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Last Build Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:11:06 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2008

Red-State Democrats Gamble418886

2018/01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:10:42 -0600

Months from now, as the pressures of midterm elections bear down on a handful of incumbent Democratic U.S. senators in states President Trump won in 2016, pundits may start to recall a meeting held at the White House on a cold January afternoon and wonder whether they missed something important. Immediately after the televised Jan. 9 meeting, everyone discussed the meeting as a live-mic free-for-all and focused on the theatrics. They speculated openly that Trump held the meeting to dispel any notion that he is mentally fit. Once again, the pundits were missing the little nuances of how much...

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The Coup That Succeeded433796

2018/01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:03:57 -0600

The Wall Street Journal celebrated the new year with wonderful news. "We're pleased to report that there hasn't been a fascist coup in Washington," announced a Jan. 1 editorial. True enough, but as two Harvard professors point out in a new book, coups are so 20th century. Democracies perish, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt point out, by a kind of civic Alzheimer's. They forget to function. This has been the case in Poland, Hungary, Venezuela and Turkey, to name just four countries under odious regimes. As for the United States, a kind of coup has already succeeded. Truth has been...

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10 Thoughts on the President and the 'S---hole Countries'438623

2018/01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:03:51 -0600

Here are ten thoughts on the president's alleged use of the word "s---hole" in describing Haiti, a Central American country and African countries: 1. There are few filters between President Donald Trump's mind and mouth. That is his appeal and his weakness. It is very common that a person's strengths are also weaknesses. I wish Trump's tweets and comments were as forthright -- as un-P.C. -- as they are now but stated in a sophisticated way. I also wish that cheesecake were not fattening. But just as cheesecake comes with sugar, Donald Trump comes with unsophisticated rhetoric. People are...

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Democrats Need to Stop Ingesting the Right's Propaganda417510

2018/01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:03:44 -0600

Donald Trump is fabulously adept at taking credit for and exaggerating every bit of good news, especially good economic news. When the news is bad, he changes the subject. Trump is the master, but Republicans generally are skilled at fine-tailoring reality for their benefit. Democrats are the opposite. They seem to assume that the public automatically sees the good things happening when they're in charge. Like psychologically abused children, they internalize almost any criticism. That's why rather than retell the story in the most flattering light, they dive into a defensive crouch. The...

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Joining With China; What Chappelle Knows; Museum of Failure; Last Call

2018/01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 08:17:06 -0600

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, January 16, 2018. On this date in 1920, Americans who liked to imbibe in any acholic beverage other than communion wine wondered just what in hell a freedom-loving people had done to themselves. Whether you favored a locally brewed beer at your favorite saloon, a nicely aged red wine with dinner, or an exquisite island single-malt Scotch sipped in the privacy of your study -- it didn’t matter. If you lived in the United States, you were about to be confronted with a stark decision: You could quit drinking altogether. Or become a lawbreaker. That’s...

Trump Accuses Democrat of Undermining Trust on Immigration439720

2018/01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:32:47 -0600

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump turned his Twitter torment on the Democrat in the room where immigration talks with lawmakers took a famously coarse turn, saying Sen. Dick Durbin misrepresented what he had said about African nations and Haiti and, in the process, undermined the trust needed to make a deal. On a day of remembrance for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Trump spent time Monday at his golf course with no public events, bypassing the acts of service that his predecessor staged in honor of the civil rights leader. Instead Trump dedicated his weekly address to King’s...

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Feeling Demoralized Lately?439690

2018/01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:05:24 -0600

"Demoralization" is the word that currently burbles up at 3 a.m. like the red pepper flakes from a second helping of spaghetti. Demoralization is afoot. We must define it. We must think about it. We must, in the end, worry about it. We need, for starters, a moral Alka Seltzer. The definition of "demoralize," from the Oxford English Dictionary: "Corrupt the morals or moral principles of; deprave." From which I extrapolate: Demoralization means, in large part, accepting as fine and fitting and who-cares-anyway that which once you wouldn't have accepted on account of principles seen as right and...

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Trump Rejects American Ideals of Diversity439110

2018/01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:22:19 -0600

WASHINGTON -- President Trump's intent could not be more explicit: He wants immigration policies that admit white people and shut the door to black and brown people. That is pure racism -- and the Republican Party, which traces its heritage to Abraham Lincoln, must decide whether to go along. Silly me. The GOP seems to have made its choice, judging by the weaselly response from most of the Republicans who were in the Oval Office on Thursday when Trump made vile and nakedly racist remarks. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., heard the president clearly: Trump referred to African nations as "shithole...

