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Nominations Are Open For 2022 Year-End Awards

[ Posted Thursday, December 8th, 2022 – 16:49 UTC ]

'Tis the season once again to solicit nominations for our year-end awards. Welcome to the first round of categories!

Before we get to the list, a few words on the rest of the year's calendar. Tomorrow will be a normal Friday Talking Points day, but it will be the final one of the year. The week after, December 16th, the first year-end awards column will appear.

The following Friday, Christmas Eve Eve, so to speak, the second half of the awards will run. I probably won't be posting new columns the final week of the year, unless something noteworthy enough to demand comment happens (which can always happen).

New Friday Talking Points columns will resume on the first Friday of the new year.

For the nonce, here is the list of categories for our year-end awards. If your memory needs refreshment for any reason, check out last year's awards to see previous winners.

Everybody ready? Thinking caps on? Here we go:

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Proven Loser Loses Again, Bigly

[ Posted Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 – 16:38 UTC ]

There were two main lessons to be learned from last night's Senate runoff election in Georgia: electability matters, and Donald Trump is still a loser. These are really just two sides of the same coin, in this particular case. The big question left unanswered is whether Republican primary voters will learn these interrelated lessons before the next election cycle comes around in 2024 or not. To state the painfully obvious: if they do, they'll stand a much better chance of electoral success than if they don't.

Donald Trump took a personal interest in a number of Senate races this year. He did have some success with candidates he backed, such as J.D. Vance's big win in Ohio. But the number of races that were probably winnable for the GOP where Trump candidates faltered is greater. Some count just three: Herschel Walker (who just lost to incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock in Georgia), Mehmet "Dr." Oz in Pennsylvania, and Arizona's Blake Masters. Others also add in ultra-MAGA candidates Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, Nevada's Adam Laxalt, and even Alaska's Kelly Tshibaka (although Alaska's Senate seat did stay in Republican hands, due to their four-way runoff election system). But whatever number you choose, it's pretty easy to see that Trump's win/loss record this cycle was not a good one (and these are just the Senate races -- Trump-backed candidates lost in lots of other statewide races too).

Donald Trump is a proven loser. That much is beyond doubt now. He lost the popular vote for president but squeaked into office via the Electoral College, he proceeded to lose control of both the House and Senate while in office, and he lost his re-election bid for president. Then he torpedoed Republican chances of hanging on to control in the Senate by essentially telling Georgia Republicans not to even bother voting in the two runoff elections in early 2021. In both, the Democrat won, flipping control of the chamber to Chuck Schumer. This time around, Republicans could now be sitting on a majority of perhaps 51 to 53 seats, but instead Democrats beat the historical trend and actually picked up one seat -- which will allow them to fully control Senate committees for the next two years without Republican interference. All because of Donald Trump.

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Trump Leaves No Doubt

[ Posted Tuesday, December 6th, 2022 – 16:42 UTC ]

Donald Trump doesn't want to be elected president. Instead, he would much prefer it if here were simply anointed president, or perhaps crowned president. If elections and democracy get in the way of his main goal, he freely jettisons them. This has been obvious to most people for a very long time, but he recently removed all tiny shreds of any remaining doubt. He openly called for the "termination" of the United States Constitution, in order that he (somehow) can be immediately reinstated as the "rightful" president.

Here is how he put it, after (once again) the most recent of the promised "smoking guns" turned into yet another empty disappointment for all his Big Lie conspiracy theorists:

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Welcome To Our Annual Holiday Pledge Drive!

[ Posted Monday, December 5th, 2022 – 16:46 UTC ]

Welcome once again to our yearly funding drive! We only beg for money once a year, and (of course) we take advantage of the fact that people seem to be in more of a giving mood as the year-end holidays approach. Just to be fully honest with everyone....

This year, however, this column is going to be a bit different. I know, I know, everyone loves the flood of kittens each year (while dog enthusiasts protest my species-ism to no avail with "where are the puppies?!?" entreaties), but this year we're going to severely limit tugging at your collective heartstrings.

Well, not completely.

Don't bite off more than you can chew!

 

It just wouldn't be a holiday pledge drive plea with at least a few kittens, right? But that caption is foreshadowing, it should be noted.

