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Articles: politics

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Democratic National Convention, Again
Thursday, 2008 August 28 - 10:00 pm
Whew. Great speech by Barack Obama. He did what I'd hoped he'd do: he undercut what he expected the Republicans to throw at him next week. Very, very strong.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Democratic National Convention
Tuesday, 2008 August 26 - 9:43 pm
Should I be live blogging the Democratic National Convention? Naah... I just don't have the energy to comment about every B-list politician and "ordinary person" who doesn't have any public speaking skills.

And anyway, many of the same comments apply this year as in years past:
  • speakers think they have to shout into the microphone to be heard
  • political delegates have absolutely no rhythm (and no shame)
  • everyone jumps at the chance to chant something
That being said, so far there have been a couple of highlights. Michelle Obama gave a great speech; the Obama kids were adorable; and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer just gave a pretty entertaining speech.

Hillary is coming on right now. Should be interesting.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Obama Selects Biden as running mate
Saturday, 2008 August 23 - 10:21 am
Barack Obama selected Senator Joe Biden to be his vice presidential running mate this morning. This is pretty much in line with what I had thought the pick would be: male, older, whiter, with more foreign policy experience. However, I did think that Obama would lean towards someone more conservative. Texas congressman Chet Edwards was mentioned frequently in the last few days. Maybe Obama just didn't want the name "Edwards" anywhere near his campaign.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: politics

We Win! (Barack Obama Edition)
Wednesday, 2008 June 4 - 10:40 pm
So Barack Obama has essentially clinched the Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential election. Combining the pledged delegates from the primaries (which FINALLY ended yesterday), and the superdelegate endorsements, Obama now has the majority of the delegates, and is finally really free to focus on the general election.

Big questions still loom.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Obama Wins North Carolina
Tuesday, 2008 May 6 - 7:21 pm
It looks like Obama will win the North Carolina Democratic primary handily. With 5% of precincts reporting so far, Obama is taking 65% of the popular vote. This doesn't surprise me in the least, as nearly every Democrat I know here is an Obama supporter.

Hillary looks to be leading in Indiana, though there's a geographic split in the state that's skewing the early results. The final results are likely to be close. In all, today amounts to a win for Obama; with each Obama victory (or near-victory), he moves closer to eliminating Clinton's case for staying in the race.

When Amy and I went to vote today, we couldn't help but feel a little bit of awe at the prospect of voting for the first African-American president in U.S. history... and this, in the heart of the deep South, the home of Jesse Helms. Amazing.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Deep in the Heart of Taxes
Sunday, 2008 April 13 - 4:40 pm
During tax time last year, I was shocked into a temporary state of Republicanism when I found that my various sales of Apple stock caused me to owe several thousand dollars in capital gains taxes. After squeezing every drop of [legal] deductions out of my returns, I still got socked with a combined federal and state tax bill of about $5700.

This year was somewhat better. I'm actually getting some money back on my federal return. I still owe money on my state return. I blame this on the bizarre NC-4 tax withholding worksheet, which somehow told me I was eligible for eight exemptions on my state taxes. And I believed it. D'oh!

So between my federal and state taxes, and the stimulus-package tax rebate that'll be coming, my net is somewhere around... zero. Which is good, I guess.

There was a question on Yahoo Answers recently (more of a rant than a question, actually), that went something like this: if all the damn liberals are so much in favor of higher taxes, why not make an optional line item on the tax return, so liberals can voluntarily pay more?

I answered thusly: "Sure, sounds reasonable. Also, conservatives who want lower taxes should voluntarily avoid using taxpayer-funded services, like roads, public parks, and the military. If conservatives want to continue the war in Iraq, the should go fight there themselves.

"Or maybe, just maybe, we should all get together and try to do what's in our common best interests, rather than just trying to maximize our personal gains."

My response received a couple of thumbs-ups and a couple of thumbs-downs before the question was deleted by Yahoo altogether.

It does make me wonder, though: are Republicans, because of their anti-tax stance, more likely to cheat on taxes than Democrats? And if so, shouldn't they be audited more frequently?
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Posted by Ken in: lifepolitics

4000 lives and 500 billion dollars later
Wednesday, 2008 March 26 - 10:15 pm
The Iraq war is still going on. It's been five years now. It's like we've almost forgotten, what with the subprime mortgage crisis and recession and all. But yeah, people are still dying, and we're draining money into the desert. 4000 U.S. troops have been killed. And we've spent over $500 billion in direct military costs. We continue to spend about $10 billion a month.

