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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.

Paranoia Bites The Hand that Feeds It

Posted by Stephen Daugherty on May 9, 2015 at 11:23 AM

When I see things like these conspiracy theories get taken seriously, I worry for this country. The Framers founded the Republic on the notion that people could rationally manage their own affairs, that we wouldn't need "gently" born aristocrats to manage the great unwashed masses. We've come along way, but there's always going to be somebody who wants to mess things up.

» Continue reading "Paranoia Bites The Hand that Feeds It"...

A Problem of Identification

Posted by Stephen Daugherty on May 4, 2015 at 2:12 PM

At a recent Staff Development event, we had a speaker from the Federal Reserve over to talk about the Demographics of the city we serve. What he had to say was pretty astounding, even to someone like me. This report contains much of the surprising information about Houston and it's Metropolitan area, and it should suprise you, too.

» Continue reading "A Problem of Identification"...

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"...

Employer Wage Theft Has Reached 'Epidemic' Levels

Posted by DFaris on May 27, 2015 at 2:45 PM

Does the phrase "wage theft" sound like something that would land an unscrupulous blue- or white-collar employee in either the unemployment line or prison? If so, it's time to set the record straight.

» Continue reading "Employer Wage Theft Has Reached 'Epidemic' Levels"...

Evil Is not Banal

Posted by AllardK on May 22, 2015 at 5:37 PM

There are no "layers of intrigue" in the horrifying details of the murder of the Savapolous family, including their 10 year old son, and their housekeeper. Daron Dylon Wint and four associates have been nabbed and charged. But it is a mistake to insert the term "intrigue" into the story, as if the steady decaying drift into evil that Wint most certainly followed is somehow a thrilling mystery. Wint was accused of assaulting a partner and threatening her in 2009, and in 2010 he was detained with a machete and a BB pistol outside the headquarters of American Iron Works - where Savapolous was CEO - where the former welder had briefly been employed. But then it should not surprise that Fox - or other media far less prone to outrage when describing crime - would allow that salacious and lurid little slip in one of their articles on the murders. With shows like Criminal Minds having long caressed the psychological profiles of sociopaths and Breaking Bad making the desperate choices of crazed criminals seem everyday, why shouldn't Fox feel that the sickening details of these murders are layered levels of "intrigue"?

» Continue reading "Evil Is not Banal"...

Getting Comfortable With Marco Rubio

Posted by AllardK on May 19, 2015 at 8:10 PM

At the Weekly Standard's Broadmoor Summit, Marco Rubio's name supposedly stood out along with Scott Walker's. This may be interesting in as much as attendees at the so-called Summit reflect the views of GOP money men and women. Because as a statistical poll, the sample in Colorado Springs is just a touch small. But the available cash that might flow from those predisposed to give the young Florida senator an earnest listen, is another matter. So the question is: can Rubio start to attract anywhere near the kind of cash that his erstwhile mentor Jeb Bush has been able to? And the reasonable answer is: that depends on what Rubio says and does and on what Jeb says and does.

» Continue reading "Getting Comfortable With Marco Rubio"...

Pollsters: Let the Voters Speak

Posted by AllardK on May 14, 2015 at 7:55 PM

Is the end of polling at hand? Perhaps not, but polling seems to have entered a slow and steady decline in accuracy and in participation rates. Apparently less than 10% of those who receive a call from some organization doing a poll actually answer the call. And moving from landline and cellphones (where people are even less likely to respond) to online surveys brings up serious credibility problems as to how accurate online polling results are. Pollsters nowadays seem to be frantically adjusting their methodology and hoping to present more accurate polling results - look at the May 7 (or next day the 8th to be more accurate) polling failures in the UK. Should we be worried?

» Continue reading "Pollsters: Let the Voters Speak"...

A Shy Sociopath From Birmingham UK

Posted by AllardK on May 11, 2015 at 7:20 PM

A once shy kid in Birmingham England, make that a loner and soon-to-be psychopath, fled the UK in 2013 after jumping bail over charges of cyber mischief to put it politely. Where did he go? Syria. And yes, he's now another ISIS recruit. That he is apparently married to a much older ex-rocker also from the UK who now vows to cut Christians heads off with a blunt knife is just another detail in the increasing litany of unhinged people who are joining the terrorist group. ISIS recruits in places like the UK and Texas in fact don't even fit the term recruits. They are anyone crazy enough to heed ISIS calls for violence. While that makes their actions very hard to predict, it may also mean that they are just that: untrained psycho's who will likely die in the face of any vigorous law enforcement response. But they are out there. How many is something the intelligence community is hopefully working hard to estimate. But the question is, what can be done?

