The strange status of Washington DC

On the latest episode of his show Last Week Tonight John Oliver looks at the history of how the residents of the District of Columbia ended up without many of the basic electoral rights that the rest of the nation enjoys, the way that Congress interferes with and overrides its decisions, and the feeble excuses given for maintaining the status quo.

You must listen to the song sung by the children at the end, beginning at the 15:30 mark. It is hilarious.
[Read more…]

Suggestion to reduce police abuse: Raise income taxes

As the nationwide unrest over the harassment and killing of people, especially poor and black, by police continues, Jack Hitt at Mother Jones notes that many of these violent confrontations began with what appear to be really trivial offenses and that this can be traced back to local governments using the fines generated by minor offenses as a way of plugging budget shortfalls.
[Read more…]

Good luck with the equal time thing

One of the problems with the coming Republican debate on Thursday is that with 10 candidates in a two-hour format, and allowing for the time taken by the moderators for their questions, that averages out to at most 10 minutes per person. But the stage will contain people who are anxious to make a big impression and want to make sure they are noticed. Furthermore, they are not used to just waiting silently and this can pose a problem for the moderators if people start interrupting each other.
[Read more…]

Bernie Sanders gains on Hillary Clinton

While Donald Trump has riveted people’s attention to the Republican race for the nomination, let us not forget that the Democrats also have a race. It has not drawn much attention since the pundits initially assumed that Hillary Clinton was going to win in a walk but recent events have suggested that Bernie Sanders is not merely a sideshow. He has succeeded to some extent in beating back the fringe candidate label and is thus getting some of the valuable free publicity that comes with reporters for national publications covering his campaign.
[Read more…]

Once again, Fox News takes on Jon Stewart and it does not end well

This time it was about the two sinister, secret meetings between Jon Stewart and president Obama where it was insinuated that they had coordinated a policy agenda. It never seems to dawn on Fox News that trying to attack Stewart and The Daily Show never fails to boomerang on them. They seem to be really slow learners. And as Stewart says, just because you don’t know something does not mean it is a secret.
[Read more…]

Why evangelicals and neoconservatives are trying to stop the Iran deal

It is a cliché that politics makes for strange bedfellows but surely one of the strangest is that between the hardline pro-Israel evangelicals in the US on the one hand and the extreme right-wing politicians in Israel and their neoconservative allies and the Israel lobby in the US on the other. The strong bonds between them are not based on any fondness for each other but purely due to each side seeing the other as serving its own interests.
[Read more…]

And another routine traffic stop ends in death

As if Sandra Bland’s death in the jail where she ended up following a traffic stop for not signaling while changing lanes was not bad enough, now a police officer in Cincinnati Ray Tensing has been indicted for murder following the death of an unarmed black man Samuel DuBose at another routine traffic stop, this time for lacking a front license plate, something that the state of Ohio requires but not all states do. It turned out that DuBose was not carrying a driving license either but he claimed that he had it. What is clear that neither of these facts should have ever resulted in a shooting, even if DuBose was trying to leave the scene without Tensing’s permission. There is no excuse for shooting someone who is not posing a threat to the police or is a potential threat to others.
[Read more…]