GOP Shutdown Fever
Nov19

GOP Shutdown Fever

Sahil Kapur lists factors working toward a GOP government shutdown on Talking Points Memo. The specter of President Barack Obama using his executive authority to temporarily shield as many as 5 million Americans from the threat of deportation has ignited a strong backlash from the GOP’s tea party wing. Seeing no better option to stop Obama, these conservatives, led by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and 59 House Republicans, are...

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The Late Great Jack Vance
Nov18

The Late Great Jack Vance

In my mid teens, over 50 years ago, I discovered the wonderful world of science fiction.  One of my favorite authors was Jack Vance who was not only a great story teller but a wordsmith extraordinaire. As it turned out I missed much of Vance’s work most of which is now out of print but fortunately his work has been Kindled.   I recently reread the Caldwell trilogy and discovered the  Tschai series.  While I prefer hard science...

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Josh Marshall on Immigration “Grenade”
Nov18

Josh Marshall on Immigration “Grenade”

Josh Marshall mulls over the consequences of the coming immigration battle on Talking Points Memo. Let’s start with a few assumptions and see where they lead.   1) Let’s assume, as numerous reports now suggest, that President Obama will issue one or more executive orders that effectively legalize roughly 5 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States.   2) Republicans have already put a...

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Fox in Charge of the Hen House?
Nov15

Fox in Charge of the Hen House?

Republican,  Dr Monica Wehby’s campaign for the Senate revolved around opposition to the Affordable Care Act but the day after she lost the election she called the governor to ask about the open position of director of the Oregon Health Authority. A day after losing her bid for U.S. Senate, Monica Wehby picked up the phone and reached Gov. John Kitzhaber on his cell. Wehby, a Republican and fellow doctor, offered her expertise...

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Dad Sings and Signs to Daughter At Wedding
Nov14

Dad Sings and Signs to Daughter At Wedding

This is so sweet… no need to pretend there are onions, just enjoy the...

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GOP Dream: Restoring America
Nov13

GOP Dream: Restoring America

Peter Beinart explores the Republican theme of “restoring” America in The Atlantic. Because conservatives love the word “restore.” In 2007, when he was planning his own presidential bid, Mike Huckabee wrote a book subtitled 12 Steps to Restoring America’s Greatness. (It’s available for one cent on Amazon.) In 2010, Glenn Beck organized a rally on the National Mall entitled “Restoring Honor.” In 2012, Mitt Romney’s...

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Sullivan on Cowardly Democrats
Nov10

Sullivan on Cowardly Democrats

Andrew Sullivan on the Democrats running away from their own success in the recent mid-terms on The Daily Dish. So the number one issue in the midterms was the economy. And a Democratic president has managed to halve the unemployment rate in the wake of a historically grim near-depression, and his own party decided never to mention this – or him – in the campaign. I wish I were surprised. He also managed to slash the deficit at the...

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Larison: GOP Will Do Nothing
Nov07

Larison: GOP Will Do Nothing

Daniel Larison of The American Conservative predicts the GOP majority Congress and Senate will do what they campaigned on: nothing. (h/t rudi) All of this suggests that most observers, myself included, underestimated the extent to which Republicans would dominate this election. The GOP ran an almost purely negative campaign and said almost nothing substantive about policy, and they have been rewarded with one of the biggest gains in...

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Would This Have Helped Democrats on Tuesday? Nah!
Nov07

Would This Have Helped Democrats on Tuesday? Nah!

The U.S. economy, especially the private sector job growth, has been steadily recovering for the past five years. As a matter of fact, Jason Furman, chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers has characterized this period as “the longest streak in U.S. history.” The Hill calls it “the longest such streak since 1995.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that total non-farm payroll employment rose by 214,000 in...

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NRO: Beware the “Governing Trap”
Nov06

NRO: Beware the “Governing Trap”

The conservative National Review warns newly elected Republicans to avoid the “governing trap.” Already a conventional wisdom about what Republicans should do next has congealed. Supposedly it is up to Republicans to “prove they can govern” even though they do not have the White House. Senator Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) told NPR listeners that Republicans could do this by moving on trade-promotion authority, the immigration...

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Is There a Pony in Last Night’s Mess?
Nov05

Is There a Pony in Last Night’s Mess?

