The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

July 25, 2014
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Digest for July 18th through July 25th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for July 18th through July 25th:

  • Paul Ryan’s Faux Populism Isn’t Going to End Poverty or Reduce Inequality – Paul Ryan’s fellow Republicans are quick to dismiss Elizabeth Warren as too radical, too progressive, too populist.

    But Ryan is trying—a bit clumsily, but trying all the same—to borrow a page from the Massachusetts senator as he seeks to remake himself in anticipation of a potential 2016 run for the Republican presidential nomination. He’s talking about poverty, about inequality, about shifting the focus away from meeting the demands of corporations and toward meeting the needs of Americans.

  • The Politics of Parenting: How Our Society Criminalizes Poor Mothers of Color – When 46-year-old Debra Harrell was arrested July 1 for leaving her daughter unattended at a public park, she joined the ever-increasing ranks of poor mothers of color who are criminalized.
  • U.S. Weighs Refugee Status For Honduran Youth Displaced By Armed Conflict – The Obama administration is weighing giving refugee status to young people from Honduras as part of a plan to slow the influx of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, White House officials said Thursday.
  • Ryan “Opportunity Grant” Proposal Would Likely Increase Poverty and Shrink Resources for Poverty Programs Over Time – A centerpiece of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new poverty plan would consolidate 11 safety-net and related programs — from food stamps to housing vouchers, child care, and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) — into a single block grant to states. This new “Opportunity Grant” would operate initially in an unspecified number of states. While some other elements of the Ryan poverty plan deserve serious consideration, such as those relating to the Earned Income Tax Credit and criminal justice reform, his “Opportunity Grant” would likely increase poverty and hardship, and is therefore ill-advised, for several reasons:
  • The Crisis in Black Homeownership – In 2005, three years before the Great Recession, the median black household had a net worth of $12,124. Yes, this was far behind the median white household—which had a net worth of $134,992—but it was a huge improvement from previous decades, in which housing discrimination made wealth accumulation difficult (if not impossible) for the large majority of African-American families.
  • The Christian right’s obscene, defining hypocrisy – Evangelicals urge children to "convert or go to hell" and still accuse *liberals* of indoctrinating America's youth
  • How Did the GOP Turn Into Such a Bunch of Clowns? – For a lot of reasons, the current era will probably be seen as unusually consequential in the history of the two parties, particularly the GOP. For Republicans, it has been a time of ideological hardening and bitter infighting. But one aspect of the Republican dilemma hasn't gotten as much attention as those: This is a time of unusual, even stunning, Republican political incompetence.
  • Editorial: Pope Francis and the Bishops Who Hid Pedophile Priests – Pope Francis needs to hold accountable the bishops who covered up sexual abuse by priests, and a good place to start is the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese.
  • 9 sinister things the Christian right does in the name of God – Hobby Lobby isn't alone. Evangelicals routinely manipulate the Bible's teachings to serve their political agenda
  • Must-see morning clip: Colbert slams Fox News for pretending to care about child refugees – "It's a tough love…or a very soft hate"

July 22, 2014
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What I Learned From My Minimum Wage Job

Sen. Rand Paul mocked President and Mrs. Obama for wanting their daughters to experience working for minimum wage. My own experience taught me “the value of work,” and to value the workers for whom earning a paycheck isn’t always fun, stimulating, or fair.

In a Parade magazine interview last month, President and Mrs. Obama said they wanted their daughters to experience working for minimum wage, to  “get a taste of what it’s like to do that real hard work.” President Obama added that there is value in learning that “[G]oing to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair. But that’s what most folks go through every single day.”

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July 21, 2014
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America’s Border Crisis of Conscience

Sixty bodies lie in a heap on the floor of a morgue that receives the corpses of children under 10 and as young as 2. It’s the body count for just one day, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. How can we in good conscience send children back there?

