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Remember when there were no initials?

Summertime is often a quiet time for the press. This means reporters have to go farther down the pile of wire service clippings and press releases to find something to write about. Perhaps that’s why the media gave so much attention to National Public Radio’s decision to officially change their name to NPR. I have to admit, since I have referred to them almost exclusively by their initials for years, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. But to some, probably starved for something to fill copy space, this was a

Read more: Remember when there were no initials?

Will there be another ‘Republican revolution’?

Six months ago, while it was considered a given that Democrats would lose seats in the mid-term House and Senate elections, very few pundits were predicting that their majority was at stake.  However, that’s changed and while it’s still early in the campaign, more and more, the question that keeps coming up is will the midterm elections in 2010 be a repeat of the 1994 Republican Revolution that swept the GOP to power in both Houses of Congress?  The Republicans are hoping it will be and take every opportunity to look for similarities between their 1994 win and this year’s election.  The Democrats on the other hand try to downplay such comparisons.  They argue, with some justification, that the circumstances are different, and that they still have a good chance of holding power in both Houses.  But, both parties are coming to the conclusion that the House, and quite possibly the Senate, are up for grabs.

Read more: Will there be another ‘Republican revolution’?

Afghanistan and the lessons of history

Sometimes, when it comes to war and global politics, it seems as if the present and the past have a way of overlapping.  Recently, on a trip to Scotland’s Capitol, Edinburgh, I was walking across the North Bridge which links the older part of the city with its new town. In the middle of the bridge there is a memorial to the sacrifices of a Scottish Regiment and all its campaigns. One of the most prominent was the Regiment’s deployment to Afghanistan. However, this wasn’t in the 21st century, but rather, covered their service between 1881 and 1883. For a moment, at least for me, past and present were indeed overlapping.

Read more: Afghanistan and the lessons of history

Some good economic news, but it’s still a jobless recovery

Governor Bob McDonnell’s office hasn’t been able to offer much good news when it comes to the state budget or the economy.  However, that may be changing.
 Of course, the Governor’s office is being cautious and isn’t saying much.   
But as we wind down the fiscal year, which in the Commonwealth ends the last day of June, it looks like the state, in 2010, might actually have a surplus.  Yes, you read that right, a surplus. And while we don’t know for sure just yet, the signs are promising. The state, to make ends meet, needs to collect $1.37 billion in June. That’s a lot of money, but last year, during the height of the recession, we managed $1.5 billion, and so a lot of the fiscal types in Richmond see a surplus as a distinct possibility.

Read more: Some good economic news, but it’s still a jobless recovery

Don’t marginalize the Tea Party movement

 I’ve been guilty of this myself, but it’s become commonplace among political commentators to dismiss the Tea Party Movement as just a collection of far right fringe activists.  “Wing nuts” as one of my Democratic friends called them. Some have been labeled racist, reactionary, and depending on whom you talk to, dangerous.  None of which seems remotely fair. I am not a tea partier myself.  Not even close.  And no one who reads my column would think that. But I do think the Tea Partiers are getting a bad rap.  And while it pains me to quote a term Sarah Palin pioneered, it’s coming primarily from “the mainstream media.”  OK, yes, the Fox Network likes them, big surprise there, but for the most part, the other major media outlets make no effort to understand them.  What’s more, they go out of their way to paint them in the worst light possible. It also misses the point, that like it or not, they are becoming a powerful force in American politics. They can’t be marginalized and they can’t be ignored.
One of the first questions many people ask about the tea party movement is “are they a political party, or a movement?”  The answer to that one seems to be the latter. They are, as they like to say, a grassroots movement and a lot of what defines the tea party movement isn’t so much organization as it is ideology. Ironically, borrowing a page from the Obama campaign, they do a lot of their communicating and organizing over the Internet. Notices about meetings, town halls, GOP caucuses, rallies, and meet ups come through an ever growing e-mail list.

Read more: Don’t marginalize the Tea Party movement

The Gulf spill: Katrina in slow motion

 The media, and now the public, have gotten comfortable with the inevitable comparison between Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill disaster that is still going full bore in the Gulf. Both events are disasters. One, natural, and one manmade, but just like Katrina, the Gulf Spill has raised questions about the ability of the Federal Government to deal with a large scale crisis. It’s not clear that the Gulf Oil Spill is President Obama’s Katrina, but some in the administration, and many among the President’s supporters, are worried that it might be.

Read more: The Gulf spill: Katrina in slow motion

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