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Political News, Opinion and Commentary

What. WatchBlog is a multiple-editor weblog broken up into three major political affiliations, each with its own blog: the Democrats, the Republicans and the Third Party (covering everything outside the two major parties).
Why. Let's face it, politics is confusing. Sometimes it's difficult to know who to believe, who to listen to and who to support. We're here to help. Posting on a regular basis are editors representing each major party. Stay informed.

Iran Deal Parameters Reached

Posted by Warren Porter on April 5, 2015 at 2:28 PM

Last Thursday, the US State Department released a set of parameters that will define the upcoming deal with Iran that will be finalized at the end of June.

» Continue reading "Iran Deal Parameters Reached"...

"Corruption of Blood," and other Constitutional Sins

Posted by Stephen Daugherty on March 11, 2015 at 11:38 AM

I get lectured by conservative commenters all the time about how little regard I have for the Constitution. They assume that they love it more than I do, more than other Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives do. But beneath all that boasting, I've found they have a tendency to disregard the Constitution entirely when it suits them. We can start this discussion with this week's rather poor bit of conservative judgment, the open letter from the 47 Senate Republicans to Iran.

» Continue reading ""Corruption of Blood," and other Constitutional Sins"...

Selma: 50 Years Later

Posted by Warren Porter on March 9, 2015 at 9:32 PM

It's been a while since I was genuinely impressed by a politician's speech. President Obama's speech in Selma, Alabama is the most steadfast defense of American Exceptionalism that I have ever heard. I think it even surpasses Ronald Reagan's Farewell address, which has been a longtime favorite of mine. Clearly, it is intended was direct response to Mayor Rudy Giuliani's accusation that Obama does not love this great country.

» Continue reading "Selma: 50 Years Later"...

Pick Your Words And Pick Your Battles

Posted by Stephen Daugherty on February 17, 2015 at 11:52 AM

Why not call it Islamic Extremism, or talk about Radical Islam? Why does Obama choose his words so carefully on it? Republicans and Conservatives complain about it, thinking he's not confronting these people with robust enough terms. Yes, like they'll run scared if we use the right jargon. No, it's not about them. It's about the tens of millions of Muslims in the region.

» Continue reading "Pick Your Words And Pick Your Battles"...

Starting From A Foundation

Posted by Stephen Daugherty on February 5, 2015 at 3:29 PM

You don't have to know a lot to live in a world like ours. You just have to know a lot to build one like it. That is the paradox that lies at the center of our dilemma as an advanced civilization. There's so much knowledge, so much training needed to grasp it that it's beyond the ability of any one person to take it all in. Unfortunately, some are still trying to live as one could do that, as if we can just wing it in our world, and only work from our own personal experiences and beliefs.

» Continue reading "Starting From A Foundation"...

Hate, Fear, and Racism in American Politics

Posted by TreyL on January 11, 2015 at 7:38 PM

As I sat on the Amtrak train yesterday morning, I headed to the website of the local newspaper in the area I grew up in, and clicked on the "Opinion" page. One of the first comments was one that has been repeated numerous times during the six-year and counting right-wing temper tantrum that's been going on since Barack Obama assumed the Presidency.

Liberals say that we should respect the President. Why would I have any respect for the non-military foreigner who stole two elections?

The 2014 election proved one thing, and one thing only. Republicans can only run on three things: hate, fear, and racism.

» Continue reading "Hate, Fear, and Racism in American Politics"...

Mitt Romney 3.0?

Posted by Adam Ducker on January 10, 2015 at 7:08 PM

When I saw Romney was considering a run again I decided it was time to watch the Mitt documentary just because. I can definitely see why the man might run again.

» Continue reading "Mitt Romney 3.0?"...

Charlie Habdo, The Interview, and The Courage of our Convictions

Posted by Stephen Daugherty on January 8, 2015 at 10:51 AM

Freedom isn't simply tiptoing through the tulips, not a care in the world, bursting into intermittent bouts of Peter Pan Flight. It's for tough people, for courageous people, for people who have faith. Too many folks confront the world with an excess of fear, and fear turns us to the darker side of our humanity.