Last night was, without a doubt, a disaster for Democrats. But it reminds me of a story about a little boy who desperately wanted a pony for Christmas. On Christmas morning he wakes up to find a pile of horse manure under the tree instead of a pony. The child, an eternal optimist, immediately starts digging through the pile repeating to to himself, “There must be a pony here somewhere.” I don’t know if Democrats will find a pony in...

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Election News (UPDATED at 10:20 pm/1:20 am)
Nov04

Election News (UPDATED at 10:20 pm/1:20 am)

This will be our quasi official election post. I’ll do my best to keep things updated as late as possible A quick observation in flipping between the 3 news networks (Fox/CNN/MSNBC) is to see how on Fox they are quasi overtly rooting for the GOP, on MSNBC they are doing so for the Democrats and CNN is actually fairly neutral. For some really cool election nerd coverage check out CNN Election Wall A little factoid on the Senate....

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(Update) Slinking Out of Afghanistan?
Nov04

(Update) Slinking Out of Afghanistan?

UPDATE: Read the touching reflections on the end of our mission in Afghanistan by a person who was in Helmand, here. Ryan Evans quotes an Afghan farmer, “There was war before the foreign troops arrived, there was war while they were here, and there will be war after they leave” and concludes: Helmand is where I came to know the world, my fellow man, myself and the messy realities of all three. I came home three years ago a different...

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Why Are We Voting Today ?
Nov04

Why Are We Voting Today ?

As we all head to the polls, I thought it might be interesting to review exactly why we are voting today. By that I mean, why is it that our national elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November ? Well, it may interest you to know that, for the first 50 plus years of our nation, there was no uniform Election Day. The only requirement with regard to Presidential voting was that it occur during a 32 day...

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Senate Trivia
Nov03

Senate Trivia

Here is a nerdy little factoid about the Senate elections tomorrow: As best as I can tell there are currently 3 US Senate seats with a perfect partisan record in popular elections. That is to say since popular elections for Senators began 100 yrs ago they have elected the same party every time (in all 3 cases Democrats) All 3 of those seats are up tomorrow One is in Hawaii and that record will be kept intact. One is in Montana and...

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Sullivan on the Mid-Terms
Oct31

Sullivan on the Mid-Terms

Andrew Sullivan probes the meaning of the mid-terms on The Daily Dish. It seems safe to say that the GOP will pick up the Senate this year. No one can quite know the details yet, and the scale and extent of the wave (or not) remains again up in the air. But what this actually means – for policy and this presidency – is a more complicated question.   Here’s what we know empirically. The public is underwhelmed by these elections...

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Obamacare’s Post Mid-Term Future
Oct29

Obamacare’s Post Mid-Term Future

Jason Millman discusses a Harvard meta-analysis of polls on the Affordable Care Act on The Washington Post’s Wonkblog. Although the politics of Obamacare have cooled down this year — and even with declining interest in this year’s midterms — the upcoming election will have a bigger influence on the direction of health care than you may think. That’s the major takeaway from a new Harvard University analysis of 27...

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Obama’s Temperament
Oct27

Obama’s Temperament

Matthew Yglesias commends President Obama’s cool temperament on Vox.com. Journalists have systematic professional incentives to overreact. You don’t get ahead by writing boring stories, so you develop a nose for the provocative and start dealing in superlatives. Yet few people can make it through life acting purely out of cynicism. It helps enormously in this profession to be a genuine temperamental over-reactor. Certainly...

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Humoring the headlines (Guest Voice)
Oct26

Humoring the headlines (Guest Voice)

Humoring the headlines By Laurie Baron SAN DIEGO? As the world spins out of control, these new reality shows are being readied for broadcast. * Survivor: Three contestants will be parachuted into areas ISIS occupies. One will be wearing a cross and an American flag lapel pin; the second will be wearing a Jewish star and an Israeli lapel pin; and, the third will be dressed in a Peshmerga uniform. The contestant who can evade being...

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Josh Marshall on the Palin Brawl
Oct24

Josh Marshall on the Palin Brawl

Josh Marshall offers an insightful take on the meaning of the Palin brawl on Talking Points Memo. As you’ve likely seen Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol have now spoken out about their notorious boozy family brawl, recasting Bristol’s attack on the event’s host as a morality tale about violence against women and media bias. We should note that probably no one in American public life better embodies the...

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