Let's look at what $10 billion a month would buy:
  • All of the oil that the U.S. imports from the Persian Gulf (about $7.5 billion/month)
  • About 28% of our gasoline consumption; or, enough to reduce the price of gas by nearly a dollar a gallon
  • Three new nuclear reactors each month (at roughly $3 billion apiece); in five years, nuclear power could be generating over half of the country's electrical needs
  • A complete solar power system for 250,000 homes every month; in five years, 13% of houses could be powered solely by solar energy

You get the idea. (Of course, this still pales when compared to the cost of health care in this country. But that's an article for another day.)

Meanwhile, 4000 U.S. troops have died. That's two lives per day for every day of the war. It barely makes the news any more, when a roadside bomb kills a Humvee full of soldiers. But you can bet that for the families affected, it still matters.

The good news? Only 10 months are left in Bush's presidency.

10 months. $100 billion. 600 deaths.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Obama Wins 10th Straight; McCain Widens Lead
Wednesday, 2008 February 20 - 9:31 am
Barack Obama handily won primaries in Wisconsin and Hawaii yesterday. He has extended his narrow delegate lead over Hillary Clinton. CNN estimates his delegate total to 1301, compared to Clinton's 1239.

Meanwhile, John McCain won in Wisconsin and Washington, extending his delegate lead to 918-217. Mike Huckabee continues to refuse to withdraw from the race; still, McCain is all but ignoring Huckabee and instead is focusing most of his attacks now on the Democrats.


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Posted by Ken in: politics

Obama, McCain Win Potomac Primaries
Wednesday, 2008 February 13 - 10:30 am
Barack Obama swept to victories by large margins in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. yesterday. John McCain won all three primaries also, but Huckabee came close in Virginia; McCain won 50% to 41% there.

Hillary Clinton's deputy campaign manager stepped down yesterday. Clinton is counting on victories in Ohio and Texas on March 4 to prop up her campaign. Prediction: if Obama wins either state, this race is all but over.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Obama Gains Ground; Huckabee Wins Kansas
Sunday, 2008 February 10 - 8:24 pm
Barack Obama handily won primaries in Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, and the Virgin Islands today, closing the delegate gap with Hillary Clinton. Obama has lots of momentum on his side; on Clinton's part, she has disclosed that she had to lend her campaign $5 million of her own money, and today she replaced her campaign manager. Uh-oh, Hillary.

Meanwhile, Huckabee won Kansas, and continues to carry the flag for disaffected anti-McCain Republicans. The puzzling thing is this: does Huckabee actually believe he can win? McCain's delegate lead is huge. How many campaign dollars does Huckabee want to spend trying to track it down? When will he, like Romney, eventually decide that he should step aside, in the best interests of the party?
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Breaking News: Romney to Exit Race
Thursday, 2008 February 7 - 1:12 pm
A Reuters article cites a "Republican Party source" who says that Mitt Romney will suspend his presidential campaign today.

Judging from blogs and message boards I've been reading, the core of the Republican party is having a tremendously difficult time with this year's campaign. Of the candidates who remained until today, Romney may have come closest to matching their views on the issues that mattered most to them: the economy, and illegal immigration. McCain is widely criticized by conservatives for favoring an "amnesty" program, and has provided very little guidance on what he'd do to help the ailing economy. Huckabee has said that providing social services to immigrants is the responsible Christian thing to do, and has increased taxes on several occasions in Arkansas.

What's a Reagan-era conservative to do with this? The anti-McCain sentiment among many conservatives is so strong, they'd rather boycott the election (or even, egads, vote for a Democrat) than see McCain in office. This includes the shrillest anti-liberal in existence, Ann Coulter, who remarked that she'd vote for Hillary over McCain.

Turmoil. It's the new Republican Party.

Coming soon: an analysis of possible running mates for Obama, Clinton, and McCain.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Super Tuesday Notes
Tuesday, 2008 February 5 - 10:20 pm
As of this writing, Super Tuesday isn't over, but preliminary results are rolling in... and there's no clear winner in either party.

For Democrats, Obama seems to be picking up a lot of votes across western and southern states, whereas Clinton is winning solidly in the northeast. Since Democrats split delegates within states, it's becoming pretty clear that today's results won't decide anything. The exit-poll demographics are interesting: black voters are voting overwhelmingly for Obama; Hillary's strength is primarily coming from white women.

For Republicans, Huckabee is showing surprising strength, leading in a number of southern states. But McCain has taken New York and its winner-take-all 101 delegates, as well as a swath of states across the Midwest. The conventional wisdom is that Romney and Huckabee are splitting the vote among more conservative voters, and McCain is benefiting.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Confluence
Monday, 2008 February 4 - 11:20 am
So tomorrow is Super Tuesday, and Wednesday is college football's national letter-of-intent signing day. If there were also a Macworld expo and an American Idol finale happening this week, the Real Kato Universe of Things I Follow Obsessively would absolutely explode.

