Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for December 31st through January 2nd:
- Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson is everything that is wrong with conservatives | Ana Marie Cox – We already knew he was racist and homophobic. Now it emerges that he thinks girls should marry at 15 or 16
- Obamacare is up and running. But that’s not the end of the story. – It's going to take years to build up a real, universal system and much of that is going to come from work in the 50 states. It means we will be living with an unequal system for many years, but that's an old story in America, isn't it? Maybe the best we can hope for is that the speed of eventual universality is faster than it used to be.
It's better than it was, but it needs to be better than it is. Hopefully it will be excellent for everyone very soon.
- The 25 Best Progressive Victories of 2013 – Progressives are rarely satisfied. It is part of our political DNA. There's so much injustice in the world, it's sometimes hard to feel that we're making progress. But as Chinese philosopher Laozi reminded us, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
- The Resurgent Progressives – The re-emergence of a Democratic left will be one of the major stories of 2014.
- Congress to the Unemployed: Eat Confetti – Is this really how we want to start the new year, by denying unemployment benefits to more than a million Americans who have lost their jobs?
- Where Is Obama Hiding the Death Panels? – We sometimes forget that the popularity of the Affordable Care Act has been affected not just by the sort of breathless minute-by-minute assessment of the law's implementation we've been treated to since October, and the complaints of this or that interest group focused on the injustices allegedly meted out to this or that sub-population, but also by stuff just made up out of thin air by demagogues.
- We should be optimistic about the Affordable Care Act – When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, negativity is out in full force. But as history has taught us, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Affordable Care Act.
- Here’s How Obamacare Makes Americans More Free – Few values matter more to Americans than freedom. And now, as key provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect, America is becoming a freer country. That's certainly how Katie R. Norvell sees it. The New York Times quotes this 33-year-old music therapist, who has been uninsured for three and a half years due to a pre-existing condition, as saying: "I feel a huge sense of relief. With coverage.
- Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class – Campaigning for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan told stories of Cadillac-driving "welfare queens" and "strapping young bucks" buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. In trumpeting these tales of welfare run amok, Reagan never needed to mention race, because he was blowing a dog whistle: sending a message about racial minorities inaudible on one level, but clearly heard on another. In doing so, he tapped into a long political tradition that started with George Wallace and Richard Nixon, and is more relevant than ever in the age of the Tea Party and the first black president.
- 2013: The year in whiteness – Maybe it was the very fact of enjoying a wonderful Christmas with my family and friends, against the manufactured backlash to a nonexistent “War on Christmas,” that let me appreciate the perilous mental state of a small but noisy and paranoid swath of white America. Somehow over the holiday it became clear: 2013 was the year white grievance mongering became an uglier and even more lucrative racket.