No country for old conservative white men

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with a word from one of his dissents

During the past week of momentous U.S. Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act and the Fair Housing Act, the biggest loser may have been Republican Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Thankfully, Scalia represents an old conservative white male demographic whose notions are becoming extinct.

Amnesty International criticizes police use of deadly force in U.S.

March for Michael Brown in response to Ferguson grand jury decision

March for Michael Brown in response to Ferguson grand jury decision

Rights group Amnesty International held a webinar yesterday regarding police use of deadly force in the United States. Amnesty’s presentation follows its report released last week, charging that all 50 U.S. states fall short of international standards on police use of lethal force. Amnesty’s report and presentation follow a number of high-profile police fatal shootings of young unarmed black men and boys, including Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.

Fighting the culture war in Nevada

The politics of plastic straws

The politics of plastic straws

Last week in Nevada, we asked the waitress not to give us straws in our soft drinks. The drinks didn’t need to be stirred, and we didn’t need to waste more plastic that ends up in a landfill or a floating trash archipelago in the ocean. “Oh, you’re one of them,” said the waitress. We could only conclude that “one of them” meant a hippie liberal environmentalist who should be mocked for wanting to conserve our resources. We concluded that our waitress is a conservative who might be brainwashed by Republican talking points from Fox News and other sources that sheath their pro-corporate messages behind a veil of “individual freedom” and an “us versus them” mentality.

Elizabeth Warren turns her attention away from the presidency

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren

The “Run Warren Run” movement to draft U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren for president is over. The movement, spurred by MoveOn.org and Democracy For America, spanned six months, garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures, and even included ground operations in Iowa and New Hampshire. However, Warren insisted from the get-go that she did not want to run. To mark this shift, MoveOn.Org, Democracy For America and the Working Families Party held a conference call last night featuring Senator Warren. The message from Warren was that she is going to continue to fight hard for Americans from her Senate seat, but that she needs our help to do so.

The New York Times’ embarrassing election coverage

The New York Times Building

The New York Times Building

Like it or not, the 2016 election cycle is in full swing. Numerous media outlets are well into covering the campaigns and candidates. These media organizations are also giving early clues as to the quality of theirĀ  election coverage. If the last week is any indication, the New York Times has distinguished itself both for bias and inanity.

Hastert and Duggar sitting in a tree

Dennis Hastert

Dennis Hastert

After the recent sexual revelations involving Josh Duggar and Dennis Hastert, businesses that replace windows in glass houses are doing very well. Both the Duggar and Hastert cases are about hypocrisy, and psychologists might also say they involve loudly criticizing others’ sexual behavior to cover one’s own past behavior. But both cases offer some sharp political lessons:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse holds Google hangout on climate change

Retreating Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska

Retreating Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska

Last Thursday, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) held a Google hangout video conference sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters. Also on hand for the video chat were Gene Karpinski, President of LCV, and LCV’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Tiernan Sittenfeld. Senator Whitehouse is perhaps the leading Senator on climate change issues, and has given a “Time to Wake Up” environmental speech on the Senate floor every week for the past 100 weeks that the Senate has been in session, i.e., over the past three years. Whitehouse also took questions from the Google hangout audience, and worked with LCV to use the Twitter hashtags #TimeToWakeUp and #100Reasons to further the interaction with the audience. Here are some highlights from the video conference:

Big enough Republican primary vehicle finally found

Republican Clown Town

Republican Clown Town

In years past, the parade of Republicans running for higher speaking fees, book sales and Fox News contracts a/k/a running for the Republican nomination for president, has been referred to as the Clown Car. This year, there are so many potential GOP candidates that they need a bigger vehicle. Say hello to Clown Town!

Fighting for Amtrak, transportation and good government

High speed trains in London

High speed trains in London

The recent Amtrak derailment in Pennsylvania has once again exposed America’s embarrassing train transportation system. Parts of this system are up to 150 years old, and it’s falling apart. Yet, when Democrats, including President Barack Obama, propose to modernize our train system and build high-speed trains, Republicans oppose these plans.

Predictably, after the Amtrak accident, in addition to the horrible optics of simultaneous Republican budget cuts, we are hearing the usual Republican talking points about America’s train transportation system. Here are the main GOP talking points, along with some possible responses:

The one-word difference between liberals and conservatives

"Birther" protesters, St. Cloud, MN, 2013

“Birther” protesters, St. Cloud, MN, 2013

Anyone who pays attention to the arguments made by conservatives (and Republicans, same thing nowadays) versus those made by liberals and Democrats knows that their respective ways of thinking and speaking is entirely different. Researchers have even found that conservative and liberal brains work very differently. But what the scientists haven’t mentioned is that you can usually identify whether someone is a liberal or a conservative by listening for one word.