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Welcome To Our Annual Holiday Pledge Drive!

[ Posted Friday, December 1st, 2023 – 15:47 UTC ]

Welcome once again to that very special time of year when we ask you to send us money! Sorry, is that too unseasonably honest? Um... let me start over...

Welcome once again to that very special time of year when we try to mesmerize you with kitten photos to the point of getting your wallet out! No wait, that's not right either... hang on...

Welcome once again to that very special time of year when we all reflect on what is important in life and what we treasure most about each other!

(OK, I think that last one will do...)


Kidding aside, we do welcome you back to our annual Holiday Pledge Drive, that once-a-year time when we try to raise enough money to keep the lights on here at Hitting our donation goal each year means guaranteeing the site will remain ad-free for the next calendar year, so it is important both to us and to you, our readers.

But first, as is traditional for us, here is a cute winter cat photo:

It's pledge drive time again already!?!


Indeed it is, and we shameless await seeing the donations pouring in, as usual.

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A Pointless Debate Kicks Off A Ridiculously-Early Campaign

[ Posted Thursday, November 30th, 2023 – 17:29 UTC ]

A completely pointless debate (at least in terms of the 2024 presidential race) will take place tonight on Fox News. Ron DeSantis will be debating Gavin Newsom, with Sean Hannity as moderator. But even though I'm a diehard political junkie, I may not even tune in to see it, due to its absolute irrelevance to current events. It's likely that just catching the highlights later will be enough.

So why am I even writing about it? Because it's a chance to take a ridiculously-early look at the contest that's going to happen within the Democratic Party in four years. You could say this is the start of the 2028 Democratic presidential primary race, but in reality it's been going on in a very subdued way for a while now. The Newsom-DeSantis debate is happening as a direct result of this shadow primary jockeying, in fact.

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House About To Expel Its First Republican

[ Posted Wednesday, November 29th, 2023 – 16:47 UTC ]

The House of Representatives is going to vote tomorrow on whether to formally expel a member of its ranks. And at this point, things don't look good for George Santos. Expulsion from the House would require a two-thirds majority, which would mean a substantial number of Republicans would have to vote to kick one of their own out. But the whip counts circulating today seem to indicate that up to 90 Republicans are now willing to do so. This would be historic, since it would be only the sixth House expulsion ever and only the third since the Civil War. But it will make history in one other interesting way as well, since if Santos is kicked out he will be the first Republican ever to suffer this fate.

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Biden Impeachment Follies Continue

[ Posted Tuesday, November 28th, 2023 – 17:03 UTC ]

Impeaching a United States president should be a rare and unusual thing. And for the first two centuries of our existence, it was. We had one impeachment that failed (Andrew Johnson) and one that was threatened but didn't happen, because the president resigned instead (Richard Nixon). Since then, however, it has become a lot less rare. First Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about having an affair with a White House intern. Then Donald Trump was impeached twice, for trying to pressure a foreign nation to manufacture an investigation of his political rival and then for trying to overturn the result of the election that put his rival into power instead of him. And now we face another possible impeachment, this one of Trump's rival President Joe Biden, for the crime of... well, they'll figure something out.

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Christmas Comes Early For Team Biden

[ Posted Monday, November 27th, 2023 – 16:45 UTC ]

Donald Trump just gave the team working to re-elect President Joe Biden a rather large early Christmas present. Apparently, Trump has never gotten over his failure to enact "a full repeal" of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (otherwise affectionately known as "Obamacare"). This involved the big dramatic scene with Senator John McCain turning in a "thumbs-down" vote on the Senate floor, in literal fashion -- which was a complete humiliation for Trump. A humiliation, like all the others, that he's never forgotten or gotten over. So he's looking to re-fight that particular battle, it seems.

Trump recently sent out, on his personal social media site, the following:

The cost of Obamacare is out of control, plus, it's not good Healthcare. I'm seriously looking at alternatives. We had a couple of Republican Senators who campaigned for 6 years against it, and then raised their hands not to terminate it. It was a low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up!

The Obamacare gauntlet, in other words, has been tossed down -- and Team Biden was only too happy to pick it up.

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Extended Program Note

[ Posted Tuesday, November 21st, 2023 – 17:01 UTC ]

Since it is a slow news week (pardoning turkeys and whatnot), I thought today would be a good day to bring everyone a site update of sorts. I have started the process of revamping this website, and hope the whole thing will be completed either during the year-end holiday break (very optimistic) or in early 2024 (more realistic). The timeline will depend on how complicated the entire process turns out to be, I should mention.

