Stormy Seas On California’s Coast

California is playing host to two of our most important partners in Asia: Japan and China. On Tuesday, troops from Japan’s Ground Self Defense Forces (GSDF) arrived for amphibious training exercises with the US Marines off the coast of San Diego. Last Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived at Rancho Mirage to meet with President Obama about national security issues relevant to both countries.… [Read more]

Immigration Reform on the Table – What Will Congress Decide?

The full Senate will soon hold its first immigration vote this week. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) has noted that he sees Congress completing an immigration overhaul by the end of this year, and organised labour has been showing its support for an immigration plan with a multimillion dollar advertising campaign.

Sounds promising.

We can hope.… [Read more]

Spies Like Us

Despite all the Ludlum-Jason Bourne film genre adaptations, Americans are pretty “Johnny-Come-Lately” lame for the snoopery schtick. For all the hype over the exposé from The Guardian (a newspaper NOT yet owned by “Rupert From Oz” Murdoch) over National Security Agency snooping of your Verizon call information, Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald is a bit too tidy for Hollywood’s typecast scruffy, twenty-something Brit journalist with a hipster messenger bag meme getting snuffed by a Central Intelligence Agency hitman in London’s Victoria Station for his scoop.… [Read more]

Nerve Gas Used in Syria

Sources in the United Kingdom and France have confirmed that Syrian attack victims have tested positive for a chemical weapon – the nerve agent sarin. French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, passed evidence of the claim to the head of the United Nations inquiry into chemical weapon use in Syria but not venture to say who, directly, was responsible for the use of sarin.… [Read more]

POTUS Nominating Judicial Appointees

The courts’ decisions “impact our lives,” said President Obama during his announcement today, but it’s no secret that this president has had a more challenging time of getting his nominees through the confirmation process than prior presidents. On average, President Obama’s nominees take three times longer than other presidents. Every president since Woodrow Wilson has nominated judges to the DC Circuit court bench, but partisan politics have stymied the process.… [Read more]

We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1!

The unthinkable happened this past week. A Canadian not named Justin Bieber got more Google search engine action than President Obama, Lady Gaga, or Michele Bachmann – for real.

Let’s play ‘Spot the Mayor’

Rob Ford, our sainted Mayor of Toronto, achieved this remarkable feat. In an age where media attention and draft beer have the same lifespan (leaving aside the rental payments)[1], His Worship appears to be channeling an inner and rather frightening Marion Barry as he fights the persistent allegation that he may have smoked crack with some less than sterling chaps in the darker recesses of Toronto the Good.… [Read more]

If the ‘Obamaphone’ doesn’t ring, it’s me.

The despised “Obamaphone” continues as Republicans’ whipping boy with more longevity than octogenarian publicity-seeking wobbly walker-borne missile Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio could hope for between Geritol shots.

Enter one Louisiana Sen. David “Diaper Boy” Vitter (R-D.C. Madam) into the fabled faux “Obamaphone” fray.  Oh, it’s just too ironic that the Federal Communications Commission low income telephone assistance subsidy expanded from traditional landline service to include wireless in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.… [Read more]

Polls, Politicians and Public Attention – Wrapping Up the Week

Another week, another wrap-up. The problem is that this past week feels like déjà vu all over again as the news cycle spit out one story after another about the “scandals” of Benghazi the IRS and even “umbrella gate.” Yeah, ‘umbrella gate’ — in which the far right has lost what remains of its senses by throwing yet another hissy fit over a Marine holding an umbrella for the President as he delivered a speech during the rain.… [Read more]

I.R.S.: Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

The taxman is the Rodney “No Respect” Dangerfield of government employees. The latest hubbub over alleged Internal Revenue Service “targeting” of government-critical conservative groups is the latest ‘Tempest in a Teapot’ only Congressional Republicans could wail about. You’d think the President dug up ole Geo. Washington’s sacred bones and used them for White House Halloween decorations.… [Read more]

Don’t do it, sir…A Canadian plea to stay out of Syria

Readers of this space know that this Canuck is an admirer of President Obama. An easy call even if the President did not possess his many admirable qualities, given the sad state of his opposition, with knee-jerk abysmalism, and an always tried, never true policy of ‘well, shit, we’re not him’ its ragged, pathetic battle cry.… [Read more]

Sandy’s Anniversary: More homelessness to come?