We just did. The first planeload of mothers and children has returned to San Pedro Sula — the most violent city in the world, in the most violent country in the world. The murder rate in Honduras is the highest of any country in the world, at 90.4 per 100,000 people. In San Pedro Sula, the murder rate is 169 per 100,000 people – nine times the murder rate of Chicago. Every day, more children are among the dead.

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July 17, 2014
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Arrested for Being Too Poor To Afford Child Care

Debra Harrell was trying to do the best she could. Harrell lives in North Augusta, South Carolina, and has a nine-year-old daughter. She works at McDonald’s. During that the school year, Harrell’s daughter has some place to go during the day. Harrell can go to work, assured that her daughter in a safe place.

Harrell can’t afford to put her daughter in daycare during the summer. So she started taking her daughter to work with her. It wasn’t an ideal solution for either of them. For a 9-year-old, sitting in McDonald’s for hours is mind-numbingly boring. Harrell couldn’t leave her daughter home alone without  constantly worrying about the child’s safety. Besides, it’s illegal

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July 14, 2014
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Digest for July 7th through July 14th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for July 7th through July 14th:

July 11, 2014
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Wingnut Week in Review: The GOP’s Borderline Personality Disorder

Remember Elian Gonzales? He was the little Cuban boy found clinging to an inner tube of the coast of Florida, on Thanksgiving Day in 1999. He’d been rescued by fishermen after his mother and 11 others drowned in an attempt to reach the U.S. from Cuba. His fate sparked a seven-month long national debate, and caused Peggy Noonan to have a dissociative episode on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, before he was returned to his father in Cuba.

Bak then a child trying to enter the U.S. illegally was celebrated by conservatives, rather than vilified. Perhaps young Gonzales’ was simply fleeing the “right “ country, thus giving conservatives an opportunity to burnish their patriotic, anti-communist credentials, and another way to attack President Bill Clinton, all wrapped up in one telegenic child. What could evoke more sympathy than a helpless child, far from home, and without his parents?

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July 8, 2014
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Millionaire Fast Food CEO Says Raising Minimum Wage Kills Jobs. Not in 13 States That Tried It.

Fast food CEO Andy Puzder says that raising the minimum wage will harm workers and kill job growth. A new study of the 13 states that have tried it wage says otherwise.

Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, told Yahoo! Finance that he opposes raising the minimum wage because he believes it will harm workers in his industry. Puzder — who took home about $4.4 million in 2012, according to Forbes magazine— earned about 291 times what workers at his company’s Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants earn in a year.

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July 7, 2014
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Digest for July 7th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for July 7th from 16:20 to 16:32:

July 3, 2014
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Wingnut Week In Review: Hobby Lobby and “Beyoncé Voters”

Just in time for mid-term election campaigning, the Supreme Court handed conservatives the perfect opportunity to remind Americans that their number one obsession is policing women’s sex lives by any means necessary. Wingnuts rejoiced.

If anyone has forgotten how conservatives declared war on contraception in 2012, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in Burrell v. Hobby Lobby, and the right-wing response to it, should jog a few memories. The court basically ruled that corporations are people who get to take away other people’s health care — if those people are women, and the health care is contraception. 

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July 2, 2014
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Summertime For The Working Parent

It’s a pipe dream that will never happen, but Jessica Valenti has a point that hits home with me, when she writes about the novel idea of “summer vacation for parents.” Sure, you laugh. Like I said, it’s a pipe dream that will never happen. But as thinking about how easy this would make my life is almost enough to make me weep. 

Reforming the outdated school calendar could do as much for working families as flexible schedules and child care

Some of my fondest memories are of summer vacation: no school, playing in the sprinklers at the playground, going to the beach with my parents and summer camp. Glorious. But since becoming an adult (boring!) and having a kid of my own, I dread summers.

Yes, the weather is nice and it’s vacation season. But it’s also the season of little-to-no child care options so, for working parents, the summer is more of a scramble than time off.

Sing it, sister. I know this song well.

