Posted by obamaluv on August 20, 2014 at 8:50 PM
There's some light and fun news in the political world. The power of social media has proven to be a force of positivity with the worldwide spread of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Most recently, former President George W. Bush has involuntarily participated in the challenge saying, "I do not think it's Presidential for me to be splashed with ice water, so I'm simply gonna write you a check." His wife Laura clearly didn't think that was sufficient as she douses her husband in ice water.
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on July 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Words matter, but meanings matter more. When it comes down to it, yes, the President once promised you could keep you doctor and your insurance, and failed to completely fulfill that promise. But the President made a good faith effort to extend healthcare to millions of Americans, and the judicial activism of the right has, in bad faith, created a ruling that could strip that from millions of Americans.» Continue reading "The Hypocrisy and Contradiction of Today's Right"...
Posted by TreyL on July 18, 2014 at 10:42 PM
Earlier this week, failed 2012 Senate candidate from Missouri Todd Akin officially rescinded his apology for his "Legitimate Rape" comment, saying "This was something that was intentionally misunderstood and twisted for political purposes. Also in 2012, Senate candidate from Indiana Richard Mourdock said in a debate that he thinks abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest because, "When pregnancy begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it's something that God intended to happen." We've heard the term Rape Culture quite often and heard things about the song "Blurred Lines," but why haven't we heard about how when our politicians trivialize rape that it only furthers this notion?» Continue reading "Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Rape Culture"...
Posted by TreyL on July 16, 2014 at 4:50 PM
Hello fellow Democrats and Liberals!
My name's Trey, I'm 19, and a sophomore at Western Michigan University, and despite coming from a family chock full of Republicans, I'm a Democrat. I'm openly gay and am a direct immigrant descendant.
That leads me into the topic of my first entry here on WatchBlog: The immigrant children crisis in the Southwest.» Continue reading "About me/Refugees or Illegals?"...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on June 13, 2014 at 8:37 PM
After several years of doing his best to obstruct the Obama Administration, and impress Republican voters, they dumped him for a Tea Partier named David Brat. So, as is appropriate for the New Republican Congress, Conservative dogma and theory has overtaken practice and perspective on history. Well, Eric, you should have seen this coming.» Continue reading "Ah, that's gratitude for ya."...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on June 5, 2014 at 4:28 PM
If you've ever played a game like StarCraft, you'll be familiar with what they call a dependency tree, a set of things you have to develop, like buildings, units, or whatever before you can build better and more powerful units, buildings, and defenses. Game developers do this to help mirror one part of the reality of warfare in this simulation, the fact that having certain units depends on having certain facilities, certain kinds of expertise, and so on and so forth. A complex civilization, army, or whatever, doesn't just spring out from nowhere.» Continue reading "Dependence and The Long Range Bet of Climate Change"...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on May 19, 2014 at 6:02 PM
I can't say I didn't see this coming. The answer to the eternal question, "what would happen if we gave a Tea Party, and nobody came?" has been answered. You would think these people would have seen this coming, too, but it's coming as a shock to many of them.» Continue reading "A Revolting Failure"...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on April 22, 2014 at 10:44 AM
1987's crash, Black Monday, shouldn't have happened. Yes, morally, that's true, but I'm not simply talking about that. I'm talking about in statistical terms, if we're dealing with things from a normal distribution. We should have been able to wait billions of years and never see a day on the stock market like this, the odds being 10 to the 50th power that things would ever turn out that way.» Continue reading "Twenty Sigma: Chaos and Order in American Governance."...
Posted by liz on April 17, 2014 at 5:02 PM
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Posted by Stephen Daugherty on March 26, 2014 at 3:51 PM
Recently, I've started doing thirty-minute walks about every day, during my lunch hour in the city I work. For the sake of variety, I try not to take the same route too much. Having done so for a while, I've seen much of my city, many of the layers of change that it has undergone, and that it continues to undergo. More than ever, it leads me to see the necessity for actively dealing with our nation's change.» Continue reading "Hope is Optional. Change isn't."...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on February 4, 2014 at 6:36 PM
Glenn Beck's response to a Super Bowl Commercial that showed a diverse selection of Americans, and "America the Beautiful" in multiple languages is correct in almost every way, except the way that matters most. He says that one's reaction to such a commercial can set one apart, that if one doesn't like the diversity presented, that you won't feel like you fit in, that you'll feel like a racist or something. Well, if the shoe fits...» Continue reading "America Contradicts Itself, For it Contains Multitudes"...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on January 23, 2014 at 7:35 PM
Sometimes we'd like to do without pain, without fear and shame. So often, it makes us vulnerable to those we'd rather not be vulnerable to. However, despite the fact that this is often true, and as a Democrat I've had to deal with such issues in my party, I find that it's useful to have a sense of where your limits are, and what behaviors you should not repeat.» Continue reading "Republicans and Boiling Water on the Stove"...