» Continue reading "Charlie Habdo, The Interview, and The Courage of our Convictions"...

That's Real Cute, Governor Otter

Posted by obamaluv on January 7, 2015 at 9:40 PM

One step forward and 5 steps back. While some argue that our country is just becoming "desensitized" or just "tolerating" same-sex marriage, Idaho's Governor Butch Otter is trying to turn back time and reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage just four months ago.

» Continue reading "That's Real Cute, Governor Otter"...

Happy New Year: 2015!

Posted by liz on January 1, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Wishing everyone in the WatchBlog community a healthy and happy new year. We're so appreciative to the contributors and participation in this political community. We're looking forward to a great year and a new and improved WatchBlog in 2015!

Cheers!

Thank you President Romney for 2014 being best year for job gains since 1999

Posted by Adam Ducker on December 16, 2014 at 7:48 AM

Wait, he didn't win? This job growth is still happening despite having a Democrat in the White House? Oh.

» Continue reading "Thank you President Romney for 2014 being best year for job gains since 1999"...

Pride in its Two Senses

Posted by Stephen Daugherty on December 11, 2014 at 12:37 PM

One of the most galling things about the lead-up to the Iraq war was being told that I didn't care enough about my country, even that I wanted to see harm come to it. I continued to see people insulting liberals about wanting to lose the Iraq war, and today, they claim we want to see ISIS behead people, and another attack on our soil. What a waste, to so discourage people, to make pride in our country once again the provinced of the gullible and the extreme.

» Continue reading "Pride in its Two Senses"...

Senate Releases Torture Report

Posted by Warren Porter on December 9, 2014 at 12:02 PM

The US Senate has recently released and declassified a report investigating the CIA's detention and interrogation programs. I have not had an opportunity to actually look at the report so I will not comment on its details.

» Continue reading "Senate Releases Torture Report"...

GOP vindicates administration on Benghazi allegations

Posted by Warren Porter on November 22, 2014 at 5:36 PM

A report has been released from the GOP-controlled House of Representatives regarding the events of 9/11/2012 in Benghazi, Libya. Every conservative conspiracy theory regarding the incident was thoroughly debunked:

» Continue reading "GOP vindicates administration on Benghazi allegations"...

Obama Strikes Back on Immigration

Posted by Warren Porter on November 20, 2014 at 8:00 PM

The Constitution assigns the executive branch of our government the task of enforcing the laws of our nation. The Constitution also assigns the President with the duty to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Taken together, these two obligations certainly empower a President to not enforce laws he believes may be unconstitutional. However, that does not seem to be the case with Obama's decision to change how his administration will enforce immigration law.

» Continue reading "Obama Strikes Back on Immigration"...

Neville, Barack and Iran

Posted by AllardK on April 21, 2015 at 7:52 PM

It's getting hard not to start thinking about British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain waving that piece of paper as he stepped off the plane celebrating the Munich Agreement with Nazi Germany in 1938. In 2015, it will not be any mere piece of paper that Obama will wave however. It will be one massive check - or more likely an account notification - worth up to 50 billion dollars in unfrozen funds that will be waved discreetly at the Iranians who can then grab it and collect what for any nation, never mind a barely mid-level economy like Iran's, is a monstrous amount of money. Unless they firmly declare that funds will remain frozen and State has refused to do so. That Iran has sponsored terror from Buenos Aires to Beirut and many points in between must be uncomfortable for Obama and his administration, one hopes. That any discomfort is felt by the State Department and the rest of the administration over the possible consequences of handing over a mere 10% of all Research & Development done in the USA in 2014 just like that to Iran, is a little unclear of course at this point. But one can hope that some discomfort is in fact felt.

The analogy to Chamberlain, however, is unfair. Neville Chamberlain was a seasoned politician with an enormous amount of experience accumulated over decades of public service. And he was Prime Minister of a country barely emerging from the depths of a terrible world depression. And he had the support of much of the UK when he went to Munich. And when he realized that appeasement was wrong he prepared for and declared war on Germany and lead the nation in war until he resigned to enable a coalition government of unity to proceed with the war effort. Not only that, he was a key member of Churchill's war cabinet, putting his experience to work for the next Prime Minister's government. No, the analogy to Chamberlain is utterly unfair. To Chamberlain himself. Obama might learn a thing or two by studying Chamberlain's life a little. Let's hope and pray that aside from unfair, any analogy between Neville Chamberlain and Barack Obama is misplaced. Misplaced in terms of the war that followed. At this moment in time, that is far from clear.

