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Citizens United Revisited


Now that the first major election post-Citizens United has passed I thought it would be worth opening the floor to some discussion of everybody’s view on whether Citizens United was a good decision both as constitutional law and in practical application during the election.

I wrote a piece for Political Realities before the decision was issued that was very critical of the decision by the Court to rehear the case a second time. John → Read More

Smart Stimulus: Retrofitting

I confess that I knew that the term “retrofitting” had something to do with updating buildings to make them more modern and efficient but I really wasn’t aware of the enormous potential benefits that can be achieved by retrofitting. Here’s a program that creates jobs, modernizes schools, reduces energy usage, reduces carbon emissions, is self-financing, and frees up money that can be reallocated to more productive uses in our education systems. I’m not sure → Read More

The Buffett Rule and Paying a “Fair Share”


Much has been made in the days following Obama’s State of the Union speech about the presence of Warren Buffett’s secretary alongside Michelle Obama, and the president’s support for a minimum tax rate on millionaires. The so-called Buffett Rule would require individuals with an income above $1 million per year to pay a minimum tax rate on their income of 30%. This, Buffett and the president say, is only fair. I think that blanket → Read More

What’s With the Recall Elections?


The recent recall elections of state senators in Wisconsin leads me to ask a simple question: why? What is the logic behind movements to hold up to 17 state level recall elections in a single state and what is the law that would allow such movements to proceed? My initial response was “this is not how the democratic process is supposed to work” and there is nothing in my research to lead me to → Read More

Let the Bush Tax Cuts Expire


The argument over the pending Bush tax cuts has reached fevered pitch. I know most of you support the Republican position of permanently extending all the tax cuts and you’re probably aware that I think the Democrat position is more reasonable if we are to address our existing and growing budget deficits and national debt. In fact I am continually puzzled by the GOP argument over extending the top tax rate cut while saying → Read More

Meeting in the Middle: A Centrist Position

Tomorrow we go to the polls (actually we have early voting here so I’ve done my citizens duty) and see how strong the political winds have been that are driving the GOP. As our political parties become more partisan and retreat deeper into their respective corners preparing for the next great battle any hope of compromise and effective governance becomes less likely. But for those of us who retain some glimmer of hope of → Read More

Six More Days to Go!

I’m sure many of you are as excited as I am about the changes we will see when Election Day finally arrives; but I doubt our excitement comes from the same source. Many of you anticipate the GOP stampede that will take over the House and perhaps the Senate. There are many GOP and Tea Party themes that I share including the goals of fiscal conservatism, a return of greater power to the states, → Read More

A House Divided


I begin my return to writing for Political Realities with a message shared by Jesus and Lincoln: a house divided against itself will not stand. The United States has become such a house and the repercussions of a divided nation are chilling. As our political parties retreat further and deeper into ideological corners the opportunities for finding common ground that benefits our nation become fewer and fewer. We might debate Obama’s place on the → Read More

California Passes Prop 14


The Tea Party is no longer the archetype of “radical”. California claimed that title this week when it voted to adopt Washington State’s “top two” political system under Proposition 14 and with strong support from The Governator. Say goodbye to party primaries and hello to a wide open field of primary candidates. Under the new system, which will cover all state elections plus elections to the House and Senate (but not presidential elections), the → Read More

Supreme Court issues confounding decisions

The Supreme Court issued two decisions on Monday that I find quite surprising and disturbing. Ordinarily I would write up each case separately but the first, involving the decision to allow to stand a law allowing the federal government to extend the “civil commitment” of sex offenders, was handled extremely well here by Steve Dennis at America’s Watchtower and anything I say would be redundant and not nearly so eloquent. The second case involved → Read More

$500 Million awarded to hepatitis C victim

This seems like a good time to revisit the issue of tort reform. Why now? Because of this story from AP:

“Drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical says it will appeal a $356 million Las Vegas district court verdict awarded to a plaintiff who says he contracted hepatitis C when one of Teva’s drug vials was used by more than one patient.

A jury in Las Vegas ordered Teva and Baxter Healthcare Corp. to pay a combined → Read More

Terrorists, Miranda, and Guns

The Times Square bombing case has produced some interesting side stories not least of which is the proposal, put forward by Joe Lieberman and seconded by John McCain and others, to revoke US citizenship from Americans who join foreign terrorist organizations in fighting against the United States. Lieberman and McCain also assailed the decision to read Faisal Shahzad his Miranda rights saying that Shahzad should be treated as an enemy combatant and turned over → Read More

Oklahoma City — a lesson learned?

The following is extracted from an op-ed written by Bill Clinton and appearing in today’s NY Times:

Finally, we should never forget what drove the bombers, and how they justified their actions to themselves. They took to the ultimate extreme an idea advocated in the months and years before the bombing by an increasingly vocal minority: the belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not → Read More