Six months ago, Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast. As Sandy’s forceful winds blew and lifted waves in its path, entire neighbourhoods were torn apart as homes and lives blew away.

Since then, we’ve seen the best of government: New York and New Jersey’s respective governors, Andrew Cuomo (D) and Chris Christie (R) working hand in hand with President Obama to survey the damage, form assessments and get the wheels turning to expedite aid to displaces families.… [Read more]

Washington Stitches

One has to have a sense of humor to be President of the United States. We saw with Tricky Dick Nixon how anger becomes paranoia, and “All The President’s Men” turned  into a gaggle of bumbling cat burglars out of the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges. Has-been conservative firebrand G. Gordon Liddy probably has an understandable aversion to dining off metal trays from his inmate years.… [Read more]

Wrap-up: Being President – a job that requires a large funny bone

Did you miss last night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner?

White House Correspondents Dinner: President and Mrs. Obama with Conan O’Brien

In terms of a little background, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) is an group of journalists who cover the U.S. President and the White House. According to WHCA, the organisation was founded in 1914 by journalists in response to a rumour that a Congressional committee would select which journalists could attend press conferences of President Woodrow Wilson.… [Read more]

Putting Politics Before the Common Good

Four Democrats helped kill the gun reform legislation supported by nearly 90% of the American public yesterday in a 54-46 vote. Those Democratic Senators who voted against the Toomey-Manchin bill were: Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Max Baucus of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, voted against the bill but that was for ‘procedural reasons’ in that in order to re-introduce the bill at a later date, as leader of the House he is required by rule to vote against it.… [Read more]

Budget Bargaining

Many of us are watching the next move in the political game of financial chess. Today, President Obama will submit his long-awaited budget proposal. Keeping focus on deficit reduction in the face of a slowly recovering economy and unemployment figures that hover in the upper end of the 7 percent level, the president’s proposal includes $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, which is expected to bring in total deficit savings to $4.3 trillion.… [Read more]

Can anyone imagine Congress taking a pay cut?

President Obama’s salary and pension may be exempt from sequestered cuts but that hasn’t stopped him from taking the same cut that other federal employees are being subjected to due to budget sequestration. Today, it was announced that the POTUS plans to return 5% of his $400,000 annual salary in response to and in support of federal workers who are going to be furloughed.… [Read more]

It’s an ‘Obamanation’…Or so the fear goes.

abomination [əˌbɒmɪˈneɪʃən]

noun 1. a person or thing that is disgusting 2. an action that is vicious, vile, etc. 3. intense loathing

It’s clear that many on the right view President Obama as an abomination worthy of disdain — but is it possible that what the electorate is witnessing is their fear that the extremist ideology touted by the right continues to lose support?… [Read more]

Fixing Food Stamps

Part of the fallout from our current recession has been the growth of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), neé ‘Food Stamps,” participation throughout the nation. This Federal program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food & Nutrition Service and the states, provides non-cash food assistance to households in impoverished financial distress.

Republican conservatives regularly use SNAP as a poster child for lambasting ‘welfare’.… [Read more]

The Economy’s Back! But for Whom?

Though the news this week is of the election of Pope Francis and what this means for the Catholic Church’s Legacy following the resignation of Benedict XVI, I want to focus on the big news last week. Last Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit the astronomical all-time high of 14,253.77, and has continued breaking records for nine straight trading days.… [Read more]

We Can’t “Spring Forward” if We’re Going Backwards

“Spring forward”….yes, that’s a good message to share as we wrap up another week. In taking stock of the past week’s events, we can see that several things took place that lay a foundation for moving forward, including but not limited to improvement in the nation’s employment figures, record-setting stock market averages, reauthorisation of the Violence Against Women Act, and even (some) Senate Republicans broke bread with the President to discuss getting beyond the self-imposed sequester.… [Read more]