How State Controls Spending on Stemware

Posted by AllardK on April 18, 2015 at 8:43 PM

$5 million on stemware - as in really nice glasses for all sorts of beverages - for US embassies is actually reasonable, if you consider that there are hundreds of embassies around the world. And one has to assume that breakage or missing-in-action drains the embassies' inventory of fine crystal and other fancy glass stemware. Over $26,000 for North Face parkas is, however, a little puzzling. Don't ambassadors get well paid and briefed on where they're going. As in the weather in Ulan Bator or Helsinki or Moscow? And don't their salaries and allowances generously cover expenses on an individual basis?

» Continue reading "How State Controls Spending on Stemware"...

Why Ben Carson Chose Detroit

Posted by AllardK on April 15, 2015 at 7:08 PM

Three days after May 1, Ben Carson will be giving a speech in Detroit and presumably announcing his run for the presidency. The ex-neurosurgeon and best-selling author is from Detroit, so it makes sense through the prism of storytelling. To return to the city that you grew up in to launch your presidential campaign is hardly surprising on the part of Ben Carson. But there is more than that one suspects in the good doctor's choice of location. For all the wrong reasons, Detroit has been notorious for decades now and in fact, Ben Carson's life, one of struggle and astonishing achievement, chronologically parallels, in inverse fashion, the decline of Detroit. The city of Ben's childhood was, by all accounts, a far different place than Detroit is today. Carson was almost 16 years old in the summer of 67 when Detroit burned and he has seen his home town struggle and repeatedly fail to rise again in the years that followed.

» Continue reading "Why Ben Carson Chose Detroit"...

Corpocracy vs Inequality

Posted by Roy Ellis on April 13, 2015 at 9:13 PM

An article in today's WaPo, America's Middle -aged Capitalism, While the article doesn't present any new information one can easily see how corpocracy and one of it's byproducts, inequality, has ramped up excessively.

» Continue reading "Corpocracy vs Inequality"...

Jeb and Ted Are Nothing Like Sharp Dressed Men

Posted by AllardK on April 10, 2015 at 9:04 PM

In separating out the candidacies of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, the Christian Science Monitor did a quick fashion check on the two. Rand's Ray Bans were mentioned of course, and Cruz was described as "buttoned-down and combative". It's understandable they would parse their images to try and tell the story of 2 adversaries who were recently close allies in the Senate. But the far more interesting question is: has anyone compared Jeb Bush's look to Ted Cruz's? Comfortable but expensive clothes that are about people who work and get things done and care little for fashion trends. In fact, in a photo of George Bush, his son Jeb, and Obama in the oval office, Jeb looks downright shabby next to the two presidents. Perhaps it's part of the pecking order: how many strides you keep behind your brother on the golf course, for example. Or maybe Jeb just dresses that way.

» Continue reading "Jeb and Ted Are Nothing Like Sharp Dressed Men"...

Rand Paul's Proposal for the Beast

Posted by AllardK on April 9, 2015 at 10:48 PM

There is no true flat tax rate in Rand Paul's proposal, which was apparently taken off his website but is ready to be relaunched at some point. But there is a sort-of-flat-tax proposal with a sort-of-progressive component mixed in. A true flat tax rate implies a marginal tax rate of zero. That means the rate you pay does not rise as your income rises. Like a sales tax, which is usually denounced by progressives as unfair to low income earners, and praised by old-fashioned conservatives as virtuously diverting money from consumption to production. Which sounds a little Soviet or Chinese in an odd way. Less tablets and flat screens and more flat-rolled steel please. So Rand Paul understandably wanted something a little more fabulous than a sales tax sort of thingy.

» Continue reading "Rand Paul's Proposal for the Beast"...