Posted by Adam Ducker on January 10, 2014 at 1:42 PM
The workforce continued to recede as it's done for most of the last decade. While jobs only grew by 74,000 unemployment still declined to 6.7%.» Continue reading "December Jobs A Disapointment, Unemployment Shrinks"...
Posted by Stephen Daugherty on January 9, 2014 at 6:14 PM
What's the point of giving the right wing more power? All they seem to be interested in is cancelling out one man, one party's legacy. Success isn't in their vocabulary when it comes to government. If we want government that works for us, we have to stop rewarding those who choose to deliberately cause failures in order to advance their cause.» Continue reading "The Right-Wing Atmosphere of Failure"...
Posted by Roy Ellis on August 31, 2014 at 1:34 PM
I like the President's plan of not rushing to knock ISIS out of the sand box too quickly.
Seems prudent to work to beef up the Iraqi military and use them to conduct 'take back' ops in Iraqi cities with the help of tactical airstrikes by the US. This would push ISIS into the desert where any large contingents could be attacked from the air.
ISIS troops would drift into Syria and war against the Assad regime. When either Assad or ISIS is declared a winner we could take advantage of a weakened force and start supporting the original rebel faction in Syria with airstrikes and weapons as needed.
Posted by Roy Ellis on August 25, 2014 at 9:58 AM
Gists from a WaPo article titled "The GOP's remedy for 'pay-to-play". A major reason for Cantor losing his position was that he lost at the polls over his perceived support for Wall St and banking, wasn't taking care of the home folks.» Continue reading "Pay-to-Play And Distaste For Politics"...
Posted by AllardK on August 22, 2014 at 6:08 PM
What do you say to John and Diane Foley, the parents of James Foley, who was decapitated in a barbaric, and sickening ritual by a crazed terrorist who happens to be a member of ISIS? How do you bring justice to bear on a terrorist act like this? Kidnappings for ransom money, large amounts of ransom money, have become a staple of Al-Qaeda and now of ISIS as well. The Europeans - with the exception of the British - have been only too happy to oblige, to the tune of $125 million according to some estimates. ISIS wanted to catch up to that total in a hurry with James Foley - they also hold other hostages. They purportedly asked for $100 million in ransom money. Needless to say, no ransom was paid.
Posted by AllardK on August 15, 2014 at 12:09 PM
The Justice Department will be there. The FBI is coming. The State Highway Patrol is already there. So is Al Sharpton, and the beleaguered local police have been pushed to the background to provide support presumably. Ferguson has seen night after night of violence - until Thursday evening when protests were peaceful. Democratic Governor Jay Nixon is under critical scrutiny as his past political decisions are being dragged back out into the open to suggest that he has been less than helpful to the state's African American community in the past, and in the present. President Obama has asked that we find out "exactly what happened" in order to bring justice and order - or order so that justice can then proceed - and resolve what has quickly become a crisis. Unfortunately, those three words, exactly what happened, are going to prove difficult, especially politically.
Posted by AllardK on August 13, 2014 at 6:59 PM
What Robin Williams meant to each of us and all of us is likely impossible to define. What is very clear and easy to define was his support for US troops in the fight against terrorism. He saw with clarity what 9/11 meant and the enormous task at hand facing the free world as a result of the emergence of international terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban. While Hollywood divides along political lines like anywhere else, Robin Williams unqualified support for the men and women who place themselves in harm's way was perhaps more unusual among his colleagues than it should have been. This was not always the case.» Continue reading "Making the Troops Laugh"...
