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Archive of Articles in the "Television" Category

From The Archives -- Demand Full Media Disclosure: What's Your Tax Bracket?

[ Posted Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 – 20:42 PDT ]

Apologies for the lack of an original column today, and also happy Tax Day to everyone. Yes, those two are connected.

Snark aside, I thought the following article would be worth running again, what with the current debate over Sean Hannity and his lack of full disclosure on the Michael Cohen story. Since it's also tax day, I remembered the one time I devoted an entire article to the concept of journalistic full disclosure. It's from quite a few years ago, and (sadly) nothing has changed. Enjoy, and rest assured, new columns will resume tomorrow.

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Assessing The Raid On Syria

[ Posted Monday, April 16th, 2018 – 18:01 PDT ]

This weekend, the United States, France, and Great Britain launched an airstrike on Syria which involved a little over 100 cruise missiles fired at three targets, all stated to be involved with Syria's chemical weapons program. This was a retaliatory strike, in reaction to a chemical weapons attack the United States claims was launched by Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad. Doing so crossed the American "red line" and thus had to be punished.

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Friday Talking Points [480] -- Unnecessary Immature Potshots

[ Posted Friday, April 13th, 2018 – 18:09 PDT ]

James Comey's long-awaited tell-all book is out (to reviewers) and Republicans from the Oval Office on down are already freaking out. So far, the winner of the "most hilariously ironic attempt at spin" award is unquestionably Kellyanne Conway. Conway, of course, absolutely personifies one of the lyrics from Trump's favorite Rolling Stones song ("You Can't Always Get What You Want"), as she easily could have been the inspiration for the line: "She was practiced at the art of deception." In an article about the White House's reaction to the book, Conway was quoted dismissing the book as "a revisionist view of history" and (even more hilariously) accused Comey of taking "unnecessary immature potshots." The ironic part? The very same article begins with: "President Trump lashed out Friday at former F.B.I. director James B. Comey on Twitter, calling him a 'weak and untruthful slime ball' who deserved to be fired 'for the terrible job he did.' " So Comey's book was full of "unnecessary immature potshots," but calling a former F.B.I. director a "weak and untruthful slime ball" is downright presidential. Got it, Kellyanne. Oh, and there's a bridge in New York City we'd like to sell you, too.

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Welcome On Board, John Boehner!

[ Posted Thursday, April 12th, 2018 – 17:23 PDT ]

With just over a week to go before the annual "4/20" celebration of marijuana, former speaker of the House John Boehner just jumped on the legalization bandwagon. This is a rather extraordinary and stunning turn of events, since Boehner was pretty adamant about his opposition to any form of legalization while he was still in office (when he could have actually done some good), but he now says he has evolved on the issue. I, for one, am glad to take him at his word and welcome him on board the pro-legalization bandwagon. The more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned.

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Après Ryan, Le Déluge

[ Posted Wednesday, April 11th, 2018 – 16:22 PDT ]

It's been a good week for quoting French kings, it seems -- and it's only mercredi! First there was Donald Trump's petulant response to his private lawyer (and reputed "fixer") getting raided by the feds: "It's an attack on our country, in a true sense." Many compared Trump's equation of his own personal legal troubles with an attack on the country at large to King Louis XIV's famous statement: "L'état, c'est moi." For Louis, this statement (essentially: "I am the state") was in large part true -- but not so much for Donald Trump. Trump (thankfully) is not an absolute monarch, so for him to say a federal investigation of his lawyer is "an attack on our country" is laughable, at best.

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Getting Closer To Trump By The Day

[ Posted Tuesday, April 10th, 2018 – 16:23 PDT ]

Federal agents just searched the homes and offices of the personal lawyer of the president of the United States. That is an extraordinary thing to say, but then we live in extraordinary times. The search warrant would not have been granted unless probable cause existed that Michael Cohen had participated in a crime. Furthermore, that subpoenas would not be effective in securing proof of this crime or crimes, therefore a no-knock warrant was necessary (in other words, to prevent Cohen from destroying evidence). But make no mistake about it, the real target of this search was Donald Trump himself. Because the federal investigations (plural) are getting closer and closer to Trump by the day.

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Friday Talking Points [479] -- Welcome To The Trump Trade War

[ Posted Friday, April 6th, 2018 – 18:33 PDT ]

First, Donald Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum. Then China reacted with $3 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods (mostly farm goods -- fruit, nuts, and pork). Trump hit back with the threat of tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods. The Chinese, not to be outdone, announced that if this happens they'll be slapping their own tariffs on $50 billion in American goods -- most notably, soybeans. Trump then tripled down, announcing further tariffs on $100 billion of Chinese goods. So begins the great Sino-American trade war of 2018. Or, as we like to call it, the Trump trade war. Why not give proper credit where it is due, after all?

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Roseanne Continues Long Tradition

[ Posted Thursday, April 5th, 2018 – 17:46 PDT ]

This is going to be a rather strange column for me to write, because it centers on a few subjects that I don't normally write about. In fact, I usually studiously avoid writing about these subjects. But with all the hoo-hah over the reboot of the television sitcom Roseanne, I felt it was time to chime in on popular television culture and my own television viewing preferences. Again, two subjects that I normally strive to avoid, mostly because this just isn't that kind of blog. So if these subjects bore you to death, I'd just stop reading right now. Fair warning.

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Republicans Getting More Worried About The Blue Wave

[ Posted Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 – 17:13 PDT ]

Another Wednesday, another Democratic win in a special election to celebrate. That's the way it feels, at any rate, hearing the news from Wisconsin, where a liberal judge beat out an N.R.A.-supported conservative by a 12-point margin (56 percent to 44 percent). This follows on the heels of Conor Lamb's victory in Pennsylvania, and the incredible upset of Doug Jones over Roy Moore in Alabama. Throughout much of last year, special elections got Democrats fired up nationwide, only to fall short when the votes were counted (such as Jon Ossoff's painful loss in Georgia). But since November, this tide seems to have turned. Now Democrats are not just posting big gains but actually winning these elections, many in states and districts where they really should be losing big-time. Wisconsin's was the latest of these, although Wisconsin is admittedly more of a purple state than, say, Alabama.

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Red State Unrest

[ Posted Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 – 17:26 PDT ]

Red-state teachers are currently in open revolt against the failure of conservatives to deliver on their economic promises. Republicans in these states embraced tax cuts because (as they told everyone) this would unleash the economy and prosperity for all would soon follow. What happened instead is the same thing that always happens when supply-side economics is attempted -- falling tax revenues which force massive cuts to what were formerly untouchable parts of the budget. Like education. But the teachers are tired of taking it on the chin and are now fighting back. They're sick of being paid a pittance (compared to teachers in other states), they're sick of the lack of resources for their students (books and classrooms that are falling apart), and they're sick of dodges like four-day weeks which desperately try to paper over the hard, cold fact that if you cut taxes on a massive scale, you will have less money to spend to educate your children.

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