What Bob Could Learn From Jeb

Posted by AllardK on April 7, 2015 at 4:35 PM

Senator Menendez speaks Spanish because of his Cuban parents. Jeb Bush speaks Spanish because he sought the language out, in Mexico and in Venezuela, with his wife and family, and among many of his former Florida constituents. One could argue that Jeb speaks Spanish better than Bob does. Perhaps Jeb should help Bob out over how to handle influential donors, and how to differentiate between what's legal and what isn't. Whether they do it in Spanish or in English is up to them. Bob could then understand, thanks to Jeb, that you promise access, and you give access, before you get into political office. You do it in crisp emails sent out to potential and actual donors inviting them, depending on how much they've donated, to attend the Right to Rise national "team meeting" in Miami in a few weeks, And at the more intimate, and cheaper in terms of required donation levels to gain access, Washington DC coffee event a few days later for the same super PAC.

» Continue reading "What Bob Could Learn From Jeb"...

Tipping the Scales of Morality

Posted by AllardK on April 1, 2015 at 9:17 PM

Is the "least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest" forcing a devout Christian to bake a cake? While the comparisons - like those outlined by Garrett Epps in the Atlantic - to the days of segregation in the South seem overblown if not theatrical and hysterical to say the least, it is almost inevitable that this furor would erupt. That it centers on Christianity directly and pits it against Civil Liberties, or equality of freedoms if you will, is also inevitable. America itself is a balance between the faith that has helped make it truly a promised land, and the enlightenment rights and freedoms that its Founding Fathers wove into the very fabric of it's laws. And it is inevitable that Indiana's RRFA will be tested and likely modified in the courts.

» Continue reading "Tipping the Scales of Morality"...

What Marcus Dwayne Robertson Deserves

Posted by AllardK on March 30, 2015 at 6:56 PM

In a Florida courtroom, prosecutors are trying to unravel the toxic threads that make up most of Marcus Dwayne Robertson's adult life. From US Marine to leader of a violent NYC gang that in the early 90's robbed and murdered and used the stolen funds to stockpile weapons and finance several mosques in the area, he has lead a life of violence. He was arrested, charged and convicted and after striking a deal, served 4 years. At the time he was closely linked to the 'Blind Sheik' Omar Abdel-Rahman. Now he's at the center of an alleged conspiracy to send devotees of a Florida Mosque to a jihadist training center in Mauritania in NorthWest Africa. Robertson now goes by the moniker 'Abu Taubah', and has clearly been a radical man for some time.

» Continue reading "What Marcus Dwayne Robertson Deserves"...

Campaign Finance On Steroids

Posted by Roy Ellis on March 26, 2015 at 3:43 PM

A good article in today's WaPo relating to campaign fiance. Contains quotes from millionaires like "you know, we just don't count anymore" and from a large ex-donor, " I just think it's morally not right. It's corrosive on our democracy."

There is this growing feeling that the money influence needs to be reined in. Here is a repost of an old post that still has merit, IMO.

» Continue reading "Campaign Finance On Steroids"...

Sequester Tap Dancing in DC

Posted by AllardK on March 23, 2015 at 10:20 PM

Americans for Prosperity want the GOP-controlled Congress to pass is a "budget that genuinely caps discretionary spending at sequester-level numbers", in the words of AFP president Tim Phillips. His next words in that interview back on March 15 were, "That's going to be a huge challenge for them." No kidding Tim. In the Senate, for example, GOP and Democrat lawmakers are hoping to put together a budget plan that would lift sequester caps for a couple of years, like the way they lifted spending caps back in 2013. It truly is a wonderful thing: Budget making in Congress. You craft legislation to contain what by any reasonable measure is a high level of government spending, and then you make those goalposts that you crafted meaningless. Caps and sequesters and a White House that has threatened to veto any Budget legislation that keeps the spending caps in place.

» Continue reading "Sequester Tap Dancing in DC"...

