“Why should I respect a Republican or Democrat’s political views on campus when he or she draws conclusions completely contrary to my own?” Some of us at Duke answer this question with, “I shouldn’t have to. If my opponent is wrong, then there is simply no reason to respect what I deem to be conclusively wrong.”
These individuals operate in a world of black-and-white policy answers. But it surprises me, at a school that arguably teaches one of the best liberal arts curricula in our country, with hundreds of professors teaching and debating conflicting ideas with one another every day, that any Duke University student can come away from his or her studies passionately believing that he or she has found definitively right answers to America’s policy problems at the humble age of 22. These students are paying $60,000 a year to ignore the prying hands of a Duke education that is desperately trying to open their minds. Read more
Michael Stinnett - 9/03/2013: Legal rulings such as Citizens United and lax campaign financing laws have undermined the democratic process allowing wealthy donors to buy elections; so-called Super PACs are a pernicious influence on society and should be abolished. A Super PAC, or independent expenditure-only committee, “may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates. Super PACs must, however, report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or quarterly basis – the Super PAC's choice – as a traditional PAC would. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates” (Super PACs). The recent ruling protects political spending by corporations in candidate elections, citing the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. In justifying the ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that “'If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech'” (The New York Times). Read more
Many commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington protest, one of the defining moments of the civil rights movement. The hopes, dreams and aspirations of Martin Luther King Jr. and many others striving for equality were celebrated. Some might argue that much progress has been made, and civil rights are no longer a partisan issue. However, this may not be the case. Frank James pointed out that “The parties have seldom seemed so far apart as they did Wednesday, on the 50th anniversary of King's speech and the March on Washington. Not a single Republican elected official spoke at the ‘Let Freedom Ring’ event at the Lincoln Memorial, site of King's 1963 speech, though some were invited.” http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/08/28/216580613/something-w...
This could be due to mere coincidence, yet there is some reason to believe otherwise. Read more
A few years ago I was asked to give a short talk on the subject of Roe v. Wade. As I have always been interested in the Supreme Court and the individuals who have served on it, I readily agreed. Knowing how controversial that particular decision was, I decided to try a little experiment. Opening the talk, I asked how many supported the decision. Roughly half the hands went up. Then I asked how many opposed it. Again, roughly half raised their hands. Then I asked the most important question. How many have actually read the decision? Sadly, out of perhaps 20 people two raised their hands. I asked them when that shocking revelation revealed itself "How can you support or oppose something without even having taken the time to read it to know what it actually says?" Read more
One day the Supreme Court can undercut one of our nation's strongest voter protection. The next day, the Court makes history again promoting equality for all our citizens.
One day, a majority of Texas conservatives prepare to legislate against choice. Then a Lone Star Senator starts a filibuster, rallies the public & delays the bill for now.
Activists protest the Keystone XL Pipeline and America's inaction on climate change. Then, the President announces executive actions to reduce carbon emissions where Congress won't.
Elections have consequences. Advocacy can lead to results. Activism can shift our culture.
These forms of democracy affect our lives, our health, our loves, our rights. And it's a reminder for the next election: in so many matters, democracy matters.
Let's celebrate the highs & drink down the lows at a festive, feisty, fiery, friendly, fun fete with like-minded lefties and liberal libations at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Ok. Snowden is on the run.
“It’s espionage!” “He’s a traitor!!”.
Yeegads. All for telling us that our government is listening to us and wants to listen to the globe.
“We have warrants!” shouts Obama,
And then in a whisper “from that secret FISA Court” that nobody knows anything about because it’s a secret. National security you know.
Google moved today for a declaratory judgement in Federal Court (the REAL court!) to be allowed to disclose the warrants it received from the NSA through the FISA Court (not to be taken as an admission that there are any warrants of course - they are secret), arguing that it’s business has been irreparably damaged.