Fortunately, only two of the four things are happening, and I think I can wrap my head around both at once. In a single blog post, even.

In election news, Obama has erased Clinton's lead in many polls, most notably in the critical state of California. The Democratic race will probably not be decided this week... in a lot of ways, that's bad news for the Democratic party, who will have to continue spending money on primaries instead of saving for the general election.

The Republican party seems to be consolidating behind John McCain, though it'll be interesting to see where Christian conservative voters go if Huckabee drops out.

As far as Michigan football recruiting goes, the big question mark is still whether Terrelle Pryor will come to Michigan or not. Many fans and analysts think he's leaning slightly towards Ohio State; while that wouldn't spell total disaster for Michigan, it would certainly hurt, especially considering that Michigan desperately needs a spread-offense quarterback. Michigan did pick up Justin Feagin, a two-way player who played both safety and quarterback in high school. If Pryor doesn't end up at Michigan, Feagin might compete for the starting job.

Oh, I do have one quick "American Idol" note... did you catch Jordin Sparks singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl? I thought she did a great rendition.
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Posted by Ken in: politicssports

Florida Primary Results
Wednesday, 2008 January 30 - 9:00 am

Republicans:

  • McCain: 36% (57 delegates)
  • Romney: 31%
  • Giuliani: 15%
  • Huckabee: 13%
  • Paul: 4%

Notes

  • Clinton won the Democratic vote, but Florida was stripped of its delegates by the Democratic Party for moving up its primary date.
  • Florida is a winner-take-all state for delegates.
  • Giuliani is widely expected to drop out of the race today, and possibly endorse McCain. Giuliani had counted on a strong showing in Florida.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

South Carolina Democratic Primary Results
Sunday, 2008 January 27 - 9:52 am

Democrats:

  • Obama: 55% (25 delegates)
  • Clinton: 27% (12 delegates)
  • Edwards: 18% (8 delegates)

Notes

  • John Edwards won South Carolina in 2004. His distant third-place finish must be disappointing to him, and should be a sign of his increasing irrelevance in this race. Time to move on, John.
  • Bill Richardson dropped out of the race on January 10th. Somehow I missed that.
  • Dennis Kucinich dropped out of the Democratic race Thursday. Political blogs continue, though, to keep close tabs on his hot wife.
  • Fred Thompson dropped out of the Republican race Tuesday. Political blogs continue, though, to keep close tabs on his hot wife.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Nevada and South Carolina Results
Sunday, 2008 January 20 - 12:37 pm

Democrats, Nevada:

  • Clinton: 51% (12 delegates)
  • Obama: 45% (13 delegates)
  • Edwards: 4% (0 delegates)
  • Kucinich: 0%
  • Richardson: 0%

Republicans, Nevada:

  • Romney: 51% (18 delegates)
  • Paul: 14% (4 delegates)
  • McCain: 13% (4 delegates)
  • Huckabee: 8% (2 delegates)
  • Thompson: 8% (2 delegates)
  • Giuliani: 4% (1 delegate)
  • Hunter: 2%

Republicans, South Carolina:

  • McCain: 33% (19 delegates)
  • Huckabee: 30% (5 delegates)
  • Thompson: 16%
  • Romney: 15%
  • Paul: 4%
  • Giuliani: 2%
  • Hunter: 0%

Notes

  • Duncan Hunter dropped out of the race, after yesterday's results.
  • John Edwards admits he got his "butt kicked" in Nevada, but vows to press on. My guess, though, is that if he has a poor showing in South Carolina, he'll be pressured to drop out of the race. It's looking very much like a two-horse race. (Why Kucinich continues to campaign is beyond me. And I imagine Richardson must be discouraged by his poor performance in a Southwestern state.)
  • The wide disparities between results in the Republican race reflects, in my opinion, a severe internal conflict in the Republican party. Romney appeals to libertarian-leaning, pro-business conservatives; McCain appeals to values-oriented conservatives; Huckabee appeals to evangelical Christians. The likelihood of a third-party candidate "Nadering" the Republican vote this year seems to be growing.
  • Giuliani continues to pin his hopes on the upcoming Florida primary, and the 22 "Super Tuesday" states that vote on February 5th.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Michigan Primary Results
Wednesday, 2008 January 16 - 9:37 am

Republicans:

