Archive for July, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking Paper

Posted on July 30, 2011 by

A crazy owner and inept management are destroying a critically important  Southern California institution.  And I’m not talking about the Dodgers.  Recent layoffs of veteran writers at the L.A. Times are not just symptoms of a declining newspaper business.  The once-powerful daily has been run into the ground by Tribune Company’s Sam Zell, a corporate [...]

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Obama – Our Unitary Executive?

Posted on July 28, 2011 by

Remember all the talk during the Bush years about presidential power and the famous torture memo by justice department official (now U.C. Berkeley law scholar) John Yoo.  Yoo is a proponent of unitary executive theory which gives the american president enormous discretion during times of national emergency.  For example: allegedly enabling George Bush to authorize [...]

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Conciliation Fever

Posted on July 22, 2011 by

It’s nervous time for Obama-backers.  Impressed with his handling – so far – of the debt ceiling issue, we’re now worried he will surrender to conciliation fever.  Control your impulse, Mr. President.  Your “base” wants to defend you, but give us something to work with.  If you fold too soon, our friends will wag their [...]

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Ode to the Gang of Six

Posted on July 20, 2011 by

Though they come from separate parties And different regions in the states They have one thing in common Besides their long debates They want to lift the ceiling Before the roof caves in And they know there will hell to pay If default even begins    There’s Warner from Virginia An enterprising sort And North [...]

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Delayed Gratification

Posted on July 19, 2011 by

Blogging offers instant gratification. Even a small time operator with just a few thousand “page views” per month can get hooked on how quickly written material is delivered and consumed. In the old days, you could wait weeks or months to get a piece in a newspaper or magazine.  Always worrying about edits, rewrites, typos [...]

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Boss Obama

Posted on July 16, 2011 by

Just a few months ago republicans were taunting and toying with Barack Obama, insinuating that he was a radical, an alien and an amateur.  Now, conservatives are complaining that he’s really a clever and manipulative bully with the audacity to control the debate and shut people up.  Here’s Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes:  Obama [...]

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The New Reconstruction

Posted on July 14, 2011 by

Republican state legislators and governors are rewriting election rules to make it harder for Americans to register and vote.  Sponsors of laws requiring photo IDs at the polls, restricting early voting or barring ex-offenders from casting ballots cite alleged voter fraud. Behind that ruse, however, is a keen understanding of voter demographics and republican reliance [...]

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Big Trouble for Murdoch and McConnell

Posted on July 13, 2011 by

Are President Obama’s biggest enemies going up in flames?  Fox News mogul Rupert Murdoch is being tarnished by the widening hacking scandal while Senate republican leader Mitch McConnell is being vilified by conservative activists and pundits for his debt ceiling retreat.  Meanwhile Barack Obama is beginning to look like the smartest guy in the room [...]

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Al Franken and the Minnesota Shutdown

Posted on July 9, 2011 by

When Saturday Night Live and Air America celeb Al Franken was finally declared the winner – by a whisker – of the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota, democrats achieved their “filibuster-proof majority.”  (A few months later, of course, we surrendered that exalted status when we lost the Ted Kennedy seat in Massachusetts to republican Scott [...]

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U.S. Unions and China

Posted on July 7, 2011 by

American labor leaders have to be careful when they talk about China.  Though U.S. unions now fully embrace Asian-American workers, this wasn’t always true.  A hundred years ago, Chinese workers in California were vilified by railroad and construction unions. In the 1980s and 1990s, you could detect traces of xenophobia among some American manufacturing workers who were [...]

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Posted on July 4, 2011 by

The recent Harris Happiness Index finds a two percent drop in American happiness this year. Based on a complicated and somewhat dubious methodology, respondents are asked to rate their degree of “life satisfaction” and “feelings of anxiousness” as well as to quantify their own financial, spiritual, familial and interpersonal condition. Accordingly, about a third of [...]

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The Sixties

Posted on July 1, 2011 by

I’m not a big fan of 1960s revivalism.  I don’t look back wistfully on the cultural and political upheaval of that period or ruminate excessively about my personal evolution or transformation. When I talk about “the sixties” I mean my own.  Born in 1951, I’m about to hit that mark.  Don’t worry.  I’m not going [...]

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