Sinful Behavior in Hotel Room Showers

Posted by AllardK on March 18, 2015 at 9:43 PM

The EPA, according to media reports, is spending $15,000 to create a device that will somehow fit on the shower head of your hotel room and as well connect to a wireless system. All to monitor how long you spend in the shower and to develop an app for your cellphone that will help you see the evil in your habits and start taking short efficient showers, like in the armed forces. This appears to be absolutely ridiculous and beyond all belief. There is no way in the world that the EPA will spend less than $15,000 on recycled stationary, never mind developing a wireless system to control consumers behavior in hotel rooms they paid for with their own money. A pioneering study like this that marks an exciting new stage in behavioral engineering clearly needs a lot more zeros after the 1 and 5 and those three lonely little circles. The first suspect is that it's a typo plain and simple. Remember, federal climate change spending (technology, science studies, development aid, and wildlife adaptation efforts) totaled $8.8 billion in 2010, five years ago according to the GAO. And the EPA expects us to believe that for fifteen grand they can change how you and every other person who will ever spend a night at in a hotel in America takes a shower?

» Continue reading "Sinful Behavior in Hotel Room Showers"...

Florida Schools, Guns, Life, and Liberty

Posted by AllardK on March 16, 2015 at 9:31 PM

Perhaps two Harvard Law School grads sniping at each other might not seem like a life and death situation. But when it's David Frum vs. David French and the topic is gun control, then guns, life and liberty are all in play. As the Florida House passes a bill allowing School Superintendents to designate individuals to carry concealed weapons on school premises, the spat between the two last year comes to mind. Concealed weapons are a right in all 50 states but, as in the Florida legislation which will have to pass through an apparently not very enthusiastic State Senate, the details concerning the who and the how are far more rigorous than the headlines suggest. In the case of Florida, the individuals designated by School Superintendents will have to have military or law enforcement experience and undergo special training at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Essentially, its about having at each school, the type of protection that normally has to arrive in squad cars, precious minutes after any shooting tragically occurs. The one Subcommittee member who voted against the proposal, preferred to have a trained police officer assigned to every school in Florida instead.

» Continue reading "Florida Schools, Guns, Life, and Liberty"...

Hillary Shmillary

Posted by MichaelMears on March 12, 2015 at 10:11 AM

What is it about this woman? It absolutely blows my mind that people still view Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate. Her hands are so dirty and her reputation so tarnished, does it really even matter what these emails say? This is political suicide for Democrats no matter how you look at it.

» Continue reading "Hillary Shmillary"...

Rand Paul Really Really Doesn't Like the Fed

Posted by AllardK on March 5, 2015 at 9:19 PM

Rand Paul would like to do away with the Federal Reserve. In the meantime, he's happy to turn to yet another Washington D.C. government organization, albeit an independent one like the Federal Reserve itself, the Government Accountability Office, to keep the Fed on a tight leash. With around 3,500 employees and a budget of over half a billion dollars per year, the GAO is small fry in beltway terms but does punch well above it's weight. Ferreting out waste and fraud in Washington is an endless task, but Rand has something broader in mind. What Rand Paul has in mind is making monetary policy accountable to the Congress. That's a direct repudiation of the independence of the Fed. While it might make sense with this current Congress, which would tend to push the Fed to reduce it's balance sheet and perhaps tighten monetary policy faster than it seems to be inclined to do under Chairman Yellen, that could change in a hurry with a different Congress, or even the same Congress under different circumstances.

» Continue reading "Rand Paul Really Really Doesn't Like the Fed"...

Why Hillary's Not Predestined for President

Posted by bigtex on April 23, 2015 at 7:33 PM

While it seems I'm opposing the thought of many others, it's not that I don't think Hillary Clinton can win, I just don't think she'll come up with more than 50% and win. And I wonder how others are believing she's a guarantee. There's a reason why Hillary's name is at the top of the board and it's because of the left of center journalists, media, fuel the bias in crowds which is obviously deceiving.

So while others explain why Hillary is a shoo-in and will win presidency, I'll tell you why I think she won't.

» Continue reading "Why Hillary's Not Predestined for President"...