Posted by Roy Ellis on August 7, 2014 at 3:59 PM
Interesting url and comments
Posted by liz on August 6, 2014 at 2:45 PM
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Posted by AllardK on August 4, 2014 at 6:27 PM
House Republicans have been practically yanked off their flights back home to spend one more night in Washington in a final attempt at agreeing on some sort of House bill on immigration. The House leadership wants some sort of proposed legislation before the summer recess as proof that they have ideas on how to fix the current border crisis. It, of course is pure theatre: the Senate has their own plan and will give scant attention to, much less pass, any House plan. But more than that, to suggest or worry that there are no ideas on immigration on the part of House Republicans is to side with those with those who believe that, at its heart, the current border crisis is a humanitarian problem and not one if security and law. The issue is essentially binary: you prioritize aid, shelter, education, housing, and even citizenship for those who break the law; or you prioritize a physically and legally secure border that is both a literal and figurative line in the sand. There is no common ground, only compromises for the sake of political expediency.
Posted by AllardK on July 28, 2014 at 3:37 PM
Plausible deniability comes from the intelligence community and apparently the term was first put down in embryonic form during the early years of the Cold War. It allows people higher up the chain of command to deny knowledge of, and avoid responsibility for, actions performed by their subordinates. It was designed to allow US government officials to avoid criticism associated with covert actions carried out by intelligence agents in the field. It's understandable, to an extent, in the life and death world of the late 40's where nuclear war had suddenly become a real possibility thanks to Melita Norwood and other Soviet spies that gave the USSR enough secrets to even out the balance of military power.
Posted by AllardK on July 24, 2014 at 5:53 PM
Nuclear power plant operators in Germany have set aside 34 billion euros in anticipation of the cost of scrapping Germany's nuclear power program. It is estimated that it will be insufficient. As the world awaits some sort of response to Russia's role in the MH-17 tragedy, it is worthwhile to reflect on the importance of energy independence. Chancellor Merkel and the EU's response has, so far, been less than robust to put it mildly. Russian gas is of course to blame. It shouldn't be the case in a rational world, but the only rational response to Russian aggression is to place a high enough cost on Putin's actions to at least make him think twice. Any real sanctions must involve energy and that would mean higher energy bills for the average German and European voter.
Posted by Weary_Willie on July 20, 2014 at 1:00 AM
Elizabeth Warren's 11 Commandments of Progressivism
Posted by AllardK on July 17, 2014 at 2:56 PM
Real Clear Politics has released polls on the Republican and Democratic New Hampshire Primaries and if you're a Democrat, it seems to be over already. Hillary is so far ahead, the rest of the Democratic field seem like rounding numbers. That should clear things up for GOP candidates who - as of now and with more than six months to go - face a very competitive race. While they may not be sure who among them will be the winner, they have a pretty good idea of who they will be facing. Why is Hillary so far ahead? In an interview with freelance reporter Samuel Rosales-Avila, he provoked her with a tough question about whether she was too old or not healthy enough to run for president. "It's my turn. I've done my time, and I deserve it." she snapped at him and then stormed out of the interview, which is now off-the-record apparently. Now it might not be fair to start with Bob Dole comparisons at this point because we still have no idea who will be running against Hillary. But it is interesting to ask, why is Hillary Clinton running for president?
Posted by Roy Ellis on July 14, 2014 at 4:31 PM
Allan Sloan has a good article in the WaPo today on how corporations are evading much of their tax liabilities. He laments that corporations, while receiving 'full benefits' are avoiding taxes and sticking Joe Citizen with the bill.» Continue reading "Subsidizing Corporations"...
Posted by Christine & John on August 31, 2014 at 9:13 AM
If you study leadership styles that work best in complex situations, you find that working indirectly and through others is often the best. It seems detached at times, but it mostly consists of working with trends and through people. I have studied successful presidents such as FDR and Ronald Reagan and found that the common thread was exactly this. But in both cases, it was coupled to a energetic optimism and what at least looked like a honest enthusiasm for the job at hand.» Continue reading "Obama compared to great presidents"...
Posted by SPBrooker on August 28, 2014 at 9:59 AM
The protests in Ferguson, Missouri provide the latest example of the militarization of U.S. police forces. The tactics used by police as well as their equipment should be cause for concern to anybody. Granted, protestors were looting, engaging in violence, and attacking police with Molotov cocktails; not exactly a friendly situation. On the other hand, the sight of police in armor using stun grenades on street protestors while armed with sniper rifles and in vehicles meant for the battlefield is disheartening. These images are those that we typically see in the Middle East or in those of corrupt totalitarian states, not the U.S. As a result of outcries emanating from across the spectrum, President Obama has ordered congress to conduct a review of the militarization of police and I support it.
