Streams

The Vacuum Olbermann Leaves

Saturday, January 22, 2011

We can’t know yet whether it was the Comcast deal, fear of Olbermann’s antiestablishment approach, frustration with his temperament, or his own aggravation at being second-guessed by management that led to his departure. That story will shake out in the days and weeks ahead. What is clear, though, is that he has had his impact.

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When Democrats Retire

Friday, January 21, 2011

If you’re not willing to go down fighting, then you’re probably not willing to fight in the first place.

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My Background with Federal Background Checks

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I remember my background check. I thought it was intrusive, a violation of my privacy and unnecessary.

Now, 17 years later, the U.S. Supreme Court has passed on the very question that's been sitting at the back of my mind, ever since: Does the government have the power to insist that federal employees candidly answer intrusive personal questions — including whether they have received treatment or counseling for illegal drug use?

For the Supreme Court, the answer was so clear, it was a slam-dunk: 8-0 voting yes.

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Opinion: I Actually Agree with Rush Limbaugh

Thursday, January 20, 2011

As a pretty staunch centrist independent, I agree very little with Rush Limbaugh. But when I see eye to eye with those whom I have deep seated disagreements with, I think it's good to highlight those commonalities.

In this case he is right on the money with his opposition to the effort to force commentators to give equal time to differing opinions on political commentary shows. As much as something like this passing might just lead me to start watching cable news again, this inaccurately labeled "Fairness Doctrine" is a clear infringement on free speech, and I'm glad the recent calls to bring it back don't look to be gaining traction.

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Mayor Bloomberg's Ready to Listen to Us?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Not many people expected to say the word “crowdsourcing” in Bloomberg's 10th State of the City address on Wednesday.

Of course, it’s not surprising to hear the word employed in a public official’s speech. Far from simply being the latest fad, crowdsourcing is real, potentially quite powerful and should be thoughtfully engaged by government. What makes it surprising is hearing it in this mayor’s address, because Mayor Bloomberg is not a crowdsourcey kind of guy.

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Guns Don’t Kill People, Bullets Kill People

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Experience suggests there is little chance the attack will produce significant new legislation, let alone change a national culture that has been accepting of guns since its inception—unless we try something new and different.

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Congress: Back to Work as Usual

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WNYC

Perhaps the greatest week of the 112th Congress will be remembered as the week they didn’t do anything at all.

Even before the mid-term elections decidedly handed the Speaker’s gavel to Rep. John Boehner, people expected that the 112th Congress would be different. The 111th had been marked by the energetic, progressive agenda of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the House, which produced a series of far-reaching legislation over Republican objections. Then, these proposals died in the Senate, which was paralyzed by the threat of a filibuster at every turn. As the Republicans relished their role as “The Party of No,” the Democrats – in a non-obvious strategy – mostly negotiated with themselves, making concessions to their caucus’s conservative colleagues and producing watered-down results that the GOP still didn’t vote for.

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Redistricting Could Mean More Power for Swing Voters

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just two short years ago, political punditland was awash with predictions of permanent Democratic majorities as far as the eye could see. A few years before that, Karl Rove’s troopers were claiming that they’d changed the face of our electoral landscape, with similar predictions of “painting the map red." Both claimed the country was going their direction, and a more strident liberalism or conservatism was the ticket to permanent majorities.

Time has shown both of these predictions were complete garbage. Centrist independents, and moderates of all stripes, rewarded the two major parties’ increased pandering to their bases, and abuse of power, by swinging the opposite direction a few years later. The number of years between swings has been shrinking even more, as more in the center let it sink in that neither party is going to turn back.

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The Case for Nonpartisan Redistricting

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Now that the public is so justifiably disgusted by politics as usual, perhaps it will be possible to persuade political leaders to agree to such commissions if they were designed based on a combination of partisan politics and population. Each party would get a proportion of seats based on the census population totals and the percentage of votes it received in the last presidential election. The independent commission would allocate each party the number of seats to which it is entitled and then settle disputes over district configuration to insure that the majority party does not exploits its status to design new districts at the expense of the minority party.

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How Would the King Rate the President?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Throughout the course of his all too brief life, Dr. Martin Luther King used the power of the spoken word to deliver both messages of warning and redemption for a nation that had not lived up to the true meaning of its creed. Now, as we fast forward nearly fifty years after he delivered his most famous speech on the national mall in Washington, America has its first president of color in Barack Obama.

But I firmly believe that King, operating under the guise of the universal Negro principle, “All my skin folk ain’t my kin folk," would not shy away from criticizing Obama where he found both our nation and our leader lacking.

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Stucknation: Cashing Dr. King's Promissory Note

Monday, January 17, 2011

More than 40 years after Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech challenged the nation, that American "promissory note" remains an IOU for millions of Americans.

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Restoring the Dream of Nonviolence

Monday, January 17, 2011

A national holiday is nice; but it is not enough. To honor and respect the memory of Dr. King, those massacred in Arizona and all Americans who have lost their lives to senseless violence, we must show the courage on the issue of gun control.

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What We Learned: Top 10 Political Lessons for 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The good, the bad, the game changers and the so-sos. Here are ten things that happened in 2010 politics that we'd do well to remember in 2011.

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Our Distorted Debate Exaggerates Our Divisions

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The very shape of debate makes it easy for the public to drift into one camp or another, not unlike Coke-Pepsi debates in the 1980s, or the choice between the Yankees or the Mets if you grew up in the Tri-State area.  We’re encouraged to choose a side, to join a team, and there are exactly two sides to choose from.

The result appears to be two very different moralities. But here’s the catch: while the brand loyalties are evenly divided, the underlying values are not. Rather, there is a morality shared by most Americans; and another set of values held by a relative few who simply have enough money and sway to distort the debate.


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Stucknation: Cashing Dr. King's Promissory Note

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ridgewood, NJ—It was Palm Sunday in 1968,  just 72 hours after Dr. King had been murdered. My parents thought it was important that I go with my father to attend an impromptu eccumenical service at the Mount Bethel Baptist Church at the center of the African American section of Ridgewood. 

Even though I was just 12, it was one of those formative moments that helped convince me that I had, even as a pre-teen, some social obligation to a sphere that extended beyond my family. What we all did mattered. The world would become only what we made of it.

When we arrived there was a massive multiracial crowd that the local Ridgewood News put at 2,000. We could not get inside and so I looked up at the front of the church as I listened to eulogies and impassioned sermons. The call to action over the loudspeakers felt taller than the church's towering brick facade.

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In Remembrance: The Honorable John M. Roll

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Federal judge John M. Roll was among the victims killed in the Tucson shootings last week. His untimely death—and the unnerving frequency with which judges require protection from violence—is a sobering reminder of the perils of public service.

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A Conservative View of the Last Six Days

Friday, January 14, 2011

Today, six days after the Tucson shootings, most of the liberals who hysterically pointed fingers at Palin are fairly quiet. Instead, there is a call for civility, to put all this behind us and to accept that we're all Americans and we're all in this together.

That's not going to happen.

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Comments [26]

The Ties that Bind

Friday, January 14, 2011

9 year-old shooting victim Christina Taylor Green was born on September 11, 2001, and killed last Saturday.

As President Obama said, “here was a young girl just becoming aware of our democracy...." 

"She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted," the president said.

He was right. For while I want to live up to Christina’s expectations, while I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it, I am much older than she and it has become difficult to see past the cynicism and vitriol.

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Comments [3]

Dallas Penn Can Save America

Friday, January 14, 2011

The unsettling thing I noticed last year during all the backslapping at the "Rally to Restore Honor," and all the laughter at the "Rally to Restore Sanity," was how many people in America are clearly insane.

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Remembering Clinton's Comforting Words after Oklahoma City

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I had just left my job in the Clinton administration. It was a spring morning. April 19, 1995. A bomb went off at the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City.

I did not know, at that moment, what a big part of my professional life that event would become — the first major news story of my journalism career; the many months I would spend in Denver covering the two federal trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols; and the execution of McVeigh another three years after that. All I knew in April 1995 was that 168 people were dead. 19 of them were children. And we knew that this was the worst act of domestic terrorism on U.S. soil, ever.

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