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July 1, 2014
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Digest for June 30th through July 1st

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for June 30th through July 1st:

  • Parental leave is good, but how great would summer vacation for parents be? | Jessica Valenti – Reforming the outdated school calendar could do as much for working families as flexible schedules and child care
  • This Judge Just Destroyed the Stupidest Argument Against Gay Marriage Ever – Kentucky had argued that legalizing gay marriage would harm the state's birth rate. "These arguments are not those of serious people," wrote US district judge John Heyburn. "Though it seems almost unnecessary to explain, here are the reasons why.
  • Three Reasons the Hobby Lobby Decision Is Worse for Women of Color – On its face there is nothing about this ruling that singles out women of color. But because of our political and economic realities, women of color often bare the brunt of the negative impacts of restrictions on women's health anyway. Here are three reasons why women of color may fare worse under this decision:
  • Obama Blasts Congressional Inaction: ‘So Sue Me’ – President Barack Obama lambasted Congressional Republicans on Tuesday for failing to bring up his legislative agenda for votes, adding a taunt to lawmakers who object to his use of executive actions: “So sue me.”
  • Three Myths Hurting Young Black Men and Boys – In America today, there are three myths, three fundamentally misguided beliefs that are hurting our young black men and boys — bright young people that I have been fortunate to meet in my time as Mayor of Philadelphia. These myths chip away at the opportunities of these young men of color. As a result, we're putting an entire generation at a severe disadvantage and wasting the lives of millions of people who, with reasonable investment, could become vital contributors to our economy and society.
  • Editorial: A Milestone for Same-Sex Marriage – In striking down Utah’s ban, a federal appeals court declared for the first time that gay couples have a “fundamental right” to wed.
  • Transgender children take spotlight – The presence of transgender and gender nonconforming youth at NYC Pride March is latest effort to increase visibility of the transgender community.

June 30, 2014
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Digest for June 30th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for June 30th from 11:36 to 11:55:

June 27, 2014
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Wingnut Week In Review: Mississippi, Goddam!

Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran defeated primary challenger Chris McDaniel with the help of black Democrats, and the tea party exploded with rage. Now, to quote Nina Simone, “Everybody Knows About Mississippi, Goddam!”

It all started strangely enough. The Republican primary for Mississippi’s senate seat became a blip on the national radar screen when conservative blogger Clayton Kelley was arrested for breaking into a nursing home and photographing the wife Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran. Kelley was a supporter of Cochran’s tea party challenger Chris McDaniel, and his arrest caused McDaniel to face some uncomfortable questions. At least three more people, included a board member of the local tea party were arrested.  

All that was nothing compared to what was to come. Pushed into a run-off with McDaniel, Cochran beat back McDaniel with help from the last people anyone would have expected — black Democrats.

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June 27, 2014
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“The Focus Should Be Employment, Because We All Want To Work.”

Washington is wading into another debate over extending unemployment insurance benefits. Meanwhile, millions of jobless Americans are waiting for our elected leaders to finally get around to focusing on jobs. Donna McDonald, of Chicago, Illinois is one of those Americans. I spoke with Donna this week about her long-term joblessness, and the latest bid to extend unemployment insurance benefits.

Donna’s story reflects both the urgency of extending unemployment insurance benefits, and the imperative of returning to a full-employment economy. Twenty-one months ago, Donna lost the job she’d held for 12 years, heading up research and membership engagement for a global nonprofit. In December, she became one of 6 million jobless Americans over 50 who have lost or exhausted their unemployment benefits.

