Politics

Presidential Hopeful Rand Paul Celebrates National Poetry Month

Senator Rand Paul has had a rough first foray onto the Presidential campaign trail. He scolded female reporters, dodged questions, and seemed bored by the salt of the earth constituent types he claims to represent. As The Washington Post noted after a mere day of America’s experiencing Candidate Paul: “The rocky media rollout of his presidential effort highlighted a key question facing him now: whether the same tough approach that has made him a favorite among Tea Party activists and libertarians might be limiting in a national campaign,” To put it more simply: is this dude too much of an abrasive jerk to win over the country?

Rand Paul needs to soften his image, no doubt about it. Fortunately, National Poetry Month in April offers us a great opportunity to see the more scholarly and, um emo, side of the guy (as evidenced by the recently unearthed photo above). To that end, Paul sent us some great discussion questions to jumpstart our consideration of six famous poems, excerpted below. … Read More

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How to Celebrate Riot Grrrl Day: A Primer

Yesterday, Boston mayor Marty Walsh declared that today (April 9) would be Riot Grrrl Day throughout the city, in honor of feminist punk icon Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, The Julie Ruin). A proclamation signed by Walsh reads, in part: “The Riot Grrrl philosophy has never felt more relevant, with misogyny still rampant in many cultural spaces… Riot Grrrls redefine the language used against them and continue to fight the newest incarnations of patriarchy. In doing so, they ironically confirm one ex-congressman’s accidental wisdom: ‘the female body has ways to try to shut that down.’ It sure does: women’s voices telling their stories can shut that down.” … Read More

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Masha Gessen’s ‘The Brothers': Do We Need to ‘Understand’ the Boston Marathon Bombers?

In the days following the Boston Marathon Bombing, I was perhaps the biggest media patsy I’ve ever been in my life. I was listening in to police scanners, OMG-ing without context into Twitter, finding my eyes glaze over from an excess of TV, radio, and Internet. I was dumbly captivated by the entire saga, from the brutality… Read More

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Watch John Oliver Take on the Patriot Act and Dick Pics… with Edward Snowden

John Oliver took on Section 215 of the Patriot Act (known as the “library records” provision because of the materials… Read More

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Jonathan Franzen Urges We Abandon Fight to Slow Climate Change “to Protect Birds”

Well, this one’s actually for the birds: In this week’s New Yorker, novelist Jonathan Franzen suggests in an essay… Read More

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Why Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law Isn’t Just Morally Wrong — It’s Bad Law

There’s been an ongoing controversy over Indiana’s adoption of a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), largely because of the potential it grants for the discrimination against LGBT people on religious grounds. This week, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook penned an op-ed for the Washington Post wherein he argued that the laws “go against very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.” He’s right on both counts, but the first is one that warrants exploring further, because the RFRA in all its incarnations isn’t just a bad law — it’s a fundamentally ill-conceived one. … Read More

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The Terrifying Case of Kamilah Brock Proves Life Is Crazier Than Fiction

Sadly, stories about hideous injustices being meted out to people of color in America are so prevalent that it’s hard to be surprised at them — but even so, there’s something uniquely horrifying about the case of Kamilah Brock. As per Gawker, Brock was pulled over in Harlem by police who accused her of being high on marijuana. No proof of this was ever found, but her car was nevertheless impounded by the NYPD. When she went to demand its return, she was restrained, sedated, and committed to Harlem Hospital for being “emotionally disturbed.” It took her eight days to convince staff that she was in fact perfectly sane, during which time she was dosed involuntarily with lorazepam and lithium and forced to attend group therapy. Once released, she was hit with a $13,000 medical bill. … Read More

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Why Hasn’t Ted Cruz Responded to ‘The New Yorker’s’ “Uppity” Slur?

“Uppity” is, to put it lightly, an ugly word. It’s got a long and unpleasant history in this country of being racially loaded, of being used to connote the idea of ethnic minorities — especially African Americans — getting above their station and challenging a white hegemony that should remain untouched. Unsurprisingly, its use in politics has been a particularly prominent issue throughout the Obama presidency, with the usual roll-call of right-wing dog whistlers — Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity — lining up to use, and then defend, the word in relation to Barack and Michelle Obama. With all this in mind, then, it was startling to see The New Yorker, of all publications, make an ass of itself this week in using the word to describe Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. … Read More

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Is Monica Lewinsky a Feminist Icon?

Monica Lewinsky is a heroine, and not just as the fictional subject of a web video series. Instead, as she takes tentative steps back into the public eye, she may be emerging as an icon for a younger generation of feminists, at least according to a long profile by Jessica Bennett in the New York Times in conjunction with Lewinsky’s well-received TED Talk on cyber-bullying last week. … Read More

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