Posted by SPBrooker on August 26, 2014 at 1:09 PM
The Islamic State (IS) is proving to be a real problem for a number of parties including the U.S. Just this week it has been referred to by some senior policymakers in Washington as our gravest current threat while others have said it must be eliminated. Yet only eight months ago President Obama regarded ISIS, the predecessor of IS as a "JV basketball team" implying that they were a second rate group. A bit off the mark I would say. Now with the savage execution of U.S. journalist James Foley, it seems the administration has ramped up its language on IS and is arguing that its rise is not a result of policy failure but due to an underestimation by the intelligence community of its capabilities. As always I take comfort in true leadership that plays the blame game and stays on holiday while the world burns.
Posted by Christine & John on August 21, 2014 at 11:07 PM
The first thing to do is not allow any ideas to be called "racist." We need to call BS on folks like Sharpton & Jackson. We have to stand up to their bullying. We cannot let these guys shut down any discussion by claiming racism. So this is my first view. The problems of black America are mostly the result of racism, but not of current racism. It is racism fossilized in attitudes and behaviors of many of the victims. The challenge how to help break them out of this mind-set and the idea of grievance is not helpful.» Continue reading "An honest discussion of race"...
Posted by SPBrooker on August 19, 2014 at 10:38 AM
On Friday, August 15th, Governor Rick Perry of Texas was indicted by a grand jury convened in Travis County for abuse of power. He has been charged with a first-degree felony, abuse of official capacity, and a third-degree felony, coercion of a public servant. As a possible 2016 GOP presidential contender, this can sink Perry. But we must remember that he has been charged, not convicted. Furthermore, numerous voices from both the right and the left are calling this indictment politically motivated and a far reach and Perry himself has described the indictment as a blatant political move. I for one feel compelled to agree.
Posted by AllardK on August 18, 2014 at 12:13 PM
For Byron York, writing in the Washington Examiner, Libertarianism - or more precisely, libertarian candidates - "could be a troublesome wild card" for GOP candidates in the upcoming midterm elections. Support for a candidate of the Libertarian Party that rises above 5% and approaches 8% could complicate election hopes for Republicans in a number of key Senate races and thus determine whether the GOP wins back the Upper House. For David Frum, writing in the Atlantic - Libertarianism itself is a scourge that will recede like stale flood waters when a Republican takes back the Presidency. Frum, in fact, does not even say Republican when mentioning the presidential elections; he uses conservative instead. And he doesn't exactly say scourge, he just insists that "conservatives succumb to libertarianism in despair, not hope." It's a very pessimistic, if not paranoid, view of the state, according to Frum, where libertarians and disaffected conservatives are ready to defend themselves "with arms if necessary against an inherently and inevitably predatory and hostile state." Them fighting words from the former White House speechwriter.» Continue reading "Libertarians, Conservatives, and the GOP"...
Posted by SPBrooker on August 12, 2014 at 6:38 PM
I am one of the first people to complain when talking heads argue about presidential primary polls when primary elections are more than a year away. If 2012 taught us anything it's that a leading candidate early in the race can be one of the first candidates out by actual election time. Regardless, I've been looking at several polls for potential GOP 2016 candidates (mind you, none of them have declared yet) and it's the same names repeatedly being mentioned. For this I would like to briefly look at the most possible contenders and offer a quick opinion on them. The two most recent national polls I have were conducted by FOX and CNN/Opinion Research. In the former Bush, Perry, Paul, and Christie rounded out the top with Christie, Paul, Huckabee, and Ryan in the latter. Other names in both included Cruz, Walker, Santorum, Ryan, Rubio, and Jindal. In the third and final installment of this series I will look at those candidates who are currently leading in national polls, Texas Governor Richard "Rick" Perry, former Arkansas Governor Michael "Mike" Huckabee, former Florida Governor John 'Jeb" Bush, New Jersey Governor Christopher "Chris" Christie, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Each of these potential candidates are averaging around 11 percent in national polls.
