There's a technique in politics I call the "Soft Landing Straddle" that politicians love because it helps them avoid unpleasant election consequences. This year in Virginia we have an example of the straddle, but first let me explain how it works and the negative effect it has on you.
Donald Trump has not been deterred, much to the chagrin of his bipartisan troupe of naysayers. The Donald's blunt stance on Muslim immigration has only won him popularity among the Republican rank-and-file, not to mention independents and moderate Democrats.
Bullies love fear. And once they sniff its smoke, the real pros know how to fuel and exploit it. They are always claiming to represent the greater good, when what they really specialize in is looking out for #1 while flinging loads of #2 at the rest of us. Consequently, the people most susceptible to their reviled reveille are the weak, the ignorant, the powerless, other bullies and folks with neck tattoos.
Judging by his prime-time speech last week, the final year of Barack Obama's presidency will be marked by increased militarism abroad and authoritarianism at home. The centerpiece of the president's speech was his demand for a new law forbidding anyone on the federal government's terrorist watch list from purchasing a firearm. There has never been a mass shooter who was on the terrorist watch list, so this proposal will not increase security. However, it will decrease liberty.
If you are under the age of 40 and have ever discussed politics with your peers, you have no doubt encountered those who identify as Republican but are quick to tell you that they are not like those other anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-science, anti-Muslim, right-wing extremists. They only vote Republican for the tax cuts.
Liberals have good reason to love Stephen Colbert. He is unabashedly a "big government liberal." He isn't funny like Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, and he doesn't need to be to maintain his third place ranking in the late night talk show competition.
In the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" tradition characterizing Obama's policy on Islamic terrorism, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Dhimmi) invited other Democrats to join him in visiting the Virginia mosque that hosted two of the 9/11 attackers in a "show of solidarity with American Muslims."
A little-noticed provision in the highway funding bill Congress passed last week threatens a right most Americans take for granted: the right to travel abroad. The provision in question gives the Internal Revenue Service the authority to revoke the passport of anyone the IRS claims owes more than $50,000 in back taxes.
Be still your beating hearts, because the agonizing wait is over. Wake the kids. Rake the leaves. Fake speaking in tongues. Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year, when the eagerly awaited list of Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2015 is finally, mercifully released. Yoke an ox. Toke some skunk. Poke Uncle Bud to make sure he's still ambulatory.