elections, hitting numbers he hasn't seen in a year. But those numbers are still south of 45 percent (on average), which is fairly common for a first-term president but certainly nothing to brag about.

Biden has had some notable successes as president, and some notable rocky patches as well. He entered office as the COVID-19 vaccines were becoming widely and freely available, and things seemed rosy on this front for his first year, only to get a lot grimmer as the Omicron strain hit much harder than any of the previous variants of the virus. All of a sudden we weren't done with COVID-19 and life didn't return to normal as expected. But since then, the virus has become almost an afterthought and didn't matter much to voters in the midterms (even though it had been predicted that it would be a major issue).

Biden's legislative accomplishments are more impressive than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson. True, Biden did have a Democratic Senate and House to work with, but both of those had historically-slender majorities -- L.B.J., for instance, had as many as 68 Democratic senators to work with. Biden only had 50 -- including two who loved the media spotlight so much they didn't care if they torpedoed Biden's agenda in major ways. Biden also managed to pass some major bills with bipartisan support, which is almost miraculous, these days.

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My 2022 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Friday, December 23rd, 2022 – 19:51 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, this is 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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My 2022 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]

[ Posted Friday, December 16th, 2022 – 18:45 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 it always is, a marathon not a sprint.

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From The Archives -- Rare Earth Optimism

[ Posted Wednesday, December 14th, 2022 – 16:08 UTC ]

Twelve years ago, I wrote about an obscure subject that I felt needed a lot more attention. So I was happy today to see as a lead story on the Politico site a cheerful update to that story. And since I am currently busy as a beaver reviewing the past year in preparation for my year-end awards columns, I thought it would be a good day to revisit an older column (warning: tomorrow might see a rerun column as well).

The obscure subject in question is the mining and production of rare earths. These are elements that used to only have specific uses in consumer products (making television screens that had the reddest of reds, mostly), but these days are essential in all kinds of high-tech equipment, from the phone in your pocket to military jet fighters and missiles.

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Friday Talking Points -- ($-AZ)

[ Posted Friday, December 9th, 2022 – 18:55 UTC ]

We had fully intended to begin today's column with the news from Georgia, to celebrate Senator Raphael Warnock's re-election. At some point, we would have gotten around to some snark directed at Joe Manchin, since he wouldn't be such a pivotal vote any more, given the 51-seat majority Democrats will now enjoy. And as an afterthought, we would have tossed in Kyrsten Sinema's name as well, since she deserves a heaping helping of snark as well.

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Friday Talking Points -- Noxious Exploding Fumes

[ Posted Friday, December 2nd, 2022 – 18:18 UTC ]

This week, there was a massive toxic explosion of hot air and noxious fumes, which caused many to flee in terror from the spectacle. Also, in Hawai'i, the volcano Mauna Loa erupted.

Sorry for being so sarcastic, but we couldn't resist.

But we'll get to all of the White supremacy and Nazism and Donald Trump in a bit, instead let's start off with some positive news.

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Reasons To Be Thankful

[ Posted Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022 – 16:35 UTC ]

I should begin with a program note: this will be the last column for this week. See you back here next Monday! I am taking the vacation off because really, who wants to read about politics over Thanksgiving weekend anyway?

It's been a slow political week in the news (other than all the bad news on the legal front for Donald Trump), so instead of chasing stories today I thought I would just make a little list of things I am personally thankful for and leave it at that.

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Hoping This Duck Won't Turn Into A Turkey

[ Posted Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 – 15:40 UTC ]

That is a rather convoluted headline, but I had to work the word "turkey" in there somehow, so I apologize. But the thought is real -- the lame-duck session of Congress has a lot to get done in a very short period of time, and if it doesn't succeed on multiple fronts it will set the stage for future chaos. The time to act is now, because the consequences of not acting would be severe.

There are two critical things the lame-duck Congress must achieve, as well as a number of other issues it would be nice to see some progress on. The Senate actually started with one of these, by advancing the Respect For Marriage Act past a filibuster attempt with an impressive 62-37 vote. They still have to hold a final vote on it, and then send it over to the House but it is looking like this will be the first thing accomplished in the lame-duck session. It should rightly be seen as a rebuke of the Supreme Court's radical overreach, so it is important.

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Friday Talking Points -- Trump Slumps

[ Posted Friday, November 18th, 2022 – 17:26 UTC ]

It was another rather momentous week in politics, as the Republicans chalked up enough midterm wins to retake control of the House of Representatives but fell short in the Senate, where Democrats picked up one seat (which is enough to assure them control) with one race still waiting for a runoff election in early December. The GOP will have a razor-thin House majority, which is quite likely to produce nothing but chaos for the next two years. After the results were known, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she (and her whole team) would step away from leadership roles and allow a generational shift to happen in the Democratic House caucus. And Donald Trump formally announced his third bid for the presidency, which didn't exactly go over as well as he might have hoped. Plus there will be the first White House wedding in years, and Joe Biden will become the first octogenarian to occupy the Oval Office when he turns 80 years old on Sunday. All in all, a big week.

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