The Republic of T.

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

Digest for August 20th through August 21st

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for August 20th through August 21st:

  • Do Americans and Their Elected Representatives Really Want a Much Smaller Government? | Jared Bernstein | On the Economy

    "Like many other members of the commentariat, I’ve argued that the forthcoming election is about the role of government in our lives, with starkly different answers from the two parties. Moreover, polling data suggest that the electorate is quite sharply divided along this axis.

    But the more I learn about this framing of the debate and the alleged evidence for it, the more I’m convinced we’re missing something. Most Americans, even those who say otherwise, are actually supportive of much of what government does, and most of their representatives feel the same way, despite their shouting to the contrary. This suggests that plans for vastly shrinking government are deeply unrealistic and misleading."

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  • FBI Probing Rep. Michael Grimm, Not Skinny-dipping | TPMMuckraker

    "The FBI is indeed interested in a trip that House Republicans made to Israel last summer. But it’s not because Kansas Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder took his pants off and jumped into the Sea of Galilee after a night of drinking.

    Law enforcement sources — noting that skinny-dipping usually doesn’t fall under the FBI’s purview — pointed TPM to a New York Times story from earlier this month about a trip to Cyprus that Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) made following his August venture to Israel alongside several colleagues."

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  • ‘Illegitimate Rape’ | TPM Editors Blog

    The Akin comment is obviously offensive, but I’m a bit surprised that what seems to be generating the most offense is the cartoonishly ignorant belief that a woman’s body can somehow differentiate between a rapist and a loving companion and choose to let itself get pregnant or not. It’s certainly bizarre and easy to report on, but personally the greater outrage should be at the casual, and seemingly commonly held belief that there are categories of rape.

    It belies a deep belief and misogyny on his part, and others, that most women who claim rape weren’t, but rather are just regretting their decisions and decide to ruin the heroic male rather than own up to their decisions. "

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  • The GOP Wants to Make this Todd Akin’s World

    "What does the GOP aspire to? An America where abortion is outlawed in all instances: no exceptions for rape, no exceptions for incest, and no exceptions for medical emergency. The variety and availability of contraception would be sharply limited, and the rate of pregnancy significantly higher. The rate of abortion might go down, but the number of women killed as a result of illicit abortions would be guaranteed to increase. Todd Akin would be happy with this world; the human life amendment would keep women from “punishing” children and result in a world where even more were born as a result of rape. "

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  • Deluded Individualism – NYTimes.com

    "Thanks to a decades-long safety net, we have forgotten the trials of living without it. This is why, the historian Tony Judt argued, it’s easy for some to speak fondly of a world without government: we can’t fully imagine or recall what it’s like. We can’t really appreciate the horrors Upton Sinclair witnessed in the Chicago slaughterhouses before regulation, or the burden of living without Social Security and Medicare to look forward to. Thus, we can entertain nostalgia for a time when everyone pulled his own weight, bore his own risk, and was the master of his destiny. That time was a myth. But the notion of self-reliance is also a fallacy."

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  • The Conservative Psyche: How Ordinary People Come to Embrace Paul Ryan’s Cruelty | Alternet

    "The contempt a good number of Americans hold for the social welfare state has long been understood through the prism of race. In his classic book, Why Americans Hate Welfare, Martin Gilens found that while significant majorities of Americans told pollsters that they wanted more public spending to fight poverty, many were opposed to welfare programs because of widespread “perceptions that welfare recipients are undeserving and blacks are lazy.”

    That finding has been confirmed in a number of studies since then. But more recently, psychological research – and some neurobiological studies – have found something else: Liberals and conservatives don't just differ in their opinions, they have fundamentally different ways of processing information, which in turn leads them to hold markedly divergent sets of facts."

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