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Bailed Out by the Supreme Court

July 2nd, 2015 

     Progressives had been trying to get universal health care passed in this country since the early 1900s. From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, many presidents have come close to achieving its goal but have never been able to get reform over the line. That changed in 2010 when Barack Obama and Democrats muscled the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) through Congress.

The US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare in 2012 in a decision that infuriated conservatives. Last week, the Court once again upheld the law. Once again conservative ire was directed at Chief Justice John Roberts who wrote the majority opinion in the ruling. In this episode we explore the health care debate over the years and discuss why this latest decision may have bailed the Republican Party out of a potentially tricky situation.

Confederate Debates

June 25th, 2015 

     A 21 year-old man walked into the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC a little over a week ago and after listening to a bible discussion, opened fire on the participants killing nine of them. His stated goal, we learned later, was to start a race war because, he felt, African-Americans were, “taking over the country.”

The debate in the wake of the tragedy has centered around the confederate flag flying on South Carolina Capitol Building grounds. Gov. Nikki Haley announced on Monday that she would move to have the flag removed. But are there deeper issues that need to be addressed here? Are we doing ourselves a disservice by spending as much time focusing on a symbol even though the symbolism in this case is quite significant? We discuss in today’s episode.

Democrats Say No Deal on Trade

June 18th, 2015 

     The president has been trying for several years to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement done. Democrats have been wary of granting the president the fast-track authority (TPA) he claims is vital to getting a larger TPP agreement done. The president pulled out all the stops last week, making a personal visit to Capitol Hill, to plead with Congressional Democrats to give him their support on crucial votes for his trade agenda. But in a stunning defeat Congressional Democrats voted against a worker assistance program (traditionally a Democratic priority) in order to slow down the president’s trade agenda.

What were the details surrounding the Democrats’ rebellion and has the Obama Presidency officially entered lame-duck status? We discuss in today’s episode.

Underestimate at Your Own Risk

June 11th, 2015 

     In 2012 the Republican field of presidential nominees was often referred to as the clown car. Candidates were criticized for having positions that were out of step with the mainstream and for generally seeming to be not quite ready for prime time.

The 2016 field of Republican hopefuls has swelled to nearly 20 candidates. Many on the Democratic side believe the field is going to be a repeat of 2012: full of unserious candidates whose stars will shine brightly at the outset but eventually fizzle out. Are Democrats underestimating Republicans’ ability of making the case that they should win the White House in 2016? We summarize the 2016 presidential field and discuss why 2016 will be different than 2012 on the Republican side in today’s episode.

Patriot Games

June 4th, 2015 

     The US intelligence community took a lot of blame for failing to thwart the 9/11 attacks. In the wake of 9/11 the Patriot Act was passed. It contained several provisions that sought to strengthen some of the intelligence gathering weaknesses that the 9/11 attacks laid bare. Twelve years later, a NSA contractor by the name of Edward Snowden revealed to the world several bulk surveillance programs the US government was conducting that used the Patriot Act as authorization.

The Patriot Act was set to expire this week unless Congress renewed it or passed a competing law that some in Congress were working on in its stead. The debate caused quite a stir on Capitol Hill over the last two weeks. What is the fate of the bulk surveillance programs and the related Patriot Act? We review in today’s episode.

The False Narrative on the Iraq War

May 28th, 2015 

     There are questions in every job interview that a prospective employee knows are going to be asked. The answers, while not disingenuous, are known to everyone, even the person asking them, to be shall we say, rehearsed. And yet if they’re fumbled it is counted against you nonetheless. The same holds true for president candidates.

Jeb Bush was recently asked about his thoughts on the Iraq War. A question he should have seen coming gave him quite a bit of trouble and took several days to straighten out. It did however give rise to a narrative about the Iraq War that seems to be taking hold. What is that narrative? We discuss in today’s episode.

Why is Obama Down with TPP?

May 21st, 2015 

     President Obama has for the last several years been pushing Congress to approve a massive 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and related Trade Promotion Authority. The trade deal has caused consternation on the left side of the aisle that sees the trade deal as NAFTA on steroids. The rift deepened over the last two weeks as a war of words between the President and progressive hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) became public and personal.

What is the TPP and why is it causing so much strife within the Democratic Party? We discuss in today’s show.

Will it be 1998 for the Next Five Years?

May 14th, 2015 

     In 1998 the country was inundated with news about the investigation of the affair between President Bill Clinton and White House Intern Monica Lewinsky. The coverage was incessant, continuous and sordid. Clinton controversies seem to serve as political Rorschach tests, with the observer making of them what they are predisposed to. Recent questions raised about the Clintons, Hillary Clintons use of a private email server and the finances of the Clinton Foundation for example, have once again put controversy over Clinton controversies front and center. What is the cost to the national conversation of this coverage and are there any ‘there’s’ there? We discuss in today’s episode.

Special Announcement – Show Format

May 11th, 2015 

     As many of you know I have been doing the show on a daily basis since around October 2014. Unfortunately it has taken a toll on my income stream. So I am announcing a few changes to the show. I’m excited (and a little scared) about this next step but am hopeful that I will be able to report some good news to you in the weeks and months ahead (don’t worry, the show isn’t going anywhere!). I discuss this special, exciting and scary news in today’s episode.

Is Chris Christie’s White House lane closed?

May 5th, 2015 

     In September 2013 two of three access lanes that connect Fort Lee, NJ to the George Washington Bridge were suddenly closed for 4 days causing extensive and desperate traffic delays. Elected officials insisted that the lane closures were the result of a traffic study. Others, including the Mayor of Fort Lee, insisted the closures were political retribution for the Mayor’s failure to endorse Christie in his gubernatorial reelection bid. The State Attorney’s office has been investigating the lane closures since.

Last week indictments were brought against two of Christie’s former top aides alleging, among other things, conspiracy to commit fraud. What do the indictments mean for the Christie administration and specifically to his 2016 presidential hopes? We discuss in today’s show.

The Word for Baltimore is Holistic

May 4th, 2015 

     The nation’s attention has been fixed on events in Baltimore over the past several weeks as unrest has engulfed the city and brought the plight of impoverished its neighborhoods to the forefront. Some residents exalted, and many were surprised, after hearing the announcements that six Baltimore Police Officers had files charged against them for the death of 25-year-old Freddy Gray.

In this episode we discuss the events in Baltimore and the charges brought against the six officers. We also pose the question, how can we as a nation address the growing problems that our inner cities continue to face in 2015?

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