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the IRS and Abuse of Power

President Obama spoke today on the growing scandal involving the IRS and their targeting Tea Party organizations for scrutiny and investigation.  Does the President’s statement and actions adequately address the concerns raised by the IRS’s actions?  Is the White House doing a good job, in terms of public relations, communicating their message?  Are criticisms of the White House in conjunction with this scandal fair?



So this is the first of what I expect to be several posts regarding sequestration, the automatic budget cuts that will take effect next Friday unless Congress and the President take action to avert them.  Many say that the budget cuts will hurt the economy, and most agree that some important services will be cut if the sequestration goes through.  Others say that these budget cuts are a necessary to reduce the size of the federal government.  If sequestration goes through, who is to blame?  Or is sequestration a good thing?

Hagel’s nomination

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid’s speech, from last week, regarding Chuck Hagel’s nomination for secretary of state and the filibuster.  He made these remarks after the vote to invoke cloture did not pass.  What is his argument for ending the filibuster?  Do you agree or disagree?



Under what circumstances are the killing of US citizens justified?

Here’s a report from the BBC on the “drone wars” carried out by the Bush and Obama administrations and the content of a leaked memo in which the Justice Department provides a legal argument backing drone strikes against Americans.  Is this, in your view, a proper use of presidential power?  Under what circumstances, if any, are such killings justified?  And what, in your opinion, does the word “imminent” mean?

Recess Appointments

A federal appeals court last week ruled that recess appointments, as practiced by presidents for many years, are unconstitutional.  Do you agree or disagree with the court’s decision?  Will Republicans who praised this ruling come to disagree with it in the future?

Obama’s speech

So here are some highlights from the President’s second inaugural speech (plus some Beyonce…).  What was the President’s thesis, to the extent a speech has a thesis?  What point did he most want to make?  What, if anything, surprised you about the speech?

“King Barack,” Executive Orders, and Gun Control

Senator Rand Paul suggests that the president’s use of an executive order to attempt to curb gun violence is unconstitutional.  Do you agree?

Susan Rice: Collateral Damage?

In the following piece, Chuck Todd of NBC argues that UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s decision to withdraw her name from consideration for the Secretary of State position (which is open because Hillary Clinton is stepping down) is a result of partisan media attacks.  Do you agree or was she simply unqualified for the job as a result of her comments in the media about the Benghazi attack?

Obama and Harwood and Kanye West

So here’s a clip from CNN that John Harwood referenced yesterday.  The question:  is this news?  Why did CNN cover this story?  Should they have run this video and made this a news story?  What does the fact that CNN went with this story say about the role of the media and government today?