Scott Walker Flips to the Protectionist Right

Posted by Keeley on April 22, 2015 at 3:54 PM

Scott Walker has opened up a whole new issue that's been sitting just to the right of illegal immigration and may become as big an issue as illegal immigration itself. That would be legal immigration and voters' anger over American companies supposed abuse of worker visa programs, like a few notorious cases in the tech world. In a recent interview Walker positioned himself clearly to the right of what seems to be the rest of the GOP field of candidates on the issue of legal immigration. He's changed his stance from the guy who stood up to organized labor in Wisconsin. He now feels that legal immigration is far too high and is being used by corporations to hire cheap labor and replace skilled and experienced American workers. While it is clear that he is casting his pandering net far and wide in order to haul in as many conservative delegates as he can, the question remains: is he right?

» Continue reading "Scott Walker Flips to the Protectionist Right"...

Tom Coburn and Project FDA

Posted by Keeley on April 20, 2015 at 8:05 PM

As the newly former Senator Coburn takes a look back at his former colleagues in Congress, and a look ahead to the work he will be doing at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, the former physician is lamenting the FDA's processes. "There are drugs all over the world that can't be used here because we have a bureaucracy that doesn't bend with the times", he told the Washington Examiner in a recent interview. But the FDA takes flack from those who want more regulation and, on the other side, from those who want a streamlined approval process rather than the mulit-year billion dollar slow moving conveyor belt that exists today for any new drug to be FDA approved. It's a tough place to be in, and they seem to do a poor job of it.

» Continue reading "Tom Coburn and Project FDA"...

Sex and Perhaps Drugs at the DEA

Posted by Keeley on April 16, 2015 at 9:07 PM

A DEA agent has to face the danger of violent death and perhaps torture before that violent death. All in a day's work when they go to work in places like Mexico and Colombia, and other drug-riddled partially failed narco-states. They better have a very clear outlook on what they are supposed to do, and more importantly, why they are risking life and limb to try and contain - eradicate is not used much anymore - the enormous drug trade from places like Latin America and Asia into the USA, Canada, and Europe. So it comes as a bit of a surprise, to put it mildly, that DEA agents are protected by a host of bureaucratic regulations and procedures that prevents them being fired. When they attend sex parties with prostitutes in Bogota, apparently paid for by the drug cartels, for example.

That's because they're federal employees, and are afforded the same rights and privileges as a statistician at the Department of Labor for example. And that means the sex-party attendees got a 2 week suspension instead. Undoubtedly they will need sex counseling and other group therapy that does not involve possible underage prostitutes paid for by organized crime. Any additional training or guidance, as DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart put it, will be tax payer funded of course. And as for the issue of exposing DEA agents to possible extortion by drug barons and compromising the integrity, in every sense of the word, of their agency's operations in a key country like Colombia, well that's just a shame.

The DEA remains one of the few places where drug use is still seen as an unqualified evil. There are many, including state legislatures who have decriminalized cannabis, other governments, and other organizations who either lean towards decriminalization or outright legalization. That's a debate that is happening and will continue to happen. But that the DEA would be so corrupted, and have precious little recourse to solve that corruption, makes a travesty of their stated purpose. Because the other question that was not really answered at the hearings in Congress where Leonhart had to face angry legislators, is this: at a sex party with prostitutes in Bogota, were drugs also consumed? Knowingly or otherwise? And where else in the DEA's operations is this happening? How is the DEA in fact being run? Despite the fact that some information must by necessity remain sealed to the public in order for them to do their job, Congress deserves better answers when it comes to the DEA.

How Sweet It Will Be

Posted by Keeley on April 14, 2015 at 8:00 PM

Clearly, protecting Florida sugar barons and their reclaimed swamp land from the evils of competition is a must for any Florida politician serious about fundraising, and therefore getting elected. But fundraising's sweet tooth goes way beyond sugar-producing lands in FLA; from beet sugar co-op's in Minnesota to Colorado's beet lobby having had a key say in America's foreign policy decisions regarding Cuba in the years following the Spanish-American War, sugar has been spooned in the by railcar-full to ensure subsidy-sweetened protectionist policies stay in place and raise the cost of food products for consumers across the country. No surprise then that Marco Rubio has a sweet tooth and that key fundraisers from the sugar industry have helped his campaign get a jolt of energy.

» Continue reading "How Sweet It Will Be"...

Read This Letter

Posted by bigtex on April 8, 2015 at 10:33 PM

U Michigan Cancels American Sniper.jpg

» Continue reading "Read This Letter"...

