The Republic of T.

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

Stuff to Read While I’m Doing Other Stuff

With my morning pretty much sewn up with work and meetings (and since I’m no longer taking my laptop to meetings) at work, it’s hard to say whether I’ll get around to writing or posting much at all today. I’ve got something almost written, and a couple of things I’ve been wanting to write for weeks now. But they will have to come after everything else.

In the meantime, I might as well do here what I spend most of my time doing anyway: promoting the writing of others who have time to write, whereas I don’t. Granted, it’s not so much writing, on my part, as just copying-and-pasting, but it fills this space. And if you came here looking for something to read, the least I can do is help you find it.

Ain’t I a Mommy?
Deesha Philyaw

The absence of black mommy memoirs mirrors the relative absence of black women’s voices in mainstream U.S. media discourse about motherhood in general. In particular, this discourse is concerned with how women balance the demands of family and careers, and with the decision by some college-educated women to opt out of the labor force altogether and remain at home with their children. When this discourse ceased to be polite, the explosion was dubbed “the mommy wars.”

It’s Racist NOT to Fly the Confederate Flag..
Lawyers Guns and Money

As I was leaving the couple’s house that night in New Orleans the professor warned me, “If the Left succeeds in removing the Confederate Battle Flag from the public sphere they will no doubt declare war against another emblem of American history: Old Glory herself.”

Indeed; by attacking the symbol of a slaveholding elite that launched a war intended to destroy the United States, we are ourselves anti-American. Oh, and racist.

The ideology of teen pregnancy
Chrisopher Caldwell

As it gets harder to climb out of the class one was born in, the opportunity cost of being a young mother falls. Outside of the well-off, Ms Edin and Ms Kefalas note, the opportunity cost is already lower than it looks. Poor teen mothers “have about the same long-term earnings trajectories as similarly disadvantaged youth who wait until their mid or late twenties to have a child”. Given the increasing likelihood that a woman will raise her children alone, might not the teen years be a prudent time to become a single mother, while the financial and day-care resources of one’s own parents are still available?

Progressives and Netroots Feeling Abandoned as Obama Tacks Rightward
Jason Rosenbaum and Sam Stein

The harsh reality is, Barack Obama can and will tack towards the center on issues that are important to progressives during the general election. We can argue until we’re blue in the face that this is not a smart thing to do, and by extension, that the country is ready for real progressive leadership, but Obama will do what he wants to do. Unless we are willing to actively work against him, we have no leverage.

I am not willing to actively work against him. I’m not willing to call on people to pull their money and their volunteer hours either. But two can play at Obama’s game.

Score One for the Gun Guys

Jayne Lyn Stahl

While the gun lobby may crack open that bottle of champagne, this is a victory that thrives in theory, but one that, in practice, can only be condemned. The gravest threat to a generation of youngsters of color, in our inner cities, has just won the good housekeeping stamp of approval from the highest court in the land. And, while poverty, disease, and ignorance are precarious, there is nothing more dangerous than a handgun, or firearm, in the wrong hands.

Senator Obama is on the mark when he suggests that the right to bear arms doesn’t mean the right to do so without limitation, and oversight required to protect the community at large, as well as inner city youth who are rapidly joining the endangered species list.

The Pleasure Problem: Do you mind if I smile while I do hateful things to you?
Philip Gourevitch

Here’s a troubling question that hangs over the Abu Ghraib story: if you look happy when you torment your prisoners is it worse than if you look unhappy about it — grim, or at least dour?

Appearances matter, for better or worse, and certainly, the more unseemly a criminal’s demeanor the more easily and absolutely we revile his actions. The Book Club commenter who calls himself Munguza argues that much of the public outrage over the Abu Ghraib photographs was provoked by the fact that some of the soldiers in some of the pictures “apparently enjoyed brutally abusing Iraqi prisoners,” and “indulged in deliberate, premeditated mistreatment as a form of entertainment.”

What We Should Take Away from the “Pregnancy Pact”
Ellen Goodman

The Gloucester 17 have real troubles, but some 4,000 teens gave birth in Massachusetts (in 2006), and we’re near the bottom of the chart, with a 2 percent teen birthrate. If you want real numbers, go west young media, to Texas, top of the teen birth heap at 6 percent. And if the gee-whiz factor was that some girls got pregnant intentionally, guess what? About 15 percent of all teen pregnancies are intentional — not counting those in that gray zone between intention and accident.

So why does it take the myth of the mommy pact to get attention? Patricia Quinn, head of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy, figures that the story touched some deep fear. “We are terrified that we don’t actually decide for our kids when they have sex. We don’t decide when they become parents,” she says. The notion that a group of girls made that decision together and without us caused a freak-out.

Is Raising Kids a Fool’s Game?
Karen McCormack

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