» Continue reading "A Shy Sociopath From Birmingham UK"...

Will Jeb Have a Debate on Immigration?

Posted by AllardK on May 6, 2015 at 7:31 PM

Jeb Bush thinks America needs millions of skilled workers and that his ideas on immigration reform are the right ones. In an interview with National Review's Rich Lowry, he did not seem overly flexible on this issue. As if he has thought the thing through and come to a well-reasoned decision, and he just needs to explain his reasoning for voters to get it. Jeb Bush did not respond with many specifics to Lowry's baiting of him - justified baiting by the way - when stating how much of the Gang of Eight's immigration plan he agrees with. But Jeb Bush's own ideas on immigration reform are quite similar to those of the senators' plan. And that means some shared assumptions that many conservative voters do not hold true.

» Continue reading "Will Jeb Have a Debate on Immigration?"...

Ben Carson Better Speak Up in Detroit

Posted by AllardK on April 30, 2015 at 6:25 PM

Less than a week before his planned speech in Detroit, Ben Carson gave an interview to GQ magazine and the topic was Baltimore. Carson spent 36 years in the city of Baltimore working as a surgeon and becoming an inspiration to African-Americans there for his life story and his work speaking in inner-city schools and conveying a message of the possibilities that exist and one of hope. But if Ben Carson had to speak this weekend say, before heading to Detroit, at a Baltimore inner-city school, what would he say? The GQ interview was perhaps one way to reach those kids, even if the specific media outlet seems a little odd. Who knows? Maybe GQ is a must-read in Baltimore. Maybe he knew his words would reach far beyond the usual GQ readers.

» Continue reading "Ben Carson Better Speak Up in Detroit"...

Byron and Ted and Manhattan Scandals

Posted by AllardK on April 27, 2015 at 11:10 AM

Ted Cruz cleaned up in the American Whig-Cliosophic Society's debating events. For those of us un-burnished by that aristocratic institution, it was founded by a few founding fathers or those near to the founding fathers and still operates at Princeton. Byron York of the Washington Examiner and still the proud owner of foppishly elegant hair, had graduated from the University of Alabama and from the University of Chicago with a master's degree by the time Ted was destroying his opponents over at the AW-CS in the early 90's. But Byron knows a thing or two about sniping. It's part of the craft he has perfected over the years, and Ted would have to expect a shot fired from the elegant Alabma native at the bare-knuckled Texan brawler. It concerns a meeting at a swank NYC apartment - two whole floors overlooking Central Park - that happens to be owned by two very successful Jewish American entrepreneurs. Who happen to be gay. And who happen to have had an unfortunate incident occur at their penthouse during a rather unrestrained party, where a young bartender died of a drug overdose. No drugs were found at the apartment and the case was closed.

» Continue reading "Byron and Ted and Manhattan Scandals"...

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"...

Jeb Bush and the Choir

Posted by Keeley on May 26, 2015 at 1:40 PM

One can argue that church architecture throughout history has been the metaphorical representation of a given society's faith, and even that society's organization. Soaring Gothic Cathedrals as splendid monuments to faith. Humble wooden churches on the great plains as bare puritan houses of worship with little intermediation between the faithful and their God. In Coral Gables, Jeb Bush attends the Church of the Little Flower, a red-tiled-roofed structure with a vaguely neo-romanesque shape. It is here that he takes the wafer of communion at mass as he has done for twenty years now since converting to the faith of the rest of his immediate family. The episcopalian church (or Anglican in the rest of the world) of his youth has drifted with the times and is fractured into distant communities. So Jeb chose the path of the sacraments and absolute authority of Rome. And he began winning elections.

» Continue reading "Jeb Bush and the Choir"...

Give Josh Earnest Another Job

Posted by Keeley on May 20, 2015 at 4:30 PM

As Ramadi falls to Islamic State militants - or ISIS or ISIL or whatever the next name they think up is - one hears cautious detachment and outright concern from the Pentagon. The worry is that Iranian-backed Shiite militants might pre-empt other groups in re-taking Ramadi and have Iraq finally fall under control of it's long time rival Iran. Or that fighting between anti- Islamic State groups will be as bad as the fighting against Islamic State itself. So, according to the Pentagon, the latest fall of Ramadi is merely a case of a small percentage of the city not already under IS control finally falling to the Sunni fighters. The Sunni fighters under IS, not the Sunni groups opposing them, which the Iraqi forces - in the majority Shiite - are desperate to recruit to gain support in Sunni regions of the country in their ongoing battle against IS. So the worry is what happens next and how to help Iraq hold together alliances that can push back and even defeat IS.