The Virgin Rapist

Posted by Keeley on April 6, 2015 at 10:39 PM

Some students still arrive at College as virgins. Perhaps they feel the need to hide the shameful fact. Perhaps because of faith, especially at some schools, they proclaim it loud and proud. But at most secular campuses it risks making you a bit of an outsider, to say the least. Maybe not as much as a decade or two ago, but the possibility of ridicule is there. The drunken ritual of the nerd losing his virginity - this figure of comedy is usually a him - has long been a staple scene in various silly movies. And the alcohol fueled clumsy ritual lends to that comedy unfortunately. But it can turn tragic very easily. Or worse. We now live in a world where College Campuses teeter between false accusations of rape and the real thing. Rape is clearly the worse crime, and a horrific crime, but false accusations muddy the waters and destroy people's lives.

» Continue reading "The Virgin Rapist"...

Jumping the Gun on the IPAB

Posted by Keeley on March 31, 2015 at 6:57 PM

The tactic of going after the Independent Payment Advisory Board, dubbed the 'Death Panel', was not the best way of going after Obamacare. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case, filed by the Goldwater Institute in Arizona, who characterized the bureaucratic DC committee as leading to seniors' deaths. It was an unnecessary bit of theatre. While the Independent Panel Advisory Board, or IPAB, requires a supermajority vote in Congress to override it's decisions and that means less checks and balances, its decisions are really about fine-tuning a government program - Medicare - with all it's rules and regulations, and the death panel moniker seemed an unnecessary bit of drama. Medicare is indeed a huge part of healthcare spending; in 2011 it accounted for around 47% of inpatient hospital costs while representing around 15% of the population. And that's the way it was designed to be; providing state support of the aged. Who receives it, how they receive it and how they pay for it has been a long-standing debate. Should Medicare be reformed? The answer is obvious but finding a balance between providing healthcare for seniors, and allowing choice and competition to ration healthcare spending is proving almost impossible.

» Continue reading "Jumping the Gun on the IPAB"...

Patents, Trolls From France, and Vermont Senators

Posted by Keeley on March 27, 2015 at 5:50 PM

Patent trolls and their lawsuits cost almost $30 billion according to a study by Boston University back in 2012. Both Democrats and Republicans agree it is a problem, but finding a solution to a scourge that affects small businesses as well as large corporations is proving difficult, if not almost impossible. Why? Because any bill that has attempted to deal with patents comes with a whole host of other issues, especially those relating to intellectual property rights and piracy. PIPA and SOPA were legislative attempts at providing Hollywood and the recording industry with greater protection against piracy and naturally pitted the entertainment industry against many in the internet industry who had concerns about censorship and a lack of freedom.

» Continue reading "Patents, Trolls From France, and Vermont Senators"...

Ted Cruz's Unexpected History

Posted by Keeley on March 24, 2015 at 9:37 PM

Is anyone surprised that Ted Cruz officially announced he's running? Perhaps the fact that he did it without the near-sacred and obligatory "exploratory committee" with its poking into poll number possibilities and fondling of fundraising options, indicates that Senator Cruz is serious about changing Washington DC. Everything he's done so far in Congress has proven him to be as combative and as much a maverick as people expected him to be. But the question is, will he be able to change - in beltway terms not in heartland terms where it already is a reality - the meaning of the term "conservative"? While most in the GOP will agree that they wish to change if not eliminate Obamacare, Cruz is taking his Tea Party conservatism a step further and is also aiming his guns at corporate welfare.

» Continue reading "Ted Cruz's Unexpected History"...

Hillary's foundation

Posted by Christine & John on March 20, 2015 at 10:32 AM

Private foundations can be more flexible than governments and partnerships between private entities and governments can be powerful. All power, however, had potential for good and evil and all of it is a corruption risk. Getting too close to the government can be a problem for businesses & foundations.

» Continue reading "Hillary's foundation"...

