Nota Bene #119: Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Who said it? Continue reading

Has a college degree become a bad investment? Better question: is conservative rhetoric the worst investment in history?

Yesterday over at Future Majority, Kevin Bondelli responded to Jack Hough’s New York Post column “Don’t Get That College Degree!” Bondelli’s take led with one of the more terrifying titles I’ve seen lately: “Has College Become a Bad Investment?” Yow. When you dig the hole so deep that you can even use that kind of question as a rhetorical device, you know you’re in some deep, deep kim-chee. Seriously. That one ranks right up there with “Is breathing really a good idea?” and “What are the lasting benefits of a howitzer shot to the balls?”

Snark aside, Bondelli does a nice job of addressing Hough, who “argues that the increase in lifetime wages for graduates no longer makes up for the financial burden of university education and the ensuing student loan burden.” He also takes on one of the GOP’s most successful and devastating canards, explaining that Continue reading

Domestic terrorism: the mainstream media must stop spreading the Lone Wolf Flu

There’s a wicked little meme is going around and it seems to have infected a lot of people we’d have hoped were immune. Unfortunately this mental and linguistic virus is particularly virulent, and left untreated it has the potential to be lethal.

I’m referring, of course, to the “Lone Wolf” Flu. It’s precisely the sort of bug we’d expect to strike conservative talk show hosts across the nation – and it has – but lately it’s turned up in what were once considered to be some of the most objective and sanitary environments in the American media landscape.

I’ll stop torturing the metaphor now, lest it seem like I’m treating the subject too lightly. Instead, let’s examine a couple of news items that do considerable damage to the truth of our domestic terror problem. First, a June 13 AP story bylined by Devlin Barrett and Eileen Sullivan came across the wires with this headline: “Shootings show threat of ‘lone wolf’ terrorists.” And yesterday the Wall St. Journal joined in with “FBI Seeks to Target Lone Extremists,” which explained that “[l]one-wolf offenders continue to be of great concern to law enforcement.” Continue reading

Columbine and the power of symbols

columbine-hillPart three of a series.

In the days following the murders at Columbine High School I visited the school and the grounds of Clement Park. Those walks produced this piece, which was originally published ten years ago today.

We have learned a great deal about the  events that took place at Columbine since  this essay was written (for instance, we now know that the  “Cassie Said Yes” story never actually happened,  and we also know that the whole “Trenchcoat Mafia”  thing was also a media-propagated fiction). But it seemed to me that going back  and revising to account for new information would damage the  fabric of what I wrote in late April and early May of 1999.  I have therefore elected to leave the factual inaccuracies  in place. I do, however, note the spots containing errors with an asterisk (*).

Salon.com and Westword.com provide as thorough and accurate  a picture as we are ever likely to have of the shootings and  the aftermath, and I recommend them highly.

_________________

Sunday, May 2, 1999

It won’t stop raining, and nobody seems to care. Continue reading

Hey, Progressives: now what?

The Democrats are like the dog who chases cars, and then one day he catches one. Holy crap – now what?

For the longest time progressives were the opposition, the outsiders, and were in a sort of no-lose position. It’s easy to bitch (especially when you’ve got an administration like Bush’s providing more targets than you have ammo to shoot at), but being in charge of the agenda and having the power to actually do things, well, that’s another situation entirely.

Sara Robinson, who’s quite simply one of the brightest minds in the whole darned blogosphere, has some extremely useful thoughts on the subject of what comes next. Continue reading