“If lawmakers don’t make functional elections a priority between now and 2016—at a minimum, approving a full slate of commissioners—we could see even longer lines than the ones that plagued the 2012 election in states like Florida and Wisconsin, and in counties such as Richland, South Carolina, where some waited a whopping seven hours. Why so long? Because Richland County, like so many others, had a lot more voters than in 2010—28 percent—and 12 percent fewer working machines.”—Abby Rapoport. Click through to find out the solution to making elections work this year.
There were many liberals on social media who expressed the opinion that Harris-Perry shouldn’t have apologized, mainly because it would only deliver succor to the enemies of liberalism, who are a dastardly bunch. But Harris-Perry’s words and evident sincerity made it clear that the apology wasn’t about conservatives, it was about her. She chose to do the right thing, to commit a morally righteous act even if people she doesn’t like would enjoy it.
In other words, she removed herself from the political calculation that asks of everything, “Which side is this good for?” That isn’t easy for someone involved in politics to do, because so many forces push you to see every controversy primarily from that perspective. Had Harris-Perry been focused on not giving her critics any satisfaction, or simply keeping up the fight, she might have given one of those familiar non-apology apologies. She might have said: Listen, imagining Mitt and Kanye at Thanksgiving together isn’t exactly like, say, that time during the Clinton presidency when John McCain asked the crowd at a Republican fundraiser, “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.” That was truly despicable; what I did was a misdemeanor at best.
But she didn’t say those things; instead, she acted the way a good person would, the way most of us hope we’d act in an analogous situation in our own lives. She overcame the natural instinct to be defensive that we all share and to say that our good intentions should absolve us of blame.
2013: “Briefly laying aside differences hardened over decades, President Barack Obama on Tuesday shook the hand of the president of Cuba at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela.”
2013: “Obama Shakes Hands With Raul Castro. Let’s All Freak Out.”
2013: “An encounter between Obama and Iran’s new president at the United Nations on Tuesday would be the most important—or at least the most analyzed—handshake since the historic grip between Rabin and Arafat (or, if you prefer, Nixon and Elvis).”
2011: “It is not unusual for members of European royalty to greet Japan’s imperial couple with a social kiss. Therefore, the agency does not consider such a greeting to be a breach of etiquette. For the record, Mrs. Clinton greeted the emperor with a handshake.”
2010: ”A conservative Muslim minister in Indonesia who is being criticized for shaking hands with Michelle Obama—and thus violating his pious claim that he avoids contact with women not related to him—blamed the exchange on the First Lady and said the touching was not his fault.”
2009: “What’s in a handshake? The clasping of hands by President Barack Obama and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has set off a debate over what kind of signal Obama was sending.”
2005: “‘If I want to talk with you, I’ll shake your hand,’ says one man. ‘I ain’t gonna hold your hand and walk down the damn street, you know.’ Told that that’s the way it’s done in the Middle East, the man says: ‘They don’t do it in New York City that way.’”
2000: ”The White House says Fidel Castro approached Bill Clinton. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told reporters: ‘As I understand it, it was a chance encounter that Mr Castro initiated.’”
2000: “George W. Bush called on Al Gore at the Vice-President’s official residence in Washington as a light snow fell, but there was little sign of frostiness between the pair. They shook hands, smiling for cameras outside the Old Naval Observatory before disappearing inside.”
1995: “Clinton says handshake with Serbian president was difficult”
1995: “‘Gerry was concerned about the protocol of how he should go up to the President, but when he walked up, the President gave him a very big handshake,’ said Representative Peter T. King, a Republican from Seaford, L.I., who sat to the right of Mr. Adams at the lunch. After an awkward moment of silence, the room exploded with applause.”
1987: ”So if it was nothing more than a handshake, that was quite enough. The President of the United States and the leader of the Soviet Union—whose societies’ enmity is as elemental as that of two Stone Age alpha males—redefined the gesture. No man, even a superpower’s head of state, can hold a thousand nuclear warheads in his hand, yet at the fingertips of each of these men is the button that, when pressed, could reduce our world to an ash.”
"More than half of renters—21.1 million households—were cost burdened in 2012, paying more than 30 percent of income for housing. This is the greatest number of housing cost burdened renters on record.”
"Twenty-two billionaires—just shy of two percent of the world’s total—have purchased units in a condominium tower being built in Sunny Isles Beach, a small city in Miami-Dade County.”
"More than half of families in the United States earn $60,000 or less per year.”
"Just over a year after launching, though, the only customer review on Blackjet’s iPhone app called the [Uber for private jets] service ‘horrible,’ complaining about the one month approval process after paying the $2,500 fee: ‘I’ve had less hassle getting into the White House (and I’m not kidding about that).’”
There was a 47 percent increase in the rate of Texas children living in poverty from 2000 to 2011, according to the Kids Count report by the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank that advocates for low-income Texans. That was faster than the 18 percent growth rate in the child population in Texas during the same period.
Twenty-seven percent of Texas children were living in poverty in 2011, a rate that put the Lone Star State among the nine worst states.
Poverty is “almost a canary in the coal mine,” said Frances Deviney, Texas Kids Count director at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. “Poverty is not destiny, but it certainly puts kids off on the wrong foot.”
The children couldn’t date—that was a given—but they also weren’t allowed to develop friendships. Between ages 10 and 12, Lauren says she only got to see friends once a week at Sunday school, increasing to twice a week in her teens when her parents let her participate in mock trial, a popular activity for Christian homeschoolers. Their parents wanted them naïve and sheltered, Lauren says: “18 going on 12.”
Mixed with the control was a lack of academic supervision. Lauren says she didn’t have a teacher after she was 11; her parents handed her textbooks at the start of a semester and checked her work a few months later. She graded herself, she says, and rarely wrote papers. Nevertheless, Lauren was offered a full-ride scholarship to Patrick Henry College in Virginia, which was founded in 2000 as a destination for fