The Republic of T.

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

February 5, 2014
by terrance
2 Comments

Chris Christie’s Super Bowl Fumble

With the first ever “Mass Transit Super Bowl” happening in his state, New Jersey governor Chris Christie had two jobs: Make the trains run on time, and make sure New Jersey benefited. What actually happened is a classic example of conservative failure.

“Jersey Sucks!”

Chris Christie was certainly proud to host the Super Bowl. On Thursday, Christie made his first public appearance to talk about the Super Bowl — at a Boys & Girls Club that received a $1.2 million makeover, care of the National Football League and corporate donors. New York City may have hosted Super Bowl Week, but Christie reminded everyone where the game itself would be played.

Things went downhill from there. Christie woke up to damning headlines on Saturday morning.

Continue Reading →

February 3, 2014
by terrance
Comments Off

Digest for January 27th through February 3rd

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for January 27th through February 3rd:

January 30, 2014
by terrance
Comments Off

Rand Paul Can’t Erase the GOP’s War On Women, Or Its Consequences

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is caught in a time warp. During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Paul went back more than 20 years to the Clinton sex scandal in an attempt tot blunt Democrats’ claims that the GOP is waging a “war on women.”  Following President Obama’s State of the Union address, Paul doubled down on his claim that Bill Clinton had committed “workplace violence”.

Revisiting Bill Clinton’s sex scandal won’t erase the reality of the Republican party’s “war on women,” or its consequences for women, families and communities across the country. Continue Reading →

January 27, 2014
by terrance
Comments Off

Digest for January 21st through January 27th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for January 21st through January 27th:

January 21, 2014
by terrance
Comments Off

Digest for January 15th through January 21st

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for January 15th through January 21st:

  • Editorial: Gay-Baiting Before the Olympics – President Vladimir Putin is using the Sochi Games to denigrate homosexuals.
  • The Longer Chris Christie Stonewalls on Hobokengate, the Worse It Is For Him – There's something fishy going on here. If Christie wants to discredit this allegation, there are two simple things he can do.
  • Study Refutes the Myth of the Absent Black Father – CDC research dispels prevailing assumptions about black fathers, they're more involved with their children's lives than previously thought.
  • Dr. King and Full Employment…Again – Dr. King, toward the end of his life, clearly recognized the role that full employment played in providing economic opportunity for African-Americans. The Selma boycott in which he was instrumental tapped the economic clout of the black community. Yes, a large part of his life’s work was to convince racists of their spiritual corruption, but he was not about to wait for their enlightenment to make progress.
  • The Teachings of Texas on Political Payback – Chris Christie would never make it as a pol in Texas. He leaves too many fingerprints. Victims are not supposed to know who stuck the knife in them. They are just supposed to be bleeding and then dead. This lesson has already been taught, governor.
  • Has Martin Luther King’s “Dream” Been Realized? – The celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day gives us an opportunity to consider: Has King‘s “Dream“ Been Realized?
  • 11 Things Atheists Couldn’t Do Because They Didn’t Believe In God – Here are 11 things atheists couldn't — and in many cases still can't — do because they didn't believe in God.
  • No, We’re Not All Social Darwinists. Empathy for the Poor Is Common – Matt Bruenig posted an interesting response to Barbara Ehrenreich's brilliant The Atlantic essay on what poverty is really like. In the essay she argues that there has been a palpable shift in how we as a society conceive of poverty. Where we once felt empathy, we now feel anger. Bruenig correctly points out that there has always been a moral stigma attached to poverty.
  • For some idiots, there just aren’t enough guns on university campuses | Diane Roberts – Guns are a part of US culture. But as a professor, I see no reason they need to be on college campuses. It just invites disaster
  • The Real Chris Christie Scandal – During last fall's New Jersey gubernatorial contest, which Gov. Chris Christie used as a rehearsal for a 2016 presidential bid, the media were so mesmerized by his outsize personality that they paid little attention to his track record as governor. Contrary to his carefully-crafted image, Christie has not been a can-do pragmatist but a hard-line conservative. When he plays the no-nonsense tough guy, it is usually aimed at the most vulnerable people in society. But he gets all warm and fuzzy when it comes to the rich and powerful.

January 17, 2014
by terrance
1 Comment

Utah Is Ending Homelessness By Giving People Homes

Earlier this month, Hawaii State representative Tom Bower (D) began walking the streets of his Waikiki district with a sledgehammer, and smashing shopping carts used by homeless people. “Disgusted” by the city’s chronic homelessness problem, Bower decided to take matters into his own hands — literally. He also took to rousing homeless people if he saw them sleeping at bus stops during the day. 

Bower’s tactics were over the top, and so unpopular that he quickly declared “Mission accomplished,” and retired his sledgehammer. But Bower’s frustration with his city’s homelessness problem is just an extreme example of the frustration that has led cities to pass measures that effective deal with the homeless by criminalizing homelessness. 

Continue Reading →

January 17, 2014
by terrance
Comments Off

Why Are Ireland And The Rest of Europe Still Worse Off Than The U.S.?

In 2010, the Heritage Foundation ranked Ireland in the top 10 “Economic Independence Index.” Four years later austerity has wrecked Ireland’s economy, and other European economies.

The “luck of the Irish” ran out in 2008, when the “Celtic Tiger” was neutered by the “sharp economic adjustments” that were bursting bubble-driven economies around the globe. Ireland became the first European country to enter a recession in 25 years. Like the U.S., Ireland’s economy was driven by a surge in housing and credit-based consumer spending. Besides housing, Ireland’s economy relied on exports made by foreign-owned multinationals, drawn to the Emerald Isle by one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe.

