Tuesday November 25, 2014
April 27th, 2014
This week's announcement that the Justice Department will expand the criteria for offering clemency marks a new, and long overdue, chapter in the politics of crime. Under the new rules, low-level nonviolent offenders who have served at least 10 years of their sentence, have no history of violence either before they went to prison or while serving in prison, and have demonstrated good conduct in prison, will be eligible to seek clemency and be released from prison.
Next November, the Republican Party is banking on the cranky.
Don’t laugh. This appears to be a very good wager.
Good enough to hold onto the U.S. House. Good enough, even, to take the Senate.
Democrats don’t want to acknowledge that possibility, but it is way beyond real, and for two good reasons:
What a month! We have had Fair Pay Day, April 8, the day when women's pay caught up with what men would have made in the twelve month period ending December 31, 2013. Then there was that infamous April 15 date. That one needs no explanation. It is etched in our brains, especially if we expect a tax refund, perhaps even more if we owe. More recently we recognized Earth Day when we supposedly take a long hard look at how we are managing - or not, as the case be - our natural resources.
Twenty years ago, half of America's dozen largest cities had Republican mayors. Today, just one does. Of the 30 largest U.S. cities, 26 have Democratic mayors - the greatest partisan imbalance perhaps since the presidency of James Monroe, when the nation had only one political party.
It probably wouldn't be fair to call it a moment of humility. It was more like a little hitch in the swagger. The man himself would never show that he was awed or intimidated, but even he paused to appreciate the magnitude of what was being done. "The scale of the investment is large," said Russian President Vladimir Putin. "It is scary to utter such huge figures."
To paraphrase Sean Hannity, we're getting awfully far away from the tortoise.
You know that it is a slow week for news when the big story is that a man who thinks he should be allowed to let his cattle graze harmoniously for free on protected federal lands might have some racist opinions. What? Why do we care about his thoughts on race? Why, for that matter, were we listening to him in the first place?
Cliven Bundy, the rancher who swiftly became a conservative hero after a confrontation with the Bureau of Land Management, seems destined to lose his halo with rather remarkable speed after the New York Times today reported some comments of his.
Ellen Murray cheats at games. She swindles, hoodwinks and tricks the kids she is playing with. And then she has to explain to them what just happened.
"They will always let me take their turn, again and again," said Murray. "And we have to teach them to stand up for themselves."
Here's a bit of good news for nervous Democrats: President Barack Obama's health-care law isn't going to be the albatross many feared it would be in this year's congressional elections. Enrollment has soared, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the program will cost less than initially projected and that premiums will rise only slightly this year.