  • Romney: 39% (24 delegates)
  • McCain: 30% (5 delegates)
  • Huckabee: 16% (1 delegate)
  • Paul: 6%
  • Thompson: 4%
  • Giuliani: 3%
  • Hunter: 0%

Notes

  • The Democratic Party stripped Michigan of all its delegates for having its primary too early, so Democratic vote counts are essentially meaningless.
  • The Republican Party stripped Michigan of half of its delegates.
  • Liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas had called for Democrats to vote for Mitt Romney, since the Democratic primary was meaningless, and a Romney victory would complicate the close Republican race (and tie up campaign dollars in the primary).
  • McCain now has a dominant lead in national polls, ahead of Huckabee; former front-runner Giuliani is a distant third, and Romney is fourth.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

New Hampshire Primary Results
Wednesday, 2008 January 9 - 9:08 am

Democrats:

  • Clinton: 39% (9 delegates)
  • Obama: 36% (9 delegates)
  • Edwards: 17% (4 delegates)
  • Richardson: 5%
  • Kucinich: 1%

Republicans:

  • McCain: 37% (7 delegates)
  • Romney: 32% (4 delegates)
  • Huckabee: 11% (1 delegate)
  • Giuliani: 9%
  • Paul: 8%
  • Thompson: 1%
  • Hunter: 0%

Notes

  • Delegate counts are estimated.
  • Obama had led significantly in polls in the days leading up to the election.
  • Exit polling reveals that women voted heavily for Clinton, as did voters in big cities.
  • Republicans voted for McCain based on his character, despite agreeing more with Romney on issues.
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Iowa Caucus Results!
Friday, 2008 January 4 - 9:31 am

Democrats:

  • Obama: 38% (16 delegates)
  • Edwards: 30% (14 delegates)
  • Clinton: 29% (15 delegates)
  • Richardson: 2%
  • Biden: 1%
  • Dodd: 0%
  • Kucinich: 0%

Republicans:

  • Huckabee: 34% (17 delegates)
  • Romney: 25% (12 delegates)
  • Thompson: 13% (3 delegates)
  • McCain: 13% (3 delegates)
  • Paul: 10% (2 delegates)
  • Giuliani: 3%
  • Hunter: 0%

Notes

  • I'm going with media projections of Republican delegates; the actual numbers may change. Updated with CNN's delegate projections, January 20, 2008.
  • Clinton received more delegates than Edwards despite receiving less of the popular vote, due to the mechanics of the Democrat's Iowa caucus system.
  • Giuliani did not campaign in Iowa.
  • Joe Biden and Chris Dodd dropped out of the Democratic nominating race after the Iowa results.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

The Field
Wednesday, 2008 January 2 - 9:30 pm
Completing my series on presidential candidates, here's a brief look at the remainder of the Democratic and Republican field.

In earlier posts, I made some detailed observations about Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards on the Democratic side, and Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney on the Republican side. For the rest of the field, I'll keep it brief.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Mitt Romney
Wednesday, 2008 January 2 - 8:58 pm
Continuing my series on presidential candidates, here's my look at Mitt Romney.

If there's a Republican equivalent of John Edwards, it's Romney. Polished. Handsome. Robotic.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: politics

John Edwards
Wednesday, 2008 January 2 - 8:03 pm
Continuing my series on presidential candidates, here's my look at John Edwards.

Pretty boy. Rich lawyer. Inexperienced. Power-hungry. We heard all the criticisms in 2004, when Edwards ran for President and eventually became the Vice-Presidential candidate for the Democrats. And here he is, making another run.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Mike Huckabee
Friday, 2007 December 28 - 6:02 pm
Continuing my series on presidential candidates, here's my look at Mike Huckabee.

"Mike Huckabee? He's the second Republican you're writing about? Really?" Really. Of the crowded Republican field (with no less than five legitimate contenders), Huckabee is the one with all the momentum. He's leading in Iowa polls; a few months ago, that would have seemed inconceivable.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Barack Obama
Monday, 2007 December 17 - 8:05 pm
Continuing my series on presidential candidates, here's my look at Barack Obama.

Four years ago, pretty much no one outside of Illinois had heard of Barack Obama. He was thrust into the national spotlight during the 2004 Democratic convention, where his electrifying speech immediately made people think "Obama in 2008".

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Rudy Giuliani
Thursday, 2007 December 13 - 9:14 am
Continuing my series on presidential candidates, here's my look at Rudy Giuliani. Rudy is kind of a square peg in the round hole that is the Republican Party.

He began his political life as a Democrat. He became an independent during the Ford administration, perhaps in order to help secure his position in the Justice Department. And he became a Republican during the Reagan administration... again, some have accused him of switching parties merely because of career aspirations, not convictions. For his part, he says he came to view the Democratic party as "naïve".