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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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Lying Down With Dogs

[ Posted Thursday, December 1st, 2022 – 16:27 UTC ]

It's a saying that may stretch back to Roman times. In English, the first citation (at least from Wikipedia, I haven't checked the O.E.D. yet, sorry...) dates from 1612: "For they that sleep with dogs, shall rise with fleas." In this particular case, Donald Trump breaking bread with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes has left much of the rest of the Republican Party feeling awfully flea-ridden. And the whole thing just got a lot worse.

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Passing The Torch In The House

[ Posted Wednesday, November 30th, 2022 – 16:56 UTC ]

There was a historic passing of the torch today, as Hakeem Jeffries was unanimously voted leader of the House Democrats in the next Congress. He will become the first Black leader of a political party in either chamber of Congress, which is an enormous milestone to achieve. Meanwhile, over on the Republican side, Kevin McCarthy is still scrambling to get enough votes from his caucus to achieve his goal of becoming the next speaker. This should all be seen as a harbinger of things to come, for both political parties. So let's take a look at where both of them are and what we might expect to see in the 118th Congress.

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Working On The Railroad

[ Posted Tuesday, November 29th, 2022 – 16:40 UTC ]

A lot of people work on America's railroads. Some of them are ready to go on strike. This could, as early as this weekend, cause major disruptions in the supply chains of just about everything. And we all remember last year's holiday shopping season, when supply chain problems were so acute. So President Joe Biden and Congress are about to step into the fray and derail the possibility of a strike (so to speak). They could do so in a variety of ways, but whatever happens is likely to happen quite quickly (given the deadlines involved).

There are 12 Unions involved in negotiations with the major rail carriers. The railroad barons have been making money hand over fist of late, but still are being chintzy with their workers. They made one offer earlier this year that was rejected by the Unions. Negotiations were then undertaken and a compromise was worked out in September, with the help of President Biden's administration. The compromise is fairly decent in terms of pay raises, but it still lacks a very basic workers' right: guaranteed paid sick leave and paid time off for family emergencies. The compromise moved a baby step towards what most workers (and virtually all unionized workers) get as part of their employment, but only incrementally. Workers will still be left without the same consideration workers get in virtually every other industry: the ability to go to their boss and say: "I need a day off to go to the doctor," and not have their paycheck or their status with the company adversely affected as a direct result.

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Make Manchin Wait

[ Posted Monday, November 28th, 2022 – 16:26 UTC ]

Congress returns to Washington this week, with an extremely limited amount of time left to get anything done before the year-end holidays. As I wrote last week, the lame-duck Congress has many very important things to get done, some of which may be incredibly time-consuming in the Senate (such as having to proactively raise the debt ceiling using budget reconciliation rules, which will permit the bill to pass with only Democratic votes). However, at least the time pressures in the Senate will not include filling as many federal judgeships as possible, since Democrats will still be in control after January 3rd. What would have been critical if the political power was about to shift in the chamber can now wait until next year -- and it might even be easier and faster then, if Senator Raphael Warnock wins re-election in next Tuesday's Georgia runoff election. If Democrats have 51 senators in the new Congress, they won't have to have any power-sharing arrangements with Republicans, which will speed up the committee process in a big way. But even with the judicial confirmations off the table for now, there's still quite a lot for the Senate to do, to attempt to (as one article memorably put it) "crazyproof" as much as possible before the Republicans take over the House of Representatives. But one thing that should not be undertaken in the lame-duck Senate is moving Senator Joe Manchin's pet "permitting reform" bill forward.

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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.

This isn't a definitive list, of course. I am also thankful for my friends and my loving family; from my wonderful wife to all the relatives I now zoom with on a regular basis (COVID sparked a lot of changes that have indeed improved life, all of which I am thankful for as well). And I am thankful for personal reasons as well, but those type of thanks are really reserved for pre-turkey-gobbling remarks around the dinner table and not for public consumption.

Instead, here are the ones I would like to share with all my readers. I hope that you and yours have a very thankful day yourselves and eat until you are stuffed. [And for our Canadian readers, please backdate this column to last month, so it is appropriate for the northern version of Thanksgiving!]

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