Also laziness. I have begun vetting website designers but have not contracted with one yet. I am going to try to make this a priority for the upcoming weeks, but then I am a notorious procrastinator so we'll just have to see how that works out. Just to give "full disclosure" on my own shortcomings, as it were.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my overall vision for the update and solicit your feedback. I did all the web design and coding for the site as it stands today, but have only updated it once, so I realize it still is somewhat of a relic from the 2000s. I have decided not to attempt to do the coding this time around, because it is time-consuming (I'd have to get up to date on everything) and complicated. I have saved up for this transition (from your generous donations over the past few years) so I have a budget to have it done professionally this time around. Hopefully, this will help keep it less buggy, at the very least.

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Will Trump Ever Debate?

[ Posted Monday, November 20th, 2023 – 16:49 UTC ]

Will we ever get to see Donald Trump debate anyone before the next presidential election? That was my immediate thought upon reading that the Commission on Presidential Debates (C.P.D.) has just announced the schedule for their four planned debates (three presidential, one vice-presidential). I consider this to be rather optimistic for a number of reasons, since at this point the safe bet would either be that any debates which are held won't be run by the C.P.D. -- or that Donald Trump won't show up for any debate (no matter who is running it).

This isn't just speculation, either. Over a year and a half ago, the Republican National Committee voted to boycott any debates held by the C.P.D., calling them "biased." So one political party is already on the record stating they won't participate. That's a big hurdle right there.

Even if the C.P.D. somehow assuages the concerns of the R.N.C. enough for them to reverse this stance, that has to be seen as pretty far-fetched at this point. Especially considering that Donald Trump is the odds-on favorite to walk away with the Republican nomination. Trump, after all, hasn't even shown up for any of the primary debates run directly by the R.N.C., so even if the party bigwigs were somehow to get on board with the C.P.D.'s schedule, there is no guarantee that Trump will show up for any of them.

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Friday Talking Points -- What Next? Food Fights In The Cafeteria?

[ Posted Friday, November 17th, 2023 – 18:18 UTC ]

Over 20 years ago -- right around when Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor of our state -- we were fond of shocking people by pointing out: "Politics has become indistinguishable from show business." The entertainment industry and our political system had been slowly merging, ever since the ascension of B-movie actor Ronald Reagan to the White House in the 1980s. But we have to say, we never foresaw the day when politics would become completely replaced by entertainment and entertainment alone. And we seem to be fast approaching that point.

Part of this evolution has been the shift in power away from the party machinery to individual politicians. These days, doing outrageous (but entertaining) things in politics means you get instantly rewarded -- you get invited onto news shows to be even more entertaining while explaining your outrageousness, your name gets known because of all this exposure, people who enjoy your antics begin directly donating to your campaign, and so you acquire money and with it, political power. You will notice that the party apparatus plays zero role in this equation. Which is one big reason the parties are now so toothless to police their own ranks.

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Budget Battles Punted To Next Year

[ Posted Thursday, November 16th, 2023 – 17:01 UTC ]

Congress has now successfully punted their budget negotiations into the next calendar year. The most astonishing part of this fact is that they managed to do so two days before the deadline, which (these days) is actually pretty impressive. We didn't go down to the wire with midnight votes, and we didn't have to see the media go through one of their "The government is about to shut down!" frenzies. So that's progress, of a sort.

But the big fight still remains. And from all indications, it's going to be a doozy. I wouldn't even venture odds on the chances of Speaker Mike Johnson being able to hold his leadership position after the dust settles, in fact, since he faces a rather impossible situation with his own caucus. There may just be too many House GOP members who are absolutely divorced from the legislative realities in Washington for Johnson to survive.

Since we just punted the ball to mid-January and the beginning of February (in Johnson's gimmicky "two-step ladder"), it is worth taking a pause to survey where everything stands and what is likely to happen early next year.

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Juvenile Political Violence In Congress

[ Posted Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 – 17:36 UTC ]

What is one to make of the sudden rise in physical altercations (or threats thereof) in the halls of Congress? Well, you can play it for comedy, that's certainly the first impulse. Or you can adopt a sort of "Tsk, tsk!" tone and go for the moral highroad. Then there is the traditional fallback of the opposition party using it to score political points. But in these uncertain times (to say the least) one might be tempted to fit this into a bigger picture and say it is part and parcel of a dark and very dangerous trend in American politics right now: the normalization and acceptance (by one party) of political violence.

Let's take each of these in turn. Feel free to support any of them -- they all make a certain amount of sense, and they're not mutually exclusive (you can mix and match). And only time will tell whether this trend accelerates or continues at the school-playground level it's been at this particular week.

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