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Hillary Clinton
Friday, 2007 December 7 - 10:00 am
Well, it's getting close to the first primaries and caucuses, and look! I haven't posted my analysis of the candidates yet. So I'll start a series of articles, starting with this one, about Hillary Clinton.

I'm going to start by saying that I usually call her Hillary, like most people do. And right off the bat, that bothers me a little bit, because in our patriarchal society, we tend to call women by their first names and men by their last names. The other candidates aren't known as "John, Barack, and Dennis"; it's "Edwards, Obama, and Kucinich". But we're kind of forced to call Clinton "Hillary", to distinguish her from her famous husband.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Words Words Words, Rhetoric Rhetoric Rhetoric
Tuesday, 2007 September 11 - 8:34 pm
The more I hear politicians talk, the less I believe in them.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Hot Hillary?
Wednesday, 2007 September 5 - 9:26 pm
This is wrong on so many levels.

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Posted by Ken in: funnyhahapolitics

Miscellany
Thursday, 2007 August 23 - 9:34 pm
Tony Snow; infant marriage in Arkansas; smokin' Jesus.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead
Thursday, 2007 August 16 - 9:12 pm
The pieces of the Bush presidency continue to fall apart. Will Democrats take advantage?

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Why Gonzales Should Go
Tuesday, 2007 July 24 - 10:46 pm
The full analysis.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Political Assbaggery
Thursday, 2007 June 28 - 10:55 pm
The Roberts Court steers us back to 1964, while the White House tries to take us back to 1775.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Is Al Sharpton a Bigot?
Thursday, 2007 May 10 - 7:57 pm
Good old Al is taking a beating this week.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Assume Crash Positions
Tuesday, 2007 May 8 - 9:35 pm
The White House recently put out a statement saying we should expect more American casualties in Iraq.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

In the News
Thursday, 2007 May 3 - 7:53 am
Detroit evens the series in the NHL playoffs; a man dies of thirst; the pope compares a comedian to a terrorist.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypoliticssports

Gonzo, You're Doing a Heck of a Job
Monday, 2007 April 30 - 9:15 am
How Bush's staff reflects on him.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

On Gonzalez v. Carhart
Wednesday, 2007 April 18 - 5:40 pm
Today's Supreme Court ruling is a victory for abortion opponents. (Somebody please appoint me to the Supreme Court.)

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Posted by Ken in: politics

More on the 2006 Elections
Thursday, 2006 November 9 - 9:15 am
The good news keeps on coming, and one thing makes it all worthwhile.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

2006 Election Highlights
Wednesday, 2006 November 8 - 9:39 am
A brief recap of election results.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Triangle Area Voter Guide: Printable Guides
Tuesday, 2006 November 7 - 10:04 am
For those of you who haven't yet voted, here are printable guides with my endorsements.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Triangle Area Voter Guide 2006, Part 5: Chatham/Orange County Races
Monday, 2006 November 6 - 1:10 pm
Tomorrow is election day! Here are my endorsements for Chatham and Orange County local elections.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Triangle Area Voter Guide 2006, Part 4: Johnston County Races
Monday, 2006 November 6 - 1:05 pm
Tomorrow is election day! Here are my endorsements for Johnston County local elections.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Triangle Area Voter Guide 2006, Part 3: Durham County Races
Monday, 2006 November 6 - 1:01 pm
Tomorrow is election day! Here are my endorsements for Durham County local elections.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Triangle Area Voter Guide 2006, Part 2: Wake County Races
Monday, 2006 November 6 - 12:55 pm
Tomorrow is election day! Here are my endorsements for Wake County local elections.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Triangle Area Voter Guide 2006, Part 1: U.S. Congress and Statewide Races
Monday, 2006 November 6 - 9:26 am
Tomorrow is election day! Here are my endorsements for U.S. Congress and North Carolina statewide races.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: politics

Upcoming Elections
Wednesday, 2006 October 25 - 6:51 am
Our last chance to put a leash on George W. Bush.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Miscellany
Monday, 2006 October 16 - 9:15 am
2008 race; ban on online gambling; Foley news.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Republicans Continue to Attack Freedom
Monday, 2006 October 2 - 8:41 am
Two more anti-constitutional bits of legislation from our beloved government.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

Briefly
Thursday, 2006 September 14 - 7:26 am
Dennis Hastert is the new Roseanne Barr.

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Posted by Ken in: politics

9/11
Monday, 2006 September 11 - 8:36 am
It's the fifth anniversary of 9/11. In case you forgot.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics


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