Friday, August 30, 2013


There is something profoundly unsettling about the raft of political pundits and play-callers who seem absolutely sure of themselves as to what the Obama administration and the US Government more broadly should do about Syria.  Polls show that the American people, by and large, do not support military intervention in Syria and that a large majority want Obama to seek the approval of Congress before undertaking any use of force.

At least that latter point is one that we can all agree upon.  The recent leaks about the US intelligence apparatus in conjunction with the lingering memories of the Bush Administration's fabrication of a casus belli for the Iraq war have left Americans justifiably skittish of a hawkish President.  

So Obama should go before Congress... and then what?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Of course the NSA used taxpayer dollars to cover PRISM costs

Apparently the new revelation in the ongoing NSA spying story is that the agency used taxpayer dollars to pay for the participation of US communications companies.

Well of course they did.  The NSA story is perhaps the most important political story since Watergate but that doesn't change that this is a fairly obvious point.

The NSA is a government agency. It has a taxpayer funded budget and expecting private corporations to pick up the tab for its operations in time of war or peace is arguably a great deal worse than using tax dollars to fund the latest NSA outrage.
Also, if the NSA were forcing private companies to cough up for its quasi military intelligence operations there would be a fair case for some 3rd Amendment violations on top of the trampling of the 4th and 5th.

It's not news when it's obvious and it's certainly not scandalous.

Monday, August 19, 2013

What's Lacking In The Tea Party: Basic Human Decency

I post this video both infuriated and frustrated.  The fury I feel is for the brave little girl who stood up and asked a difficult and personally painful question in a public form.  She deserved empathy and understanding form her Congressman, regardless of the politics surrounding the immigration issue.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Hispanic, Republican Obama?

Apparently it's never too early to start running for President because Rasmussen has an interesting poll out detailing who Republicans most and least want to see as their party's nominee for the 2016 Presidential race. For a company that's built its reputation on data and polling, Rasmussen is stingy with the numbers so I'll break them out for you here.

The survey asked "Suppose the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary were held in your state today. If you had a choice between Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker or Paul Ryan, for whom would you vote?"  The results break down as follows:

Chris Christie: 21%
Marco Rubio: 18%
Jeb Bush: 16%
Rand Paul: 15%
Paul Ryan: 13%
Scott Walker: 6%
Other: 3%
Undecided: 8%

These numbers show little movement from the results of a McCaltchy poll conducted last month which also showed Christie, Rubio, Bush, and Paul in close contention but there is, of course, much more to a primary than the numbers.  The American primary system pits the candidates in a marathon like race across numerous states.  It's about money, endurance, and not a small bit of quirky luck.  Remember that in the run-up to the 2012 race the GOP primary saw moments where Perry, Cain, Gingrich, and Santorum all lead the polls.

Nonetheless, my money is on Rubio.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How would you like it if Congress took away your health benefit?

Imagine that you're a white collar employee.  You went to college, got good grades, applied to competitive internships.  You snagged a much sought-after position in a competitive field, go to work every day, go "above and beyond" at your job to make sure that the enormous workload of a confusing and arcane subject matter gets handled responsibly -- people's lives could be on the line -- and you go home exhausted and drained at the end of the day.  You make a decent wage but one of the real perks of the job is the benefits - your employer kicks in a tidy 75% of your health insurance premium.

Now imagine that the US Congress took that away.  Imagine how upset you'd be, how betrayed you'd feel.  Now stop imagining because Congress did that as part of the PPACA -- the so-called "Obamacare" law.

Outrageous, right?  We should repeal that part immediately, right?  Surely the Republicans on the Hill have your back on this one!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Shot for Teacher

Imagine that your kids go to a school where a number of the teachers are armed and trained to respond with deadly force in the event of a school shooting.  I don't mean that they carry concealed handguns; we're talking about a week and a half's worth of training, shoot-or-don't-shoot scenarios, the whole bit.  They're even licensed as security guards by the state.

Would you want your kids there?