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Trump Is at War With the Central Ideal of the Republic428864

2018/01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:21:23 -0600

WASHINGTON -- Sometimes it is necessary to begin with the obvious. The claim that America needs more Norwegian migrants and fewer Africans from "sh-thole countries" is racist. It is not the same as arguing for a higher-skilled immigrant pool. That argument might go something like: "We need a higher-skilled immigrant pool." President Trump, according to the compelling weight of evidence, treated African countries (along with Haiti and some other nations) as places of misery filled with undesirable people. That is a prejudice based on a stereotype rooted in invincible ignorance. Why not assume...

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Trump: In Immigration Debate, Race Matters438481

2018/01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:19:46 -0600

President Trump "said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist. ... I cannot believe ... any president has ever spoken the words that I ... heard our president speak yesterday." So wailed Sen. Dick Durbin after departing the White House. And what caused the minority leader to almost faint dead away? Trump called Haiti a "s---hole country," said Durbin, and then asked why we don't have more immigrants from neat places "like Norway." With that, there erupted one of the great media firestorms of the Trump era. On Martin Luther King Day, it was still blazing. Trump concedes he may have...

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Dems Aim For, and Republicans Worry About, Midterm Election Wave439670

2018/01Mon, 15 Jan 2018 09:14:41 -0600

WASHINGTON (AP) — Buoyed by a string of Republican retirements and President Donald Trump’s persistently low approval rating, Democrats are increasingly hopeful about their chances for a midterm election wave that would give them control of the House and deliver a blow to the president. The number of Republicans bowing out rather than bearing down for tough races is the latest worrisome sign for the GOP. Combine that with Trump’s ability to unite Democrats in opposition and historical headwinds, and some Democrats are optimistic. “We don’t have an Obama figure...

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Obscuring GOP Gains; Justice Denied? Start the Presses! Words to Live By

2018/01Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:56:43 -0600

Good morning, it’s Monday, January 15, 2018. This is Tom Kavanagh, filling in for Carl, who’s on the West Coast attending to matters both personal and professional. I’m sure he would be quick to remind us that today is Martin Luther King Day. But many Americans will consider its arrival at this moment in time to be ironic, and possibly heart-breaking: the civil rights icon is remembered not just for his actions but for his words, which were steeped in civility even as they confronted ugly truths. Nearly 50 years after King’s death, we haven’t shied from the...

Does the Fed Need a New Playbook?434342

2018/01Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:52:03 -0600

WASHINGTON -- The record of economists, including those at the Federal Reserve, over the past half century has been discouraging. The two greatest blunders are well-known: policies that fed double-digit inflation in the 1970s, reaching a peak of 13.5 percent in 1980; and the more recent failure to prevent the 2008-09 financial crisis and Great Recession, sending unemployment to 10 percent. Unfortunately, there are many other lapses. Economists generally have been unable to predict the onset of recessions. Since at least the 1970s, they have routinely missed turning points in productivity, for...

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Will Trump Exhaust Our Democratic Capacities?439505

2018/01Mon, 15 Jan 2018 07:51:53 -0600

WASHINGTON -- Political leaders in democracies have a few core obligations. They are charged with solving today's problems and preparing their nations for the future. They are responsible for creating some sense of shared purpose and mutual respect among their citizens -- above all a common commitment to preserving the very freedoms on which democracy depends. Within this context, citizens exercise their right to argue about how to define the public interest, how to identify the central problems, and how to choose among competing values. Given my social democratic leanings I would assert, for...

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Pressure Builds for Trump to Change Federal Ethanol Mandate426116

2018/01Sun, 14 Jan 2018 07:21:43 -0600

WASHINGTON -- On the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump embraced the federal mandate for ethanol in fuel -- as many politicians, including Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush before him, did in the crush to grab votes in corn-rich Iowa. As president, Trump has stuck by that campaign promise. But now free-market conservative groups and oil-state Republicans are pushing the administration to cut the corn cord. For Ken Cuccinelli of the conservative group FreedomWorks, it's a moral issue. As the former GOP Virginia attorney general sees it, the ethanol mandate, which is part of...

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A Typical Week in an Appalling Presidency439110

2018/01Sun, 14 Jan 2018 14:50:29 -0600

WASHINGTON -- The past week of the Trump presidency felt like that point in a video game when you've reached a new level and the widgets suddenly start flying at you too fast to dodge. There was an attack on free speech. On an independent judiciary. And with the president's horrific reference to "shithole countries," on America's tradition of offering a welcoming hand to the downtrodden. So much, so quickly that it's difficult to process it all. But we must. To fail to note these departures from normalcy, from the institutions and values that have actually made America great all along, is to...

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Trump Imperils Economic Gains as GOP Midterm Issue439562

2018/01Sat, 13 Jan 2018 17:34:48 -0600

Republicans have a platter of good economic news to run on in the 2018 elections: a surging stock market, a 4.1 percent unemployment rate, high consumer confidence, and weeks’ worth of headlines showcasing companies handing bonuses to their employees while crediting the newly signed GOP tax bill. But they also have Donald Trump. Though so much positive economic data helps Republican congressional candidates counter the traditional midterm headwinds a party in power faces, the president continues to step on his — and his party's — encouraging news. This dynamic was on full...

