Pawns

While watching the documentary Don’t Look Back about Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England, I was struck, as so many others have been, by the dichotomy between Dylan the young man and Dylan the artist. As a man, he comes across as immature, petulant, and sometimes downright nasty. As an artist, his musical genius shines through every guitar strum, harmonica chord, and whiny nasally sung note. In one uncomfortable hotel room scene, Dylan wields his multifarious talents – he’s a master songwriter, lyricist, guitar player, and troubador – as weapons against the outclassed Donovan. But Dylan also evinces humanity, humility, and empathy in his public performances. Continue reading

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Democratic Opportunity

The Democrats have a great chance to win back many of the working class Midwesterners who were pivotal in last year’s election even if some Trump voters are deplorable racists who cannot be reached through rational argument. A study by professors from the University of Minnesota and Boston University concludes that Hillary Clinton’s narrow loss may be attributed to her relative hawkishness. For example, Trump came out in opposition to the Iraq War far earlier than Clinton grudgingly admitted it was a mistake. Likewise, analyses from such disparate and credible sources as Scientific American, CNN, and Fortune Magazine see Trump’s opposition to free trade as an important factor in his victory. Continue reading

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Maryland has a lot to lose if Obamacare is repealed

Maryland, particularly Montgomery County, has become a bright spot in the national health-care picture. From 2012 to 2015, subsidies to health insurance purchasers and the expansion of Maryland’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act caused the percentage of uninsured Marylanders to fall from 10.1 percent to 6.7 percent. The national average is 9.4 percent. . .

Read the rest of my Washington Post op-ed here.

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Responding to Racism

Two nooses in the District of Columbia and one in suburban Maryland have been found over the past three weeks. Thursday, a noose was found hanging from a tree in an integrated Montgomery Village, MD, neighborhood. On May 31, one was left in the Segregation Gallery at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Less than a week earlier, a noose had been discovered on the grounds of the Hirshhorn Museum. Continue reading

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Winter of Progressive Discontent

Democrats should be disappointed by Republican Greg Gianforte’s win over Rob Quist in the recently-concluded Montana special election. The concept of moral victories in winner-take-all political races is unpersuasive and particularly so in this case. Yes, Quist got a much higher percentage of the vote than Hillary Clinton did in November. But part of that improvement likely came courtesy of Gianforte’s assault on a reporter on the eve of the election. Simply put, one cannot discern a Democratic wave on the horizon in the wake of an over 6 point loss to a ruffian in a state with a Democratic governor and senator. Continue reading

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Bill Maher’s much worse than Kathy Griffin

White Bill Maher used the n-word on a live HBO Show Friday night in what smacks of a ugly effort to bond with Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Because Maher’s proffered apology came after a day of dithering, it reeks of insincerity. At this point, I’m vacillating between calling for his head for expressing an overtly racist sentiment in the worst possible way and thinking a long suspension might be sufficient. Continue reading

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Why Bernie Matters

Opponents of Bernie Sanders have been having a field day. Over the past couple of weeks, the Vermont Senator has taken a number of shots. A writer at Slate rather absurdly knocks him for 1) hosting a popular podcast allegedly characterized by shoddy production values and softball questions. More seriously, he has been criticized both for 2) failing to endorse, at least initially, Democratic Congressional candidate Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s sixth district, and 3) endorsing Omaha mayoral candidate Heath Mello notwithstanding Mello’s votes to restrict abortion rights in the Nebraska legislature. Sanders also continues to hear from carpers who resent his decision 4) to re-become an independent after registering as a Democrat before his Presidential run. Continue reading

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A Path to the Governor’s Mansion for Ben Jealous

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous has indicated that he will compete for Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination and the right to square off against Larry Hogan in next year’s general election. Mr. Jealous faces a daunting task. In order to take on the “deeply popular” Republican, he’ll have to beat a slate of other Democrats while likely facing staunch opposition from Maryland’s Democratic Party.

Read the rest of my Baltimore Sun op-ed here.

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Progressive Maryland Videocast 3 (March 26)

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Progressive Maryland Videocast (March 22)

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USA – GINI Coefficient since 1900

This chart (it’s linked to an interactive webpage) shows how income and wealth inequality in America dropped significantly in the 1930s and reached their lowest point in the 1960s and Continue reading

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First Progressive Maryland Videocast

My first videocast for Progressive Maryland with co-host Karen Guzman. The lighting is a little sketchy but we’ll get that fixed for the next one.

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Same Old Democrats

The Republican Party’s power is approaching hegemonic proportions. In the wake of the November election, Republicans now control the White House, both Houses of Congress, and soon will have a majority on the Supreme Court. They dominate thirty-two state legislatures and thirty-three governors are Republican. If the GOP can pick up two more state houses, it will be in a position to call for a constitutional convention. At such a gathering, expect significant increases in the government’s power over individuals and greater limits on its ability to regulate corporations. Continue reading

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Progressive Discontent in Maryland

Appearances to the contrary, Maryland’s Progressive Democrats have little to cheer about. The newly-elected Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez may hail from Montgomery County but the party establishment hand-picked him to run when it appeared economic populist Keith Ellison was likely to prevail. While over 60% of Marylanders are registered Democrats, Republican Governor Larry Hogan is enjoying “sky-high popularity.” Despite Maryland’s high cost of living, the intransigence of some Democratic legislators and executives has stymied efforts in Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County to raise the minimum wage to $15. Maryland’s traditionally excellent public schools are struggling to accommodate influxes of immigrants and increasing numbers of students from poor families. Continue reading

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Interview with Montgomery County Councilman Craig Rice


Councilman Rice and I discuss Montgomery County, MD, Public Schools, ways to combat poverty, and the problems posed by Republican executive power.

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Halcast 3

Enjoy a wide-ranging fast-moving chat with “Friend of Hal” Glenn Sadowsky.

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Halcast 2

Great conversation with “Listen to Cliston” Brown and Danny “Thoughtwrestler” Cardwell about the Democratic Party’s (and our) woes.

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On the Democratic Party’s Messaging Woes

To increase legibility, please click on image.

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First Halcast

Jack beat me to the punch as he posted this on his facebook page yesterday. If you didn’t see it there, here’s my first videocast. Feedback is definitely desired. I know it’s long (although I hope you find it rewarding) and the cam is almost solely on Jack. I’ll be working on both issues.  So, most future Halcasts will be pithier with (slightly) more dynamic video. Here’s what I especially like: the audio quality is very good and I think the video is surprisingly clean even though Jack was on an iPhone.

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Sam Ronan for DNC Chair

USAF veteran Sam Ronan’s positions are closer to Bernie’s (and mine) than Keith Ellison’s are.  Unlike Keith, Ronan is calling for an end to all corporate donations to the Democratic party and Democratic candidates.  His platform is more unapologetically progressive.  http://www.ronanfordnc.org/the-vision-for-our-future/

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