Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Thoughts on James Comey, the law-enforcement official who helped elected a corrupt president

April 21, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 21, 2018

When Donald Trump’s rampage through politics is fictionalized — assuming civilization survives the Trump administration — the figure of one James Comey will loom large. This will be especially true, I imagine, in any operas that might be written about final days of the 2016 campaign and the early months of Trump’s reign.

Once an assistant federal prosecutor who targeted New York crime families, Comey was elevated first to U.S. attorney and then to deputy attorney general by President George W. Bush. In the spring of 2004, Comey rushed to the hospital room of his boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft, to block White House officials from reauthorizing a sweeping domestic surveillance program that several Justice Department officials believed featured illegal components.

Comey is widely admired in civil liberties circles for taking this stand, but not all of his decisions are as popular. Encyclopaedia Britannica notes that Comey was criticized for his defense of the indefinite detention of Jose Padilla, an American citizen whom the government classified as an “enemy combatant.” Still, when President Barack Obama nominated Comey to lead the FBI in 2013, the Senate confirmed his appointment on a 93-1 vote.

Comey appears to be a devout Christian. He studied chemistry and religion at William & Mary, where, according to CNN, he “wrote a thesis comparing the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr to the televangelist Jerry Falwell.” Comey wed to his college girlfriend in 1987, two years after earning a law degree from the University of Chicago; they remain married and have had six children together.

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A three minute journey into the conservative id

February 27, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Feb. 27, 2016

Every four years or so, as America prepares to select a president, I become morbidly fascinated with Rush Limbaugh. Despite a reported decline in Limbaugh’s audience, he still has the largest listenership of any talk-radio program, and he’s topped an industry magazine’s list of the most influential hosts for nine years running.

Perhaps more than any other individual, Limbaugh is responsible for shaping the modern political zeitgeist, in which “bipartisan” is regarded as a dirty word and the act of compromising is roughly on par with knifing an ally in the back.

I think El Rushbo is despicable, but I nonetheless recognize why he has been so influential. He’s intelligent, he has a great voice, he’s personable, he has a natural instinct for investing mundane acts of governance and news reporting with great drama, and he’s willing to say virtually anything to get his audience’s blood pumping.

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A few more words about voting (plus a helpful tool!)

October 29, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 29, 2014

Election day is coming. If you’re registered to vote — and if you’re an eligible American, then you should be — then this is one of the most important times of the year.

In fact, the midterm election is one of the most important days of the four-year period bridging presidential elections. Control of the United States Senate, and therefore the legislative branch of our government, may pass from Democratic to Republican hands in this election. If that happens, Republicans’ ability to prevent President Barack Hussein Obama from enacting policy and appointing officials will be enhanced.

I leave it to you, dear reader, to decide for yourself whether or not it’s advantageous to America for Republican officials to gain more leverage in their dealings with the president.

I wrote earlier today about my experience participating in early voting at the Durham County elections office in North Carolina. I was prompted to do so when I saw that WordPress (which hosts this and countless other blogs) is participating in an initiative called the Voting Information Project.

To that end, you can use the VIP voter information tool that I’ve embedded above to learn about where you can vote, what races are on your ballot and other useful facts.

Have a happy and informed 2014 midterm election, America!

Noontime at the Saturday polls: Notes and impressions from my early-voting excursion

October 29, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 29, 2014

Voting turned out to be a strangely festive experience this year.

I went to the Durham County Board of Elections around noon on Saturday, Oct. 25. Sometime this year, the board relocated from a single-story commercial office complex off of West Corporation Street to a building known as the Judicial Annex, which is downtown on Roxboro Street just north of Main.

(I think that happened this year. I remember stopping at the old offices to cast a ballot during early voting for the May primary immediately before departing on a trip to New York. Anyway…)

I’d never been in the Judicial Annex before, so the whole scene was a bit of a surprise. I parked in what had been (and may again become?) a pay lot located west of the annex and north of a building that locals used to call the new courthouse.

I don’t know how people refer to the so-called new courthouse now; sometime last year (again, I think), the new courthouse was replaced by an even newer, much larger and much more modern courthouse. In fact, I don’t even know what is currently being done with the building that I used to refer to as, simply, the county courthouse. (According my ever-so-correct parlance, the structure that many locals called the old courthouse was simply the “county administration building,” because it now houses the county manager’s office and several other Durham County employees.)

At any rate, I parked my car in the nearly full lot and walked east, stepping across the curb that delineates the parking lot from the pavement that surrounds the annex. This latter space was well populated with campaigners. There were people handing out flyers and (I think) stickers and buttons. There were people wearing matching T-shirts that variously seemed to be declaring support for different candidates and get-out-the-vote initiatives.

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