A Divide and Conquer ‘Gaffe’

Journalist Michael Kinsley is the namesake for the Kinsley Gaffe. In a 1988 interview he said: “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth — some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” A recent example is Todd Akin (R-MO), the then-candidate for Senate in 2012. On St. Louis local television he was asked…

How Not to Talk About Wealth Inequality

Have you heard we live in an oligarchy? Perhaps you’ve been told America is a plutocracy? Is that because of widespread demagogy? Circumlocution: a big word meaning using unnecessarily lofty words to express an idea. Pat Bagley / Salt Lake Tribune Welcome to the baffling world of liberal-speak. Oligarchy, plutocracy and demagogy: The holy trinity…

How Not to Talk About Wealth Inequality

Have you heard we live in an oligarchy? Perhaps you’ve been told America is a plutocracy? Is that because of widespread demagogy? Circumlocution: a big word meaning using unnecessarily lofty words to express an idea. Pat Bagley / Salt Lake Tribune Welcome to the baffling world of liberal-speak. Oligarchy, plutocracy and demagogy: The holy trinity…

The Grim Repo: Medi-Cal Estate Recovery Act

It was 2007 and we were all gathered around the kitchen table. It was my husband; his parents, Frank and Rachel (not their real names); and me spending a Sunday afternoon catching up. Everyone, it seemed at that time, had just bought a house. Their modest three-bedroom tract home, which they were a year from…

A Truce in Moral Superiority

The distinction of liberal or conservative often hinges on the association with the word “hypocrite.” To liberals, being a hypocrite is a mortal sin. There’s nothing worse than being accused of not living up to the standards you ascribe to. Hypocrite is a dirty word to call a liberal. It’s even worse than calling them “liberal.”

Keep Bossy, Ban Pink Ribboning

“Lean In” Author and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s campaign to cheer young girls to participate launched last week. Sandberg claims little boys get called leaders and for the same behavior little girls are branded as bossy. “Together we can encourage girls to lead. Pledge to Ban Bossy,” reads the site. It’s only a word that’s…

The Diminishment of Religious Persecution

Sorry, my fellow hyperbolists, slavery is not being required to pay income tax. Also, gun control is not what Hitler did to the Jewish people. And the religious right is not being persecuted for their religious beliefs in America in 2014. Pat Bagley / Salt Lake Tribune In order to be persecuted, American Christians would…

The New GOP Frontrunner for 2016: Vladimir Putin

“People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates,” said fraction-term governor and noted Putin-watcher Sarah Palin on Fox News’ Hannity this week. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s beefcake boudoir photography featuring his naked torso alongside…

Don’t Like Food Stamps? Raise the Minimum Wage

Say you’re philosophically opposed to food stamps. Let’s say you feel better about yourself by calling those who’ve hit hard times freeloading parasites. Suppose the very idea someone somewhere may be cheating the system is enough for you to support snatching all subsidized sandwiches out of the hands of your fellow Americans. Imagine that right…

Legitimizing Rape

The charge of rape is a successful way to smear your enemy. When political agitator Andrew Breitbart was met with Occupy protestors one year at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he started screeching, “Behave yourselves and stop raping people!” Russian President Vladimir Putin used this slander brilliantly when asked if gay athletes would be safe…

Separate ‘Marriage’ and State

The problem with our debate about same-sex marriage is in many ways language. The term “marriage” is a religious one. All the dictates as to what a marriage is and who gets to be in a marriage (and how many) are bible-based. We have a religious idea that’s sanctioned by the state in the form…

The GOP Psyche: An Explainer

I believe the Republican Party’s psychic break happened the moment their “compassionate conservative” economic philosophy melted the world’s economy. President George W. Bush, the champion of deregulation, bailed out the banks and then offered: “I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.” I know when I first heard it my head exploded.…

Reproductive Rights and The Golden Rule

When our government was framed, religion was granted freedom in hopes it would return the favor. Call it the Great American Gamble. Give something authoritative in nature free reign and have faith it won’t take over. Kap / Cagle Cartoons Here’s the primary debate of a free country: When does my freedom trample on your…

Employers Can Take ‘Personal Responsibility’ For Poverty Wages

Brace yourself America—Republicans have discovered poverty! Right here, right under their noses, 48 million Americans are, as Senator Marco Rubio puts it, “soon-to-haves.” Because nothing says you understand institutional and generational poverty like using corporate-ese to describe it. David Fitzsimmons / Arizona Daily Star Now that Republicans have acknowledged one-fifth of the wealthiest country in…

OK, GOP, Defend Speech You Don’t Agree With

As the dust settles over A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson’s interview in GQ, I’d like to offer a challenge to all who defended his right to wax nostalgic about how happy black people were before the civil rights era (also stating that Shintoism is basically Nazism and homosexuality is basically bestiality). To all those…

My 2013 Holiday Wish List

In this season of fighting over the true meaning of the season, I offer my short (and admittedly incomplete) list of things which could make the world a better place all year round: 1. End the War on Christmas and end it now John Cole / Scranton Times-Tribune What does a truce in the War…

This is What Peace Looks Like

During the 2008 election, candidate Barack Obama was derisively referred to as “The One.” His opponent’s attack ads implied he was the Messiah. “He has anointed himself ready to carry the burden of The One,” went the infamous TV spot. Some wondered if this wasn’t a dog whistle to the Apocalypse-minded Americans who weren’t put…

Holiday Jeer Google’s Pay-to-Fleece Game

A hundred years ago, business tycoon Samuel Insull consolidated smaller utility companies to form the behemoth (albeit public charity-sounding) Commonwealth Edison. Because of the infrastructure needed to provide energy to an increasingly power-hunger public, Insull and others argued that Commonwealth Edison was a natural monopoly; inherently one company had to dominate the market. This battle…