Hillary, Meet the Press Please

Posted by Keeley on March 17, 2015 at 3:33 PM

After considering that Hillary faces no opposition within her own party - Elizabeth Warren seems to have quietly moved away from any political stage from which she may have possibly, perhaps, launched a rival bid for the nomination - it begs the question of whether she actually welcomes the email scandal. At least it keeps her in the news and allows her base - make that wealthy donors and Democratic party stalwarts as well as voters who think she deserves a shot - to try and get riled up over something, anything. Byron York described her campaign as dead, as in how much teeming competitive life could be found anywhere near any of her carefully controlled public appearances. That's in stark contrast to the packed field of GOP contenders who fight between themselves for every percentage point in the latest poll, and are continually forced to define who they are, and what kind of president they might be in front of an often hostile press. That's basically a boot camp for the latter stages of the campaign - the sprint after the party convention.

» Continue reading "Hillary, Meet the Press Please"...

Ferguson Won't Go Away

Posted by Keeley on March 13, 2015 at 3:34 PM

Ferguson just won't go away. We now have two police officers in stable but serious condition after being shot the other night after yet another protest demanding more blood, figuratively and literally it seems, from the Ferguson Police Department. A Justice Department report found that fines, often traffic related, were up to a quarter of the revenue for the municipality and that police officers tended to stop black drivers far more often. Not to quibble, but Ferguson is a largely black town, so the odds are that if police officers are doing routine checks, then African American drivers are more likely to be stopped. But the well has been poisoned for some time now it seems, and carefully parsing statistics on police behavior is like whispering in the middle of a bar brawl. The divide is clear and hostile between town authorities and the black population and change needs to come. Court clerks, a judge, police officers, City manager John Shaw - blamed for the for-profit fine slapping zeal of the police force - and now Chief Jackson, have all resigned.

What next? A new police chief is being sought from candidates right across the country, and media from around the world will gladly record any and all stumbles by officials and any new flare-ups in the small suburb of St. Louis. A story in the Washington Post last September outlines the dangers of not paying your traffic fines in St. Louis suburbs and the fact that drivers who are poor tend not to pay fines and registration fees nor renew their license plates because they're often short of cash. That snowballs into jail time and bail fees and a police record. If indeed Ferguson had a policy of being sticklers with fines to fill up the city coffers, then continual confrontation between police and poor residents who drive was inevitable. To the extent that the black population is closer, on average, to the poverty line in suburbs like Ferguson, racial tensions inevitably ratchet up. Perhaps a part of any answer is easing up on traffic fines, but this is now a problem that will require deft management from whoever replaces Shaw and Jackson in Ferguson. One that encompasses everything from minor violations like those very tickets that go unpaid, to police officers keeping order getting shot right outside their own police department. Like it or not, Ferguson has become a symbol. The new police chief and the new city manager will have the arduous task of turning it into just another suburb of St. Louis. That will take some time doing.

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Science Did not Believe Cassandra's Claims

Posted by Keeley on March 10, 2015 at 8:39 PM

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was a princess would angered Apollo and was cursed by him with the vice of not being able to persuade anyone of anything. As with any modern-day person named after some Greek deity or aristocrat, there is a certain amount of irony in the case of the Connecticut 17 year old named Cassandra, who refused chemotherapy when diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and was subsequently forced to undergo treatment by the state authorities. Specifically, the Department of Children and Families, or DCF, of Connecticut ensured she got the treatment she was refusing to take and she is now in the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford recovering and with her cancer in remission. Cassandra, the teenager from Connecticut of course, was interested in exploring alternative treatments for her cancer, apparently with support from her mother.

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War of Roses or the Bastille?

Posted by Keeley on March 4, 2015 at 7:48 PM

Mainstream House Republicans, who self-identify as the true conservatives now, are furious with Tea Party Republicans, who the pragmatic House GOP members say are troublemakers who continually scuttle the legislative process. Why? Because Tea Party House members, a core of about 30 according to the party itself, stand up for their principles but then walk away from any compromise legislation. On education, and now on funding the DHS, which passed this Tuesday with overwhelming Democratic support. And on past funding battles as well. The mainstream want the rebels to do business the Washington way and are fed up, so they say, with their shoot and retreat tactics. This self-righteous anger, however, didn't stop a majority of Republican House members from voting against the clean funding bill, knowing that their Democrat House colleagues would ensure passage.

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