» Continue reading "Give Josh Earnest Another Job"...

GOP Debates - March Madness??

Posted by Keeley on May 15, 2015 at 7:30 PM

The GOP is starting to worry about how to have a series of televised debates with an estimated 16 contenders having announced or expected to in the next few weeks or so. How can you squeeze all these people in during, say, a 90 minute televised debate? Some are frankly hoping that more than a few drop out before the debates even begin. But perhaps there is another solution that Republicans haven't considered: March Madness. Think about it. If the NCAA can handle 68 teams in a little over a month and keep a substantial portion of America fixated on the celebrated annual tourney, maybe they can hand a workable solution to the GOP.

» Continue reading "GOP Debates - March Madness??"...

The Glorious Core of Academic Freedom

Posted by Keeley on May 12, 2015 at 7:26 PM

While it's hard to argue against the overall success of charter schools at the elementary and high school levels, one wonders about tenure at the post-secondary level. Is academic tenure at a junior college, or university, a vital defense against those who would erode academic freedom? Or is it a nice cozy union benefit for very well paid workers? Furchtgott-Roth and Meyer's book Disinherited: How Washington is Betraying America's Young certainly takes aim at teacher unions at the first two levels of schooling and how they protect mediocre, incompetent, or outright abusive teachers who may do considerable damage to their students. But the issue of academic tenure at the post-secondary level is also a matter well worth shining a light on.

» Continue reading "The Glorious Core of Academic Freedom"...

Federal Officials Assault Times Square!

Posted by Keeley on May 7, 2015 at 7:08 PM

When you have a federal transportation bill called MAP-21, you can imagine more than a little ambition on the part of it's creators. The 2012 bill seems to be saying they're going to upgrade everything until it's as 21st century as feasibly possible. And you will comply with whatever that means. The full name is the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act - which has a nice Maoist or Stalinist tone to it. It just needs a 5-Year-Plan attached as a final amendment to make it perfect for a central planner. It's a funding and authorization bill that takes care of federal surface transportation. And that includes not just highways between cities but apparently any juncture inside a city that is now deemed a vital link to the federal highway system. And that means that Broadway and Seventh Avenue in Manhattan now fall under the purview of that Act. Yes, Times Square is now officially under the purview of a federal highway act.

» Continue reading "Federal Officials Assault Times Square!"...

No One Wants to Own Spending Cuts

Posted by Keeley on May 1, 2015 at 6:28 PM

No one really seems to want to cut spending. A bipartisan deal to lift sequestration, spending caps in other words, is soon coming to the halls of Congress. The 2011 Budget Control Act which is an attempt at reasonably significant cuts to government spending spread out over a decade, will soon be eroded and/or evaded as Republicans and Democrats in the House work out an agreement on spending bills. No one wants to own spending cuts it seems. And in part, voters share some of the blame. Because it's way easier for the GOP to own tax cuts as an issue, and they do, than to own spending cuts. The inevitable result of this is further deficits and further increases to the national debt, which is merely the accumulation of past deficits plus interest.

» Continue reading "No One Wants to Own Spending Cuts"...

Baltimore: the Worst Moral Hazard of All

Posted by Keeley on April 28, 2015 at 5:07 PM

Graham Nash wrote the protest song Chicago and released it on his first solo album 3 years after the Democratic convention in 1968 and it's conflict-ridden days. It was inevitable that the song be sampled and it was indeed over a decade ago by Westside Connection, among others, in their song Gangsta Nation. The lyrics of the original Graham Nash song include the lines from the chorus, "rules and regulations who needs them, open up the door". Now I suppose the British hippie with the choir boy vocal harmonies did not mean using a crow bar necessarily to open up doors. Although given the behavior of some of the rioters in Chicago in 1968, that would not have been ruled out either. And nearly 50 years after the riots in Chicago, we now have a sampling of the violent political rhetoric of that time, but at the service of the cliched, nihilistic, strutting pose of gangsta rap. Already a known and faded entertainment commodity, but still a powerful rhetorical tool for those with criminal intent who wish to burn the thing down. Be it a store, a police station, or somebody's home.

» Continue reading "Baltimore: the Worst Moral Hazard of All"...

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

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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.

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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.

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