Posted by Stephen Daugherty on September 13, 2014 at 1:50 PM
I have a certain respect for the power of storytelling. I've been working on a fairly big project for some time now, and as politics has recently ground down into a steady routine of some people spewing hatred about Obama, while other express disappointment that he doesn't magically redeem the country, I've taken to focusing on that, more than other things. Like politics. But as I look at things, I can't help but think we've lowered ourselves, and the only ones who are benefiting are the people racing to the bottom.» Continue reading "The Tabloid Age"...
Posted by TreyL on September 10, 2014 at 1:49 AM
During Super Bowl XLVIII this past February, Governor Rick Snyder (R-MI) ran an ad proclaiming himself "Michigan's Comeback Kid," claiming Michigan's economy was prosperous and wonderful, and the ad even featured Snyder going scuba diving in his own swimming pool. The Republican Governors Association ran ads featuring Sleeping Bear Dunes at sunset (Quite a beautiful, Pure Michigan sight, I might add) and Mackinac Island claiming Michigan's economy was vibrant and while not saying directly that Snyder deserved a second term, proclaimed "The Schauer's Over," a swipe at Mr. Snyder's Democratic challenger, former Congressman Mark Schauer. However even with little name recognition, Mark Schauer's message was getting through to Michiganders, and the race has been close, tied, or even shown Schauer leading since they started polling the election back in December of 2012. Instantly, Snyder's campaign turned negative, abandoning all of Snyder's so-called "accomplishments," and started slinging mud at Schauer. It just goes to show you, all politics is perception.» Continue reading "Michigan Governor's Race Proves Politics Is All About Perception"...
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 Roy Ellis on September 15, 2014 at 8:47 PM
An article,'The Roughed Up American', by Robert Samuelson in today's WaPo related the true facts as to how citizens have fared, economically over the last decade or so.» Continue reading "The Facts Are Catching Up To Globalisation"...
Posted by Rhinehold on September 13, 2014 at 1:38 AM
Besides the modern precedence of President Obama’s defeats in the Supreme Court in regards to their 9-0 rulings against him, the President has repeatedly violated the wording and spirit of the Constitution, as well as his own words, several times in waging war, a power that was given to the Congress for a variety of good reasons.» Continue reading "Obama, the Unconstitutional War President"...
Posted by AllardK on September 12, 2014 at 12:58 PM
The terrorists in ISIS come from around the world, especially the developed world, according to info-grams at CNN's site. Finland, in percentage terms, has a relatively large population of jihadists in ISIS for example. Australia, Canada, the USA of course, and Britain and France all have residents who have joined the crazed army that is terrorizing locals and foreigners alike. For all those determinists who love to point to poverty as the ultimate cause, this data is an obvious refutation of their posture. This is ideology at work, a fanatical creed with delusions of medieval empire; a Caliphate that can act as the base for further conquest. That means any Western citizen, and especially American citizens, anywhere in the world are targets of ISIS. They are a criminal group. They are a terrorist organization. They are a religious organization with military and political ambitions. If there ever was an enemy of the USA and the Western World, ISIS is it.
Posted by DFaris on September 9, 2014 at 11:32 AM
America's one-size-fits-all war on drugs has been going on for quite some time now with not much to show for it. Former government researchers from the UK have ranked 10 of the most frequently abused drugs (including alcohol) according to their relative harm. It's an effort to drive home the fact that what we think we know about the nature of drug harm is either incomplete or, in some cases, flat-out wrong.» Continue reading "The legalization of drugs is not a political issue, but a scientific one"...
Posted by DFaris on September 4, 2014 at 8:23 AM
The question of what to do with immigration in the United States is certainly a complex one, and with a number of important elections on the horizon, in which immigration will almost certainly play a significant role, now is as good an opportunity as any to explore the issue in detail.» Continue reading "Immigration: More of the Same This Election Season?"...
Posted by AllardK on September 2, 2014 at 9:03 AM
ISIS now has a female hostage from the west coast, and are demanding $6.6 million for her release. They are also demanding the release of the Pakistani neuroscientist who plotted to kill American officials and sits in jail in Texas, serving an 86 year term. She was educated in the USA by the way. And there is at least one more American being held by them: Steven Joel Sotloff, a journalist who grew up in Miami, attended Central Florida, and was kidnapped after entering Syria from Turkey. They have apparently lowered their ransom demands but are surely just as willing to kill as before. At the same time, drone-based surveillance and missile attacks are being stepped up - not fast enough according to some - to try and disrupt ISIS on the ground in Syria and northern Iraq.
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 SPBrooker on September 16, 2014 at 7:28 PM
In a recent poll from the Washington Post and ABC News, a majority of Americans believe that the Obama administration has been a "failure." Interestingly enough this includes a sizable number of Democrats who are fed up. Now what does this mean for the president? Well most certainly this view of the American people will be put forth in a tangible way this November where Republican congressional candidates are expected to pick up multiple seats. It can also hurt Obama's ability to gain support among Democrats for issues such as immigration reform as some might be unwilling to stand with a toxic president. Whatever the case may be I'm forced to ask, how is hope and change working out?
Posted by bigtex on September 11, 2014 at 8:25 PM
If you only watch one video today, make it this one.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world."
Posted by bigtex on September 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM
It has been two years since the attacks in Benghazi, and still the only non-answer is blaming a video. For the past 13 years, a dark cloud has hovered over this day as Americans reflect, remember, and mourn the worst terrorist attack we've ever endured.» Continue reading "9/11: Benghazi 2 Years Later & No Answers"...
Posted by AllardK on September 8, 2014 at 11:51 AM
A poll by Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report on how the GOP polls among women purports to raise alarm bells among Republicans. Support for the GOP among American women trails women's support fro the Democratic Party by a noticeable margin. Married women, however, tend to lean Republican in a fairly convincing manner. Strategists like Katie Packer Gage insist that the party needs to fine tune its message to female voters, especially if Hillary does win the nomination, as expected.
Posted by SPBrooker on September 5, 2014 at 7:15 PM
With more Russian troops entering the fray in Eastern Ukraine and the stakes growing higher, Washington is at a loss for how to deal with the crisis. After a string of victories against Russian separatists, the Ukrainian army now finds itself being beat back by a new separatist movement in the south which is backed by the Russian military. Now even Democrats are joining Republicans in calling for the distribution of combat arms to the Ukrainians. I firmly believe this is not an option that should be considered. The only reason it is being considered is because we (not just the U.S. but the EU as well) allowed a small crisis escalate out of control and did little. Putin right now has the upper hand and we» Continue reading "At a Loss over Putin"...
Posted by SPBrooker on September 3, 2014 at 3:28 PM
On Thursday August 29th, President Obama held a foreign policy press conference primarily regarding the threat from IS in Iraq and Syria and the deepening conflict in the Ukraine. The biggest take away for social media and mainstream news was that Obama wore a taupe colored suit and not the absolute lack of substance he offered which is shocking. Especially with the threat of IS growing daily and having known about it since last year this administration concedes "we don't have a strategy yet" for dealing with them. Where is the leadership at the helm of this country and where are the advisors and consultants who should be working on a strategy?
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"...