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June 26, 2014
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Digest for June 26th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for June 26th from 07:48 to 17:17:

  • Lawmakers Who Helped Break Iraq Are Angry Obama Hasn’t Fixed It – Congress used to have hawks and doves when it came to Iraq. Now it seems to be filled with ducks.
  • Federal gun violence research has been banned for years. Now researchers are getting around it — with Google. – Over at the Urban Institute's MetroTrends blog, KiDeuk Kim and Sam Bieler explore using Google Trends data to track gun purchases in the United States. They looked at the frequency of several gun-related search terms, such as "buy gun" and "buy a gun," normalized them, and plotted them over time. Their findings?
  • Pyrrhic Victory – For a Republican Party that has openly admitted its strategy is based on obstructionism, a congressional victory in November could well be a pyrrhic one.
  • In Dramatic Pointless Gesture, Boehner to Sue Obama – At its root is the idea that Barack Obama's presidency is inherently illegitimate, and whatever he does in that office must be illegal, or nearly so. This often translates into complaints about process, so that even when they lose, Republicans charge that the game was rigged.
  • Why Did Pando Fire Two of Its Best Reporters? – David Sirota was breaking big stories at Silicon Valley site Pando Daily, so it’s a bit odd that he and fellow contributor Ted Rall were abruptly let go without any public explanation
  • Gary Oldman Doesn’t Get Free Speech – Oldham doesn't just misunderstand libertarianism; he is clueless about free speech. Ayn Rand, whose libertarian credentials are a tad bit stronger than Oldman's, noted that freedom of speech does not mean one is entitled to escape consequences.

June 25, 2014
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Digest for June 25th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for June 25th from 15:50 to 17:06:

June 18, 2014
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A Family-Friendly Economy Begins With A Family-Friendly Workplace

While conservatives fret over breadwinner moms and caregiver dads, Democrats are working to create a more family-friendly economy, starting with a family-friendly workplace.

Working Families and Fathers Meet and GreetYesterday I attended a Working Fathers and Families Meet and Greet, hosted by Sen. Patty Murray (D, Washington). Working dads and stay-at-home dads spoke with senators about our experiences. Each of our stories reflected the need for workplace policies that support today’s working families.

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June 16, 2014
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Digest for June 16th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for June 16th from 16:11 to 16:55:

  • Stop the Stereotypes and Give Black Dads their Due – Mia Birdsong says it’s time to elevate examples of engaged Black fathers in America and stamp out stereotypes
  • Sorry, George W. Bush, but this whole mess is still your fault – GOP wants to pin Iraq on Barack Obama. Perhaps they need a simple refresher in the real history of the last decade
  • What will Republicans say to Obama’s action against workplace discrimination? – Is Speaker John Boehner going to have anything to say about this one?
  • Why I Believe in Gun Control – I am not anti-gun or against the military. I am pro-gun control. I am pro-background checks and waiting periods and mental healthcare support and reform. I am not anti-gun. I am pro-peace of mind.
  • It’s not the motive. It’s the gun. – Without a mass killing device, a pathetic misogynist is just a pathetic misogynist. Without a mass killing device, an angry theocrat is just an angry theocrat, be it Christian or Muslim. Without a mass killing device, paranoid conspiracy theorists and trenchcoat-wearning kids are just disaffected outsiders.

    It's not the motive. It's never about the motive. It's always about the gun.

  • A Sandy Hook father’s urgent plea: America must do something about gun violence – My daughter was killed in one of the worst mass shootings in American history. When will the madness stop?
  • George Will is an ugly little person, and the Washington Post owns him – George Will is such an ugly little person that it would take an analyst of the caliber of Alice Miller to figure him out. Whatever the cause of his perpetually pinched pettiness, the First Amendment guarantees Will's right to spew, and no one should deny the glory and strength of its so doing. Will is what he is, whatever he is, but his corrosive toxicity would be quarantined by its own epistemic closure if not for its being splashed into the public dialogue by one of the nation's most powerful media syndicates. Will is what he is, whatever he is, but only the Washington Post makes his problems a public problem.
  • GOP Iraq Hypocrisy Hits Overdrive – Obama is ‘taking a nap’ as ISIS takes over? It was Boehner’s party that gave us this war, and it was Bush who negotiated the ‘peace.’ Is there anything they won’t play politics with?

June 16, 2014
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Digest for June 9th through June 16th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for June 9th through June 16th: