Archive

  • What's the Matter with Kansas Now?

    Apropos of my earlier post regarding the necessity of being vigilant about encroachments on women’s rights, we get this story out of Kansas, where the Attorney General, Phill Kline, who happens to be head of the national Republican attorneys general association, is trying to obtain the medical records of women and girls who had late-term abortions. His rationale is that he needs information in the files to prosecute criminal cases. Eh? Kline asserts that the medical records will help him prosecute statutory rape cases and pursue health professionals who have failed to report cases of suspected child sexual abuse, which they are compelled to do by state law. "There are two things that child predators want,” he said, “access to children and secrecy. As attorney general, I'm bound and determined not to give them either." How laudable. The first problem (and there’s always a problem with the intentions of these folks, isn’t there?) is that invading the privacy of rape victims, statutory...
  • This Noah’s on a Sinking Ship

    Namely, the Social Security reform proposed by President Bush, who seems to be taking No Child Left Behind literally . The battle over Social Security has been joined by an unusual lobbyist, a 9-year-old from Texas who has agreed to travel supporting President Bush's proposal. The boy, Noah McCullough, made a splash with his encyclopedic command of presidential history, earning five appearances on the "Tonight" show and some unusual experiences in the presidential campaign last year. He beat Howard Dean in a trivia contest at the Democratic National Convention and wrote for his local newspaper about his trip to see the inauguration. "He's very patriotic and very Republican," said Noah's mother, Donna McCullough, a former teacher and self-described Democrat. "It's the way he was born." In a sign of how far groups go to carry their message on Social Security, Progress for America has signed up Noah, a fourth grader, as a volunteer spokesman. He starts on spring break from James Williams...
  • W is for Women

    One of the most cunning accomplishments of the Bush administration has been undermining the notion that the GOP, that great bastion of male dominance, has put to bed the last remnants of sexism within its ranks. I dare you to call us sexists, its very appointment of a female Secretary of State seems to say. (Or, for that matter, racists.) Never mind that she is resoundingly incompetent and arguably lacks the requisite qualifications for the job. Questioning her credentials is off limits; do so at the peril of having your subconscious sexist tendencies exposed for all the world to ridicule. It is, of course, simply a grand façade, masking an insidious agenda against women’s rights, including the slow but steady erosion of abortion rights, both at home and abroad. The latest news (hat tip Ms. Julien ) comes as governments from around the world prepare to convene in NYC with the purpose of examining progress in women’s rights since the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women,...
  • Greetings

    Hello, Ezra Kleinians. In a spectacular bit of misjudgment, Ezra has decided to let one of the inmates run the asylum, as he earlier noted. And since all the boys are angling for their Estrogen-Friendly Boy Scout Badge this week, choosing me has put him well ahead of the competition. I kid, I kid. Tonight I did one of my favorite things in the world—I saw a great film. One never knows, of course, whether the evening will turn out as hoped when the lights go down; I’ve wasted more money on films that aspired to be swill than I care to consider. But I spent this evening engaged by the thoroughly wonderful Million Dollar Baby , which I encourage you to see. (It’s not such a strange thing to recommend on a political blog, but I won’t tell you why if you don’t already know. Suffice it to say it will leave you with something to debate, should you be so inclined.) On the way home, I was considering the strange path that Clint Eastwood’s career in film has taken; once vilified as...
  • See Ya Monday

    I'm out for the weekend. Mother's birthday, girlfriend's in town, etc. Your hostess will be the excellent Shakespeare's Sister , so you should be excited. She'll make sure you don't get bard. Ba-da-ching! Sorry. I'll leave now.
  • Labor

    In my second Newman link of the day, Nathan's got an excellent case study of how union votes are won -- by anti-labor corporations. Go. By the way, you're probably going to see a lot more labor posts on this site. I recently read Thomas Geoghegan's Which Side Are You On: Trying to be For Labor When It's Flat on its Back (a really phenomenal, visceral tour of the decline of Labor). True to the title, you can't read the book and stay neutral -- which is why everybody should read the book. For my part, I'm determined not to contribute to progressivism's strange indifference towards labor issues. Indeed, I'd like to push us in the opposite direction, so expect the blog to be affected by that. If any of you are well-versed in labor issues and could recommend some books or sites that could help me, I'd be grateful. Update: On that note, read this Nation article on the future of Labor.
  • Towards a Liberal Goldwater Moment

    Matt's efforts to reality-check the "Goldwater moment" are really worth reading and you should, uh, read them . But it's worth noting that conservatives don't really view Goldwater as this seminal, epochal moment, but rather as part of a larger history that encompasses Goldwater, Reagan, and Bush. This triumph of the true believers narrative, wherein conservatives clung to their ideals through the loss of Goldwater, were redeemed by Reagan, and proven victorious by Bush 43, allows the right to paint itself as a movement secure and unflinching in their beliefs. It creates a meta-narrative or -- dare I say it? -- a heuristic for Republicans as courageous, tough, committed, reliable, grounded, trustworthy, etc. They had their time in the wilderness and ended it through sheer dedication to conservative principles. It's not just an American story, it's a Christian one. That's why the work Matt's doing is important, but also why it's unlikely to have an effect. Revising history is a very...
  • Tickle Tickle

    The Apostropher catches a lie being born...
  • Change is Good

    Via Nathan Newman comes tell of some innovative methods being used or proposed to force Wal-Mart into the realm of the socially conscious. Montana is considering a plan whereby large retailers would face an additional tax on receipts unless they proved their employees made a living wage. George Miller Ken Toole, the Congressman state senator behind the proposal, sensibly argues that since the state has to subsidize what underpaid Wal-Mart employees can't buy (health insurance, etc), Wal-Mart might as well be forced to fund the effort. I'm a big fan of ideas like this (I hope Monsieur Singer will pop by to tell us about its chances in the Leg), not least because they seem so karmically delicious. Montana, however, is small enough that Wal-Mart could easily absorb the costs of such a proposal without having to change their business practices. California, on the other hand, is not. If we passed a similar bill, it'd have the same effect of our auto standards. When we decreed that cars...
  • Bloggers and Rappers

    Damn. That's exactly what I wanted to say about it.

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