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Archive of Articles in the "Afghanistan" Category

Joe Biden's First Big Speech

[ Posted Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 – 21:22 UTC ]

President Joe Biden has achieved one rather monumental task since he took office, at least to me: in his first 99 days as president, Biden has successfully made the presidency boring again. This sounds like a joke, but it isn't. The previous president was the one to make the presidency itself a joke, in fact -- Biden is just returning us all to the normal state of things. And the public -- even a lot of Republicans -- are relieved at this development. Joe Biden is not an egomaniac nor is he a megalomaniac. The difference is striking. Biden does not crave seeing his face on the news each night, so he has no need to deliberately cause a mini-crisis just to get everyone to pay attention to him during that day's news cycle. Biden also does not communicate like a petulant pre-teen on social media. He's downright boring, and that's an enormous relief to us all.

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Friday Talking Points -- Biden Enters "First 100 Days" Homestretch In Good Shape

[ Posted Friday, April 23rd, 2021 – 17:57 UTC ]

President Joe Biden just had a pretty good week. And next week's going to be even better for him. Especially considering how far we've come since this time exactly one year ago.

In the past week alone, Biden and his administration chalked up the following achievements or milestones:

Biden has already reached his (doubled!) goal of 200 million vaccine shots into people's arms in his first 100 days in office -- a week early.

Over 41 percent of the American population has been vaccinated at least once, including over 51 percent of all those currently eligible (age 16 and up).

The average number of new infections has actually started to come down once again, and is once again lower than the peak of the second wave. It is still too high, but at least it is heading in the right direction once again. The average deaths per day seems to have plateaued at just below 750 -- again, too high, but a lot better than the peak of almost 3,500 deaths per day.

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Friday Talking Points -- GOP White Supremacist Caucus Forms

[ Posted Friday, April 16th, 2021 – 18:13 UTC ]

Some Republicans have apparently decided that political dog whistles are just no longer even necessary. After the bombast of Donald Trump, they're now quite comfortable just openly saying exactly what they mean -- no matter how racist it might be.

We refer to the formation of a new congressional caucus: the "America First Caucus." Normally, this wouldn't be all that big a deal -- just some group of extra-Trumpy GOP members getting together to figure out what their Dear Leader would want them to do in Congress. But their founding document was leaked, and it goes a wee bit further in laying out the founding principles of the new caucus. Here are their first few paragraphs on immigration, for instance:

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Friday Talking Points -- Jim Crow In The 21st Century

[ Posted Saturday, March 27th, 2021 – 08:27 UTC ]

We're going to start off in a rather inane fashion today, by noting that we were slightly confused at one point during President Joe Biden's first formal press conference yesterday. Biden was speaking about the alarming movement in over 85 percent of the states to curtail voting rights. But he tried to introduce a new term or metaphor and we have to admit we're still not sure what he really meant. Here's what Biden said about the voter-suppression efforts: "This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle." Which begs the question: is "Jim Eagle" a good thing or a bad thing?

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Biden's First Presser

[ Posted Thursday, March 25th, 2021 – 16:47 UTC ]

Without having read much of what anyone else though about President Joe Biden's first formal press conference today, I'm going to just write my reactions down cold. This is always an amusing test for me, just to see if anyone else picked up on the same things I did.

Heading in, I had fairly low expectations for Biden. I'm not sure why this is, perhaps some of the angsty stories I've read in the political media over the past few weeks have rubbed off. Biden annoyed the press corps by waiting longer to hold his first press conference than any other modern president, so for the past few weeks they've been doing some endless navel-gazing about it all.

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It Is Time For The Government To Take The Threat Of Right-Wing Extremism Seriously

[ Posted Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 – 17:32 UTC ]

This really shouldn't be all that extraordinary, but sadly it is. The Department of Homeland Security just issued a warning about the possibility of right-wing violence and/or terrorism. Here are the pertinent facts:

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Friday Talking Points -- Disrespecting The Troops

[ Posted Friday, September 4th, 2020 – 17:46 UTC ]

It has been three weeks since we've done this, since for the past two Fridays we were still writing up our notes on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Now that all that hoopla is over, we can return once again to our usual Friday Talking Points format.

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Democratic Convention Day Four: America's Promise

[ Posted Friday, August 21st, 2020 – 17:57 UTC ]

From the wisecracking Julia Louis-Dreyfus to Joe Biden's resounding speech, the last night of the Democratic National Convention was a solid hit, with only one sour spot (but we'll get to Mike Bloomberg in a moment...). National nominating conventions are traditionally supposed to build in pitch and intensity all week long to the "big finish" on the final day. Democrats certainly succeeded in this regard last night, topped off by perhaps the best speech Joe Biden has ever given. All around, the fourth and final day of the Democratic National Convention was a solid winner.

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Democratic Convention Day Two: Leadership Matters

[ Posted Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 – 17:20 UTC ]

The second night of the Democratic National Convention had an unexpected surprise, because the part that is usually the most boring to watch turned out to be the most interesting adaptation of the new technological mode we've all been forced into. Or, more simply: the roll call was phenomenal!

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Friday Talking Points -- One-Third Of U.S. Economy Disappears

[ Posted Friday, July 31st, 2020 – 17:57 UTC ]

Let's all keep our eyes on the ball, shall we? The ball, in this case, being the fact that we just suffered the worst economic quarter ever. The gross domestic product dropped by 32.9 percent, or just shy (0.4 points) of one-third. This loss is three times bigger than the worst quarter ever previously measured. New unemployment claims were up again for the second week in a row, perhaps foreshadowing a "double-dip" recession, or even an actual depression.

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