Weekend reading


Comedian Phoebe Robinson is tired of being the token black girl

Injured at work? Your gender could affect how much you’re paid

Despite legacy of racism, black women rock on

The female cinematographers of Neon Demon, Creed and Dope discuss their experiences in a male-dominated field

The Virginia driver’s license scheme that punishes poor people


Weekend reading


Female scientists asked how they would cope without men or makeup in space.

A new paper rebuts the notion of a “Ferguson effect.”

Gender inequality is not possible without abortion.

A new report looks at who runs for office in the US. 2 out of 3 candidates are white men.

New women-run site The Establishment talks to comedian W. Kamau Bell about comedy in the age of social media.

5 reasons why being poor can actually be incredibly expensive.

In honor of the great talk by Ta-Nehisi Coates I was lucky enough to attend last week, 2 throwback recommendations to his pieces on the case for reparations and the black family in the age of mass incarceration.

Weekend reading

Care Net ad

At NARAL Pro-Choice California, we had some fun “welcoming” an anti-choice conference to San Diego.

What would it look like to decriminalize sex work? Just ask New Zealand.

What it’s like to live on $2 a day in the United States.

Republican’s mind blown when witness tells him some Planned Parenthood patients are mothers.

Women aren’t here to smile for you.

5 female farmworkers will be awarded $17 million after facing rape and harassment.

Only 3 of 45 House Democrats who who voted “no” on Obamacare are still there.

The secret to Connie Britton’s amazing hair is feminism.

We need poor people in Congress

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who was once a recipient of public assistance, talks about food stamps and lawmakers' SNAP challenge. Photo via accfb.org.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who was once a recipient of public assistance, talks about food stamps and lawmakers’ SNAP challenge. Photo via accfb.org.

We all recognize on some level that the circles that members of Congress run in are very different from the ones where most of us live our lives. But a new piece by Stephen Lurie over at The Atlantic shows just how stark the disparity really is:

For the first time, more than half of the members of Congress are millionaires. Nearly 200 are multimillionaires. One hundred are worth more than $5 million; the top-10 deal in nine digits. The annual congressional salary alone—$174,000 a year—qualifies every member as the top 6 percent of earners. None of them are close to experiencing the poverty-reduction programs—affordable housing, food assistance, Medicaid—that they help control. Though some came from poverty, a recent analysis by Nicholas Carnes, in his book White Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policymaking, found that only 13 out of 783 members of Congress from 1999 to 2008 came from a “blue-collar” upbringing. None of them have experienced that poverty in decades; those who did did so under vastly different public-policy circumstances.

That’s less than 2% of members of Congress who have lived a “blue collar” lifestyle, compared to 54% of Americans who have held blue collar jobs as adults. It adds new meaning to the concept of politicians’ being out of touch.  Continue reading “We need poor people in Congress”

A little civil war can be a good thing

Elizabeth Warren, Bill de Blasio (Credit: Reuters/Joshua RobertsAP/Ricardo Arduengo)
Elizabeth Warren, Bill de Blasio (Credit: Reuters/Joshua RobertsAP/Ricardo Arduengo)

Joan Walsh writes in Salon this week that pundits and hopeful right-wingers trying to drum up drama are wrong in thinking there’s a civil war among Democrats. She goes after centrists who claim the party is threatened by “dead end” populism.

Personally, I think it’s really not helpful for Democrats to caricature other Democrats as selling “hate” if they point to the disproportionate income, wealth and political power currently enjoyed by the 1 percent. Hell, even some 1 percenters think the pendulum has swung too far. (Not crazy sore winners like Tom Perkins, of course.)

I debated Third Way’s Matt Bennett about this topic on “Hardball.” It was a friendly, civil debate; you can watch at the end of this post. But I was struck by a couple of things. Bennett — correctly, I think — insisted candidates and parties win when they have a vision for the future. And yet he – like his centrist comrades in the Balz-Rucker piece – continue to push Third Way’s 30-year-old Democratic Leadership Council approach, on a country that’s crying out for new ideas. It’s Third Way that’s looking backward, not progressives.

The attitude Walsh calls out is epitomized by a tone deaf op-ed by Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler in the Wall Street Journal:

If you talk to leading progressives these days, you’ll be sure to hear this message: The Democratic Party should embrace the economic populism of New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Such economic populism, they argue, should be the guiding star for Democrats heading into 2016. Nothing would be more disastrous for Democrats.

While New Yorkers think of their city as the center of the universe, the last time its mayor won a race for governor or senator—let alone president—was 1869. For the past 144 years, what has happened in the Big Apple stayed in the Big Apple. Some liberals believe Sen. Warren would be the Democratic Party’s strongest presidential candidate in 2016. But what works in midnight-blue Massachusetts—a state that has had a Republican senator for a total of 152 weeks since 1979—hasn’t sold on a national level since 1960.

This debate surfaces eternal frustrations I have with the Democratic Party and people who would pull it to the center. It’s often repeated that the Democratic Party isn’t nearly as liberal as Republicans are conservative (though a recent Gallup poll showed liberal identification at it highest ever). But many of the policies that are painted with the liberal brush are hardly fringe.

Continue reading “A little civil war can be a good thing”

Weekend reading

A sports anchor invokes Audre Lorde in a statement supporting Michael Sam. The Daily Show made some similar points with its typical biting sarcasm. Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why the NFL will never be “ready” for an openly gay player.

There was a hung jury on the murder charge against Michael Dunn for the killing of unarmed black teenager Jordan Davis. Sadly, this list from Mother Jones of 21 things you can’t do while black is reinforced.

A tech writer engages in an experiment of only retweeting women for a year.

More on why marriage isn’t the solution to poverty.