Continue Reading →

January 15, 2014
by terrance
1 Comment

When Conservatism Fails, West Virginians Get Poisoned

Today, about 35,000 of the 300,000 West Virginians left without water for five days, after a chemical leak contaminated the Elk River, can shower again. For the remaining folks in the nine counties affected by the chemical leak and the resulting ban on using tap water, the crisis will go on for a few more days yet. But that doesn’t mean anyone in West Virginia, or many other places around the country, are out the danger.

The story of the West Virginia chemical spill that poisoned a river and left 300,000 without water offers another example failure of conservatism’s “deregulation culture,” and a lesson in how government oversight can prevent disasters and protect citizens.

Continue Reading →

January 14, 2014
by terrance
Comments Off

Digest for January 10th through January 14th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for January 10th through January 14th:

January 13, 2014
by terrance
1 Comment

Chris Christie: The GOP’s Celebrity Bully

For two hours, last Wednesday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie took reporters’ questions about “Bridgegate” — in which Christie’s senior aides closed the George Washington Bridge to punish the  mayor of Fort Lee, for not endorsing Christie’s re-election bid —  but stopped short of really taking responsibility. He answered every question, but left the most disturbing questions unanswered.

Like a client well-coached by his lawyer, Christie stuck to his story.  Unfortunately, that story amounted to variations on two repeated refrains: “I didn’t know,” and “I was lied to.”

“Bridgegate” seems to confirm the worst suspicions about Christie, and the Republican party that — until recently —had all but embraced him as its best hope for 2016. Christie’s press conference, and the GOP’s muddled response to the scandal, have done little to allay those concerns.

Continue Reading →

January 10, 2014
by terrance
Comments Off

Digest for January 10th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for January 10th from 16:31 to 16:43:

January 8, 2014
by terrance
Comments Off

After 50 Years, How To Move Foward In The War On Poverty

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson stood before Congress and declared war on poverty. His plans included broadening the food stamp program, extending minimum wage coverage, increasing education funding, and providing “hospital insurance” for older Americans. Johnson spoke of millions of Americans who lived on “the outskirts of hope,” and challenged the country to “replace their despair with opportunity.”

Contrary to conventional wisdom, American hasn’t lost the war on poverty. We stopped fighting it. It’s time to take up the challenge Johnson issued 50 years ago. We must not only renew the fight against poverty, but we must fight for jobs, livable wages, and economic growth that benefits all.

Continue Reading →

January 3, 2014
by terrance
3 Comments

To My Childhood Dentist

To my childhood dentist: Last year was the year that I started paying — really paying — for what you did. It took almost a lifetime to catch up with me, but it finally did. I started to write this several times last year, but I was still in the midst of dealing with it all.

This year, I hope to finally get through the worst of it. So, writing this now, even though you’re probably beyond the reach of any words of mine, as a way hopefully releasing it.

Continue Reading →

January 2, 2014
by terrance
Comments Off

Digest for December 31st through January 2nd

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.

December 31, 2013
by terrance
Comments Off

Digest for December 31st

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for December 31st from 12:51 to 12:58:

  • Myanmar declares ‘no more political prisoners’ after amnesty – To 1.3 million jobless Americans: The Republican Party wishes you a Very Unhappy New Year!
  • Cutting jobless aid will be costly – If some of your neighbors don't seem too happy about the new year, it could be because Congress decided to go home and party without extending unemployment benefits.

    After patting itself on the back for barely passing a budget deal, Congress left 1.3 million long-term-unemployed Americans without any obvious means of support. Lawmakers didn't include an extension of unemployment benefits in the budget deal, so the program expired on Saturday.

  • The TV Club, 2013 – Despite anger toward these supposedly anti-democratic decisions, judicial rulings have a necessary role to play in the advancement of civil rights, even when public and legislative opinion isn't on the same side. Especially when it isn't.
  • The Pope’s Criticism Of Capitalism Has One Wealthy Donor Very Upset – Pope Francis' critical comments about the wealthy and capitalism have at least one wealthy capitalist benefactor hesitant about giving financial support to one of the church's major fundraising projects.
  • Banner year for LGBT rights – Richard Socarides, former president of Equality Matters, shares his thoughts on 2013’s top stories related to LGBT rights.

December 29, 2013
by terrance
1 Comment

From “Duck Dynasty” To “Booker’s Place”

“Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s comments on race didn’t cause as much controversy as his anti-gay spiel, but they deserve just as much scrutiny. In an interview with a GQ reporter, Robertson reflected growing up in the segregated south, and said he believes that black people were happier in the pre-civil rights era:

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Only willful ignorance could have prevented Robertson from seeing the mistreatment and suffering of blacks under Jim Crow. Not to mention understanding why they would never have complained to him.

Continue Reading →

December 23, 2013
by terrance
Comments Off

Will The GOP Embrace “Duck Dynasty Conservatism”?

By now, everyone knows the story.  Phil Robertson, star of A&E’s popular reality show “Duck Dynasty”, told a GQ reporter what he thinks of gay people:

Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out. Like this one:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”Gay and lesbian organizations were outraged, and let A&E know it.  Robertson was suspended from the show. The Robertson clan issued a statement saying that the rest of the family would not carry on the show without Robertson.

Conservatives have rushed to defend Robertson. But why?

Continue Reading →