The latest viral police profiling confrontation is a black man, Brandon McKean, getting stopped by a Michigan cop for walking with his hands in his pockets in freezing cold weather. McKean’s video adds another example to the multitude of stories that are coming to white people’s attention about how police profile, harass, and brutalize people of color. What’s different in this case is that the police department defended itself with a counter-video on Facebook, demonstrating that McKean edited his version to make himself appear in a good light.The introduction of new media technology, which started changing the game with videos and Rodney King in 1992,Read More →

Huey Long is the heart of Louisiana. I think of him when I think of Louisiana, and I understand the anathema of this state. Its collectivism, which derives from its non-Anglo traditions and its agrarian culture, gave easy rise to its populist politics. That populism was intensely complicated by a racism that Huey Long managed to navigate. Long dreamed of a “share the wealth” program encapsulated in his “A chicken in every pot, and every man a king” sound bite. He is an indirect grandparent to Occupy Wall Street.  Long despised big oil and big banks; he drove the expansion of Glass-Steagall in Congress andRead More →

Edie and Thea got gay married. The linguistic shift from gay marriage to marriage equality is interesting, like all politically motivated discursive choices.  Adding the gay label to marriage “spotlights” same-sex marriage, emphasizing its abnormality. Spotlighting, or using marked language, highlights what is notably outside the norm and establishes the unmarked category as neutral, making it the default setting or normal. Male nurse is to nurse as gay marriage is to marriage. Marked language, then, reifies heterosexual marriage as standard. “Marriage equality” makes sense, then, as the phrase of choice. The language of equality locates gay marriage in the venerable tradition of civil rights, andRead More →

The biggest threat from ObamaCare, according to the Humanix Books’ ObamaCare Survival Guide, is the influx of the mass uninsured populace into the healthcare system.  The logic behind this argument boggles the mind. The short version: there aren’t enough doctors to handle the sudden mass increase in patients and the existing pool of doctors will all quit in frustration. Consequently, everyone’s health care will suffer. The odds of anyone going to medical school to replace this pool are low and no one will be trained in time to treat all these new patients or fill in the gap. How is it that this influx ofRead More →

Today the WMST-L is discussing having students write their own Vagina Monologues. This recalls the incident a Michigan state representative was banned for saying “vagina” on the floor. All that week I used the word vagina in as many Facebook posts as possible. Women should write their own Vagina Monologues. And they should have some teeth to them.Read More →

Charter schools. They are a bad business model for education. Let’s pretend for a minute that I have no ideological, ethical, or professional investment in keeping education free from the marketplace paradigm. It’s an awfully big suspension of disbelief, true. Let’s pretend that the nation is on the same page about getting our kids an education, and we are deeply honest about looking for solutions to a broken system. In true problem-solving mode, then, everything should go on the table for exploration. That includes evaluating charter schools openly from within its own framework. The argument supporting charter schools depends on the analogy that education isRead More →

On this Veteran’s Day, stop fake supporting your troops. Today is Veteran’s Day, a day that spawns a number of cut and paste micro-memes on Facebook.  After last month’s screed on pinkwashing, I feel compelled to repeat my rant preemptively as the first posts start to trickle in. People see the “Support our Troops Cut and Paste,” and they dutifully follow directions without taking a moment to honor the sentiment, and without admitting that they’ve accomplished absolutely nothing meaningful in any way. Flag-waving “support your veteran” statuses on Facebook are amusing. They’re pointless. We might as well cut and paste a status from a statusRead More →

I’m entirely jealous of the people of Minnesota on a daily basis. I have friended/liked Al Franken’s Facebook page, and so Franken sends me posts about his work several times a day. Jealous, jealous, jealous. He does so much good, progressive work, and he’s damned hard-nosed about it.

Vitter sends me regular emails too, because I signed up for his newsletter for some stupid reason. They are nothing but

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