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The Takeaway: Trump's Very Bad/Very Good Year One439530

2018/01Fri, 12 Jan 2018 13:43:24 -0600

Intriguing tidbits from the week in election surveys and public opinion polls. Master of Disaster: A Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday asked voters to choose one word that best described President Trump’s first year in office. The top three responses to the open-ended question were “disaster,” “chaotic” and “successful.” Buried amid a number of unfavorable assessments of Trump’s character and leadership skills, however, was a striking statistic: The number of people who believe the U.S. economy is in “excellent” shape...

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Jerry Ford's Classy Farewell439555

2018/01Fri, 12 Jan 2018 12:22:08 -0600

On this date in 1977, President Ford delivered a State of the Union speech that doubled as his farewell address. Although Ford had lost the presidency two months earlier to Jimmy Carter in a close, and cleanly fought, campaign, the two men were destined to become close friends. No one knew at the time how that bond would develop, but what observant Americans did know -- and were reminded of 41 years ago today -- was how fortunate we had all been to have had Jerry Ford in the White House during that difficult period in American history. * * * At 9:10 p.m. on January 12, 1977, House Speaker...

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Blue Arizona? Trump's First Year; the Drilling Dilemma; Ford's Classy Farewell

2018/01Fri, 12 Jan 2018 07:53:58 -0600

Good morning, it’s Friday, January 12, 2018. On this date in 1977, President Ford delivered a State of the Union speech that doubled as his farewell address. Although Ford had lost the presidency two months earlier to Jimmy Carter in a close, and cleanly fought, campaign, the two men were destined to become close friends. No one knew at the time how that bond would develop, but what observant Americans did know -- and were reminded of 41 years ago today -- was how fortunate we had all been to have had Jerry Ford in the White House during that difficult period in American...

McSally Launches Senate Campaign in Heated Arizona Contest439534

2018/01Fri, 12 Jan 2018 06:35:58 -0600

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally called on the national GOP to “grow a pair of ovaries” as she launched her bid for the U.S. Senate on Friday, joining the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake by embracing President Donald Trump and his outsider playbook in one of the nation’s premier Senate contests. Like few others, the Arizona election is expected to showcase the feud between the Republican Party’s establishment and its fiery anti-immigration wing in particular — all in a border state that features one of the...

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Can Democrats Turn Arizona Blue?439498

2018/01Fri, 12 Jan 2018 14:39:49 -0600

Arizona may be ground zero for the battle within the Republican Party this year, with a three-way GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake pitting controversial hard-liners against establishment forces aiming to halt the momentum of party outsiders. Democrats, meanwhile, are ecstatic about the crowded opposition field, hoping that a long, potentially nasty primary on the Republican side can pave the way for the first Democratic senator from the Grand Canyon State in three decades. Those hopes likely fall to Kyrsten Sinema, the three-term Phoenix-area congresswoman who was the...

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Consensus and Complication433694

2018/01Fri, 12 Jan 2018 17:48:22 -0600

Prior to President Obama implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he said he had no constitutional authority to act. He did it anyway and also a similar program for the parents of those children. DACA children, often called Dreamers, are illegal aliens. Their parents brought them to this country, often as children, and they know no other home. Since President Bush first brought up the subject in 2005, Congress has been grappling with what to do with illegal immigrants and their children. Neither side has wanted to finalize a solution. Republicans could not in 2005...

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Trump's First Year: Historically Good for America439155

2018/01Fri, 12 Jan 2018 13:42:22 -0600

COMMENTARY President Trump’s stature is only growing in the eyes of the people responsible for American job creation and wage growth. No matter what spin the media put on the first year of the new administration, the numbers don’t lie. What began as a Trump rally in November 2016 has turned into the Great American Economic Renaissance. Since Trump was elected, the stock market has skyrocketed to never-before-seen highs, setting records and creating $5 trillion in wealth for pensions, retirement and savings accounts. The economy’s ongoing expansion already is the third-longest in U.S....

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Sofia Vergara, Frozen Embryos and Forced Procreation439490

2018/01Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:08:39 -0600

The Supreme Court of Colorado will soon rule on whether a person has a constitutional right to not procreate. The dispute is between Drake Rooks and his ex-wife, Mandy Rooks. The couple were married in 2002. They had three children using in vitro fertilization, but were left with six frozen embryos. In 2014, they divorced. Now they are embroiled in a legal battle over what should become of those "snow babies." Mandy, 40, who reportedly always dreamed of having a large family, would like to use some or all of them to have more children. Drake, 50, says absolutely not. "It just seems like a guy...

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