Category Archives: politics

April 12, 2013, 9:10 am

Labour MP Glenda Jackson Leans In On Margaret Thatcher

In the midst of the gauzy tributes to Margaret Thatcher, Glenda Jackson kicks it in the House of Commons. Imagine if any United States politician had possessed the onions to deliver a similar summary of Ronald Reagan’s political and social legacy. Hat tip.

February 9, 2013, 12:38 pm

Protest, Engage and Discuss: Brooklyn College, the Occupation and Academic Freedom

Bloomberg to City Council critics: Brooklyn is not Pyongyang!  Photo credit.

As of this writing, despite saber-rattling of various kinds by donors and politicians, the Brooklyn College event featuring speakers from Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) seems to have gone off without a hitch. The Israeli state still exists; the Palestinian people do not yet have a state of their own; and the Mayor of New York has affirmed the principle of free speech in our public university system. Read about it here.

I realize that it is conventional to begin a post like this one be declaring that one is not an anti-semite, that one is a supporter of Israel — or not an anti-semite and not a supporter of Israel, and hence a supporter of Palestinian freedom (whatever that means at this moment in history.) I cannot tell you…

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November 9, 2012, 12:28 am

In Bizarro World, Mitt Romney Is Now President

President Romney’s transition website went live by mistake, allowing some person who wants stuff to take a screen shot.

Well, I am most certainly glad that we, the people, did not favor Mitt Romney on Tuesday. It’s not only for the reasons you might assume: that I am a taker, not a maker; that I want stuff; that I care nothing for innocent life; or that I am a member of that feared breed, a Tenured Radical.

Noooooooooes!!!!! All these things are true, but I have better reasons. I am glad that Mitt Romney was not elected because apparently he, the GOP apparatus, and the conservative punditocracy were not just lying about everything, they actually were inhabiting an alternate reality during the whole campaign. Frankly, I had never considered this. I find it a lot more disturbing than the idea that they were…

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November 5, 2012, 9:05 pm

Each One, Bring One: Let’s Get Out The Vote

And while you’re at it, take someone to the polls with you. High turnouts favor Democracy.

If you live in Ohio or Florida, don’t forget to bring food, water, a folding chair and a lawyer.

October 26, 2012, 6:38 pm

Before You (Don’t) Cast Your Protest Vote: Think 1980. Think 2000.

Remember all the protest votes cast for John Anderson in 1980?

One of the commenters on my last post disagreed with my view that deciding not to vote is an abnegation of civic responsibility. “There is a good argument to be made about not voting as an act of protest,” s/he wrote, and then pointed out that there are more than two candidates running.”The Green Party candidate, Jill Stein… does represent a real progressive alternative to the status quo.”

I find this comment usefully provocative, and an excuse to extend my remarks about protest voting. In a place like Canada, I would vote for Jill Stein. In the United States, where we have two parties, it is not a “real…alternative” to vote for Stein. This election is so tight that voting for someone who is a progressive alternative, but who will never win the…

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October 24, 2012, 10:40 pm

Right Here in River City? Mitt Romney’s Higher Education Poli$$y

Well, either you’re closing your eyes
To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
By the presence of a pool table in your community.

“Ya Got Trouble,” The Music Man (1957)

Dick van Dyke as Harold Hill, 1980

I’ve seen this several times on the news: some proffie in a swing state who believes that Barack Obama has failed to deliver.  So said proffie is going to register his disapproval by staying home on election day.

I don’t disagree with many reasonable leftists’ reluctance to endorse the President — drones, torture, Guantanamo, his use of phrases like “clean coal” (????) — I agree, and I had strong reservations about Obama’s support for the left agenda before I voted for him the first time. However, I also believe that voting is a…

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October 4, 2012, 9:08 pm

Things I Didn’t Tweet, And Questions That Were Not Asked, In the (Not So) Great Presidential Debate

When the Twitterati were peaking, Big Bird was getting 17,000 sympathetic tweets a minute.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that, in my view, what wasn’t talked about at the first Presidential debate last night was more remarkable than what was.

I’m not spinning it like my pals in the liberal media are — although I’m relieved and happy to see that the President’s energy has returned today. (Favorite admonishment? It’s from Rachel Maddow, after a superb presentation on the history of modern presidential debate: “As for the national bedwetting going on among Democrats today? C’mon! Buck up!”)

All right! But like many folks on the left who were Tweeting last night, I rocketed from unpleasant emotion to unpleasant emotion: boredom, fear, rage, anxiety are a few. I even became uncharacteristically…

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September 26, 2012, 3:40 pm

Teaching At The Grass Roots: Registering Voters in North Carolina

Our southern correspondent, who some of you may know from my comments section as Urban Exile, (and others may know better as my sister) has volunteered to register voters in the state of North Carolina. We hear a lot from the national campaigns, but what’s happening on the ground, as campaign workers try to persuade citizens to act on their Constitutional right to choose a President in 2012? I set myself to finding out in an e-interview.

I want to start with a few questions that will help my readers know more about you. What do you do for a living?

I am a former professional musician, but I’ve worked for many years as a Spanish language coach and translator which is what I do now full-time. I have a husband and a dog, and I live in Durham North Carolina. I had lived in New York City for my entire adult life until a year ago.

Do you have a background in politics or organizing? …

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September 5, 2012, 9:58 am

“One of the Most Compassionate Men:” Senator Ted Kennedy’s Recent History

Sen. Edward Kennedy is escorted by troopers as he leaves court in Edgartown, Mass. (AP)

After an hour and a half riding around Brooklyn on the subway due to an F train mishap, Tenured Radical arrived home last night just in time to hear these words, spoken by Bill Clinton, as part of the Teddy Kennedy tribute video at the Democratic National Convention. I have always been a huge Teddy fan, but it did occur to me that one of the unbridgeable divided between ordinary Dems and ordinary Repubs might be the collective amnesia about why Teddy could never be president. There was the drinking, the womanizing, and the nasty divorce. As Teddy and Joan hurtled their way to destruction, every moment was documented in supermarket tabloids, complete with the ugly, frantic pictures that were typical of that genre even prior to…

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August 30, 2012, 5:11 pm

We Built It: But Who Are “We,” White Man?

In case you have forgotten that marriage is only between a man and a woman, Laura Bowman accepts Bradley Thompson’s proposal on the GOP convention stage. Photo credit.

Remember that old joke where the Lone Ranger and his Indian scout Tonto are surrounded by unfriendly Native Americans? The Ranger says, “Look’s like we’re in trouble,” and Tonto replies: “Whaddaya mean ‘we,’ white man?”

Well, the next time Republican strategists hold a meeting about the gender gap, or any other gap for that matter, they might want to consider reducing the frat party atmosphere of their national convention. I bet that even if you aren’t a Democrat it becomes tiresome to watch a bunch of white people hooting, hollering and jeering as if they were at a football game every time one of their speakers tells a bad and mean-spirited joke …

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