Political satirists sometimes enjoy wider latitude than journalists. It’s a distinct and vital genre for a reason. The press would nevertheless do well to step back, if only occasionally, and to look at the world as its [sic] seen from the Daily Show writers room, or the Onion headline writing desk. Satirists have a knack for hitting on angles that reporters miss due to excessively narrow framing. And deliberate temperamental irreverence is helpful if your job is to dispassionately observe.* In the aftermath of The Daily Show’s UNESCO piece, its angle and value added has been praised in numerous journalistic outlets. Going forward, the press should try to recognize absurdity ahead of the satirists, and bring to ensuing coverage the rigor that is the journalistic comparative advantage. Continue reading →
Seemingly unrelated events: For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been wracking my brains over my next post on the subject of critical thinking. In email a while back, I had an exchange with someone over the importance of identifying the actual issues. Regarding recent posts at Scholars & Rogues, I’ve been on the brink of reply but left grasping at some inchoate…something. There was a word. Right there. At the tips of my tongue and fingers. And it was gone, along with the sense or structure of anything I might add. Then tonight it hit me. I searched. As luck would have it, this gold nugget from almost exactly five years ago popped up, only to reveal itself as perhaps the most generally relevant thing I’ve read in a fair while.
“To take people from the music world and give them the same kind of credibility that you give me, Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker—that’s like an aberration. I know there’s some young actor sitting in New York or L.A. who’s spent half of his life learning how to act and sacrificing to learn his craft but isn’t going to get his opportunity because of some ‘actor’ who’s been created.” Who said it? Continue reading →
Changing our politics will involve significant shifts in political – and interpersonal – culture.
This may seem like a truism, yet it is common practice among progressive “political junkies” to place nearly all their attention on electoral campaigns and legislative battles. The assumption seems to be that if only we get more of our people in office the world will magically become a better place.
My colleagues and I advocate for an alternative approach that is more empowering for citizens. And we believe it is more likely to succeed.
Before telling you about what we recommend, it might be helpful to know where our thinking comes from. Continue reading →
Today former Virginia governor Mark Warner (a Democrat) announced his plan to run for the Senate seat currently held by retiring Republican John Warner (no relation). Within moments of the announcement, a flamewar broke out among the progressive netroots. Continue reading →
Giuliani has described himself as a backer of civil unions and is frequently described that way in news reports. But he began distancing himself from civil unions in late April, when his campaign told The New York Sun that New Hampshire’s new law goes too far because it is “the equivalent of marriage,” which he has always opposed for gays.
—Boston Globe, August 13, 2007.
Rudy Giuliani is definitely the “Teflon Don” of the current presidential campaign, in that even as more and more evidence surfaces about how deeply right-wing his politics actually are–or worse, that he’s pandering to gain traction with the GOP base–I still run across a baffling number of people who insist that they’d vote for him because of his socially liberal positions, or because he “cut taxes and stopped crime in NYC,” or because he looked authoritative and in command on 9/11. Continue reading →
At least one candidate and one almost-was candidate for president in 2008 believe that the United States cannot afford â€” through federal funding â€” to pay for desperately needed repairs to 160,000 bridges nationwide and other just-as-critical infrastructure needs. They want to privatize much of it, although they label the effort a “partnership.”
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room Thursday to push their National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2007 proposal. The bill leans heavily on research conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, resulting in the center’s “Guiding Principles for Strengthening America’s Infrastructure.”
Sens. Dodd and Hagel told host Wolf Blitzer that the nation’s infrastructure issues are so dire that the federal government cannot financially resolve them on its own.
That isn’t necessarily true. What they propose is a political choice. The federal government, through presidential and congressional leadership, has sufficient ability to do resolve infrastructure issues if it chooses to. Continue reading →
In America, the Republicans are seen as the party of money and wealth. This perception is certainly accurate in one sense – the GOP is the favored party of the wealthy elite. Unfortunately, the party is also supported in large numbers by those who have no wealth, and thanks to the policies of the Republican party, no hope of ever attaining any. But they continue to support the party for reasons that seem irrational to us. Why?
In a nutshell, I want to argue here that they do so because the GOP has, through a long-term and exceptionally effective messaging campaign, drawn around itself the ideology of hope. Forgive a brief over-generalization, but they’re the party that preaches wealth and that tells people they can join the club (never mind that the message is a lie, given our current economic policy structure). In the popular frame, the Republicans are often seen as being about getting and having money while the Democrats are about taking your hard-earned money and giving it to people who didn’t earn it. Continue reading →