Posted by SPBrooker on August 11, 2014 at 3:08 PM
I am one of the first people to complain when talking heads argue about presidential primary polls when primary elections are more than a year away. If 2012 taught us anything it's that a leading candidate early in the race can be one of the first candidates out by actual election time. Regardless, I've been looking at several polls for potential GOP 2016 candidates (mind you, none of them have declared yet) and it's the same names repeatedly being mentioned. For this I would like to briefly look at the most possible contenders and offer a quick opinion on them. The two most recent national polls I have were conducted by FOX and CNN/Opinion Research. In the former Bush, Perry, Paul, and Christie rounded out the top with Christie, Paul, Huckabee, and Ryan in the latter. Other names in both included Cruz, Walker, Santorum, Ryan, Rubio, and Jindal. In the second installment of this three part series I will look at those candidates who are right in the middle of the pack, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin each averaging around 8 percent in national polls.
Posted by Christine & John on August 8, 2014 at 7:02 AM
Democrats talk about impeachment 20 times as often as Republicans. The word impeachment has been used four times TOTAL by GOP members of Congress. On the other hand, Dem Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) alone used the word 18 times. It is Democrats who want to talk about impeachment. Why so dishonest?» Continue reading "Democrats for impeachment"...
Posted by SPBrooker on August 5, 2014 at 6:25 PM
I am one of the first to complain when talking heads argue about presidential primary polls when primary elections are more than a year away. If 2012 taught us anything it's that a leading candidate early in the race can be one of the first candidates out by actual election time. Regardless, I've been looking at several polls for potential GOP 2016 candidates (mind you, none of them have declared yet) and it's the same names repeatedly being mentioned. For this I would like to briefly look at the most possible contenders and offer a quick opinion on them. The two most recent national polls I have were conducted by FOX and CNN/Opinion Research. In the former Bush, Perry, Paul, and Christie rounded out the top with Christie, Paul, Huckabee, and Ryan in the latter. Other names in both included Cruz, Walker, Santorum, Ryan, Rubio, and Jindal. In this first installment of this three part series I will look at those candidates who are most underperforming, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, each with 5 percent or less.
Posted by SPBrooker on July 29, 2014 at 6:09 PM
Speaker of the House Jon Boehner is expected to carry through with a threat to sue President Obama over his repeated use of executive actions to bypass Congress. Republicans have argued that the president has abused his executive authority frequently and that he is almost an imperious president. The president though has not signaled any intent to stop this behavior; rather he has suggested he will continue to use executive actions including on the immigration situation. Now so far, the House Rules Committee has voted in favor of allowing for a House vote on legislation to bring suit on the president. Will it pass; maybe, maybe not. On the other hand, if the suit passes and the president uses executive orders on the immigration issue, the chances for impeachment increase dramatically.
Posted by Christine & John on July 27, 2014 at 6:47 PM
People often learn their lessons too late. The latest CNN poll shows that Romney would crush Obama if the election were held today. Well, we told you so. But Obama played a good game. He never really said he was good, just that Romney was bad and it worked. Better luck next time.» Continue reading "Too late now to regret voting for Obama"...
Posted by SPBrooker on July 22, 2014 at 1:11 PM
Attorney General Eric Holder, last Sunday on ABC's "This Week", claimed that race is playing a role in the negativity directed towards both he and President Obama. I for one am sick and tired of this public use of race as a primary reason for opposition to the president. Are there race issues in this country, yes, without a doubt. Is this is a majority racist country, absolutely not. Using race to explain opposition is an easy way to avoid admitting that flawed policies are to blame. All the while it seems that it is the left that is making race an issue as they repeatedly bring it up. When is this going to stop?
Posted by SPBrooker on July 15, 2014 at 6:10 PM
On Wednesday, July 9th, President Obama met with Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry to discuss the situation on the border with Mexico. Over the past several weeks illegal immigration over the border has deservingly received increased media attention. Unaccompanied children from various Central American countries have been pouring across the border creating a humanitarian crisis and pushing the limits of what the Border Patrol is capable of. As this crisis has worsened the president has acted aloof even as members of his own party have tried to stress the importance of the situation. While the president described the meeting with Perry as being "constructive," Perry claims that the president isn't serious about securing the border. In all honesty, Perry is absolutely right.