Kamala Harris Rises, Joe Biden Falls in Night 2 of Democratic Debate

I skipped Night 1 of the debate. I went back and watched highlights but wasn’t really that enthused. Night 2 had more of the bigger guns (Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg), and they didn’t disappoint, at least as far as drama goes. My impressions of how they did, in order of how well they did. 1. KAMALA HARRIS – She has presence, which is very important in debate performances. She had commanding use of her time and had the best one-liners. She looked like she belonged. But…

Preview of the ABC New Hampshire #GOPDebate

To set up the stage for the ABC New Hampshire Debate in the Republican primaries, we need to first see what Iowa taught us. 1. The polls haven’t settled yet. I’ve been grousing about the polls looking sloppier and sloppier as Iowa approached. Small sample sizes. Large margin of errors. The final poll that was supposed to be the best was the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll, which had a MOE of 4%. So by almost that percentage, they overestimated Trump and underestimated Cruz, and Rubio did over 8% better in…

Executive Action: Misguided But Predictable Response to Total Dysfunction [Hub Debate]

President Obama’s about to effect some sort of immigration reform via executive action. The word on the street is that it will involve shielding illegal immigrants without a criminal record from deportation and expanding the Presidentially-effected Dream Act, which — in my opinion — is an improvement on our current immigration situation and something that I would likely support via legislative action. But that’s really neither here nor there (at least for purposes of this debate).  After all, one really gets the sense that the current tempest over immigration seems to be…

Executive Overreach is Nothing New, But Still Concerning [Hub Debate]

Will the President take executive action on immigration or other policies in his remaining two years in office? But more importantly, should he and what will be the effect if he does? Almost since the beginning of the nation, Presidents have been testing what they can and cannot get away with. Jefferson had the Louisiana Purchase. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. Franklin D. Roosevelt sent anyone of Japanese ancestry to prison camps without a trial. It would be impossible to list all of the times where Presidents have created new…

Obama to use Immigration as a Power Play [Hub Debate]

Will the President take executive action on immigration or other policies in his remaining two years in office? But more importantly, should he and what will be the effect if he does? A growing number of observers have been prognosticating the deteriorating condition of our legislative branch in Washington. Gridlock is at an all-time high, with little legislation able to make it through the House and Senate cleanly, much less past the President’s desk. The radical left drives the Democrats and the Republicans seem hopelessly fragmented. It is no wonder…

The Real Question in the ‘Religious Liberty’ Debate

“Law is really ill-equipped for adjudicating between the claims of revelation and the claims of rationality.” – Katherine Franke, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School. At face value, ‘religious liberty’ is something no one objects to.  That makes the generations-old tension between ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ values, as they are often characterized, an impossible divide to gap.  Or so some would have you believe, and I like to call those people “wrong.” The quote from Katherine Franke above comes from a Q&A with ProPublica over…

The Buck Stops Religious Freedom Here [Hub Debate]

Religious freedom is under attack, but in a way so insidious that it threatens all other rights. Just as then-Senator Lyndon Johnson used the power of the IRS to silence religious institutions on many matters of politics in the ’50s, his ideological descendants are now using the power of the dollar to curtail any and all exercise of religion that conflicts with their preferred public policy. This is a dangerous road to take that limits the freedom of the many to the benefit of a politically select few. The groundwork for…

The Attack on Religious Expression [Hub Debate]

Some would have us believe that war is peace, ignorance is strength, and the best way to protect religious liberty is by chasing religious expression out of the public square entirely. Which is obviously complete balderdash. And yet, that’s the argument being made. Religious values have a long and positive role in Western society. John Adams famously said, [W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a…

Same-Sex Marriage and the Attack on Religious Freedom [Hub Debate]

Could religious organizations be forced to perform same-sex weddings? The hysterical panic surrounding an Idaho wedding chapel certainly seems to suggest so. But as always, if you’ll forgive the pun, the devil is the details and the story is little more exaggerated hype. Conservatives have long used the fear of religious liberty being violated as a weapon against LGBTQ civil liberties. In Utah, that’s included claims that if same-sex couples were granted their constitutional right to civil weddings, the LDS church would be forced to perform same-sex weddings in temples…

Money and Politics: Like Water Flowing [Hub Debate]

Money and Politics: recently, Salt Lake Tribune columnist George Pyle wrote that the onus is on voters to choose the leaders of our republic.  Is it the voter’s responsibility to shift through the lies? Or is there a role for government in regulating speech and money in politics? “Get money out of politics.” “Heightened transparency.” “Campaign finance reform.” “Restore strength to our democracy.” Whatever the euphemism, the phrases  amount to one thing: veiled proposals to limit the means, manner, and amounts of spending on political campaigns. Proponents point to the galactic sized…