Now suppose the security state can’t catch Snowden? Suppose he gets asylum? How would you feel if Obama put him on the drone list over a Tuesday afternoon coffee at the White House?
Nah. Of course he wouldn’t. Would he? He can. Maybe after getting a secret warrant from FISA Court so it’s all nice and legal. Read more
Justice Scalia finally made us proud.
In common with the vast majority of progressives I have considered our two Italian - American Justices to be running dogs of right wing conservatives / corporatists; borderline demi-fascists.
Scalia was on the side of Citizens United; against Obamacare; consistently voting with the other four right wing Justices. Obamacare passed Court muster only because John Roberts pulled a Becket, shocking his political allies.
Justice Scalia, on the other hand, has written several opinions in 4th Amendment cases which progressives should be cheering. His greatest opinions have involved his passionate defense of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. It was Scalia who held, for a majority of the Court, that police need a valid warrant before they can use thermal imaging devices on a suspect’s home, or track his movements 24/7 for a month using a GPS device. Scalia has also written memorable dissents in defense of privacy, including his denunciation of warrantless drug testing for customs employees as “a kind of immolation of privacy and human dignity in symbolic opposition to drug use.” Read more
As arch-conservatives cling to definitions of marriage as between a man and a woman, more and more Americans come to believe that people have the right to marry whom they love.
While the Supreme Court's right flank seems uncomfortable recognizing gay families, Anthony Kennedy, the presumptive swing Justice, is recognizing history's swing toward equality.
Dem leaders finally follow public sentiment, 2016 contenders and coming out for gay rights & though the Republican Party lags behind, more GOP voices are calling for change.
In the end, people love who they love, couples have the right to start families, and why stand in the way of a great wedding?
Whether through Courts, States or the Capitol, before long, even the Grand Old Party will be celebrating a Gay Old Party, and we'll all be better off for it.
Speculate about SCOTUS, pipe up about politics & pass around a pitcher to share a toast as you gather with like-minded lefties at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
The United States Supreme Court recently listened to a challenge to the Voting Rights Act in which the question before the court is “about whether the federal government should still Continue Reading →
The post U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia Needs to Explain “Racial Entitlement”
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For Gay Americans like me, the last couple of years have been good ones for us. We have seen the end of DODT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) so that our gay brothers and sisters cannot only serve, but serve honestly and openly about their sexuality.
We have also seen the very first American president make a statement saying that he supports gay marriage. Along with that, we have several states, which have legalized same-sex marriage across America. Gay people are now accepted by a majority of Americans as friends and good neighbors, along with our right to marry. Many of us can still remember a time when being gay could cause you the loss of a job or housing, or even arrest. For someone like me, I am amazed at the speed that approval for gay rights has grown in the last few years in this country Read more
I haven’t written anything more than an email for a couple days, spent as my writer’s mind is from Campaign 2012. In addition to posting here, I was a regional digital lead for Organizing for America. For many months, I gave my best energy to the cause of reelecting President Obama- and it was worth it. I know all volunteers and staff feel it was worth it following our big electoral win. We are the champions, the victors, the big winners. But what does it all mean, anyway?
What this means is the winning work of the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party continues for four more years.
The first major effort of President Obama’s Administration was the Affordable Care Act, which will be fully realized in 2014. Health care reforms will continue to come online, helping save millions of people’s lives and financial futures. It is an inalienable human right to receive health care, and our nation is closer than ever to achieving full coverage. Read more
As a gay man and one of America’s many minorities, I have seen what popular opinion has done to our nation, as far as allowing racism and bigotry in our laws and in our hearts. I also know that if it were not for the judicial system in this country, many of civil rights would not exist for many minorities.
Three justices from the Iowa Supreme Court were ousted in the Election of 2010 because they interpreted a violation to the state’s constitution, restricting marriage to just one man and one woman. It did not matter that it was a 7-0 ruling; just that it angered some conservative groups who went on a crusade to bring them down. Read more