Archives for January 2017

Pence Becomes First Ever VP to Address March for Life - And It Was Worth the Wait

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It took 44 years, but a sitting Vice President has finally spoken at the annual March for Life rally in Washington, DC. The event kicked off today to a crowd of many thousands on the National Mall, and Vice President Mike Pence was on hand to deliver a rousing speech in person. He is now the highest ranked government official to ever speak at the event since its inception in 1974, the year after the Roe v Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

President Trump himself is expected to give a remote address from the White House tomorrow, as previous presidents, Reagan and George W Bush, did before him.

Pence’s speech, which briefly descended to boilerplate campaign rhetoric, was otherwise pitch-perfect on the central issue of the day. He highlighted the many ways “life is winning”, with abortions steadily declining nationwide, and pro-life legislation advancing in many states over the last decade.

Though the progress of the pro-life movement is vital (literally), the reasons it has succeeded are just as important, and Pence highlighted them exhaustively.

Trump Arrogantly Declared His Inauguration a National Holiday - Just Like Someone Else

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The internet outrage machine kicked into high gear this week when President Trump declared his inauguration day a National Day of Patriotic Devotion. The order itself is fairly inoccuous.

There are no greater people than the American citizenry, and as long as we believe in ourselves, and our country, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

The level of arrogance required to declare your own inauguration a national holiday, though, is astounding. Unsurprisingly, it reminded many of third world despots.

Obama’s Legacy: Drug Warrior-in-Chief

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As the sun sets today on President Obama’s two terms in the White House and dawns on incoming President Trump’s first, the “legacy” pieces have already started flowing. Most of them are, of course, glowing, noting his transformational moves in many areas, like LGBT protections and healthcare. But on criminal justice and civil liberties issues where he had the chance to be equally radical, he’s been at best a nudge and at worst a reactionary.

Barack Obama, leader of the “Choom Gang” of potheads in high school, could have literally ended the War on Drugs, at least federally. He could have been the example to show that drug use in and of itself is harmless for the vast majority of people, especially marijuana. Drug abuse is a scourge to be treated as a health care issue, but not moderate recreational use, and certainly not with a federal paramilitary war costing billions every year and incarcerating hundreds of thousands of men and women.

Although not directly in control of it, the president can request that the various departments with relevant oversight change the classification of marijuana and other drugs. As political appointees, the heads of those departments answer to the president and can be replaced by more ameanable yet still qualified candidates if they don’t perform to his satisfaction.

This is not about Meryl Streep

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But she tried her best to make it that way.

Just like Trump himself is often praised at being a master troll, getting people to attack him for things that end up showing their own weakness instead, Meryl Streep accepted her Cecil B Demille Lifetime Achievement Award last night at the Golden Globes by attacking the president-elect, his supporters, and their very culture. She knew that anyone riposting her would be attacked by hordes of online fans as mysogynist, xenophibic, etc etc etc.

So this is not about her. She is an immensely talented actress, and by all accounts a gracious and generous person. It’s about what she said, how nauseatingly predictable it all was, and the entitled, tunnel-vision worldview that fostered it.

The speech began by pointing out all the talented, foreign-born actors at the awards show. The ability of Hollywood to attract the best and brightest from around the world to become Americans, on screen if not by law, is truly a remarkable microcosm of the overall immigration system.

Streep used it instead to pretend that the incoming Trump administration has an actual plan to “kick them all out”. Fact check: Pants on fire. Hugh Laurie accepted an award earlier in the evening and joked that he was proud to accept the award the last time they would be handed out, since an organization called the Hollywood Foreign Press probably wouldn’t be around much longer in Trump’s America.

Poll shows support for Obamacare repeal, reporting spins instead

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After the newly sworn-in Senate voted last night in the first procedural move to pass a budget that (never balances but) repeals Obamacare, the news is awash in stories of agony and warning.

52 million people have preexisting conditions that wouldn’t be coverable without it! Even though no one wants to scrap preexisting coverage.

20 million people have gained insurance coverage under the law! Actually, most of them have been through Medicaid, a welfare program, not even subsidized exchange insurance.

And now a new poll seeks to add a clever spin to the anti-repeal campaign.

Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy and polling organization, has a new report out showing that 49% of adults support repeal of the law, while 47% oppose. It’s a close result that’s technically within the margin of error. But that’s not good enough for Kaiser, or the Huffington Post, which both reported the result differently.


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