Category: Politics

On Monday, I participated in my second Democratic caucus in Iowa. Over the course of two hours that evening, a group of a little over a hundred Democrats spoke and listened, argued and persuaded, voted and counted. In the end, we split our five delegates between three candidates: two for Sanders, two for Warren, and one for Biden. And I’m glad I’ve had the chance to be a part of this weird little democratic tradition. But I would also love it if these caucuses were our last. That’s not because of the specific problems that we had this year….
In all of the commotion about impeachment and an impending Senate trial, a story flew under the radar. President Trump recently paid $2 million in damages for misusing charitable money. That $2 million is going to eight charities. In addition, the Trump Foundation is dissolving (it’s $1.7 million in remaining assets going to the same charities), the President’s future charitable endeavors in New York will be under ongoing supervision by the New York Attorney General’s Office, and the Trump children must undergo compulsory training on how to not misuse charitable funds. (Washington Post, NPR, AP, USA Today) In 2016,…
A Lutheran church in Oak Park, Illinois, had a fire, and was investing $3 million in rebuilding the church building. The church interviewed and hired only union labor for the project. After the project was scheduled with a start date of July 1, they discovered that they needed to remove asbestos before the project began. They searched for a union contractor to do the $20,000 asbestos removal project, but ultimately selected a non-union contractor in order to stay on schedule with the rest of the renovation project. This caught the attention of the Laborers’ Local in Oak Park, who…
As I write this, Howard Schultz, billionaire and former CEO of Starbucks, is mounting an independent campaign for the presidency of the United States. And he seems to be running for that office because he’s horrified at the idea of paying a higher marginal tax rate on the part of the income that is over $10 million. And he isn’t alone in that horror. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, billionaire Michael Dell was asked about that tax rate and quipped, “Name a country where that’s worked… ever” only to be corrected when MIT professor…
Let’s talk about entitlements. Americans don’t really like the idea of entitlements. We tend to think of entitlement as something that a person wants, but that they don’t deserve. At the best, politicians argue that we simply can’t afford entitlement programs. At the worst, charity skeptics lament the sense of entitlement that some people—especially people living in poverty—might develop.  And, of course, we resist the idea that we receive entitlements. We tend to believe that the only way to deserve something is to earn it. Other people might benefit from entitlements (that is, they might get something that they…
Excuse me for a minute while I get pedantic… and a little ranty. Not too long ago, I was listening to a political podcast, and they starting talking about the difference between policy and politics. And they talked about it this way: they said that representatives needed to do the right thing—choose the right policy—regardless of how the politics would play out. They made it sound like governing was one thing and politics was another. They made it sound like the politics of a moment was about how things would play out in the media, on the campaign trail,…
Last week, Nike unveiled Colin Kaepernick as one of the faces of an ad campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of their iconic ‘Just Do It’ slogan. That’s something to celebrate. Kaepernick has been marginalized by the NFL and mocked by the political right for his protests against police violence in black communities. Having his face on print ads and his voice in commercials has helped reignite a national conversation about those protests and, maybe, it will encourage more conversations about these issues. But I’m not writing this post to congratulate Nike for good marketing. Nike has been an expert…
Last week, I published a post about Anthony Kennedy’s retirement. In that post, I was trying to make two important points: First, while many of my friends and colleagues are treating Kennedy’s retirement — and Trump’s second Supreme Court nomination — as a crisis, that changes very little for many Americans. To summarize a guest on Lovett or Leave It last week, the left has treated the courts as Alexa for civil rights. We’ve expected the courts to implement progressive policies. But that does not mean that most people have enjoyed the results of those policies. Those of us who are relatively privileged…
Weather just does not cooperate with rallies in the Quad Cities. But despite temperatures in the 90s and a head index over 100 degrees, people gathered in VandeVeer Park in Davenport, Iowa, to rally in support of immigrant families who have been torn apart by the administration’s zero-tolerance policy, ICE raids, and deportations. Everyone there recognized the same basic truth: the United States desperately needs substantial and compassionate immigration reform. FacebookTwitterLinkedInredditBuffer…
Like a lot of progressives, I was upset to hear about Anthony Kennedy’s looming retirement. He was a conservative justice, but he was a conservative justice with principles. And, sometimes, those principles led him to rule in favor of people who were oppressed and suffering. Those principles made him a swing vote, and his vote on the Supreme Court made a difference. Now, he has ceded his legacy to a reactionary Republican Party and the people who lead it. And I have no doubt that over the next generation the Court will chip away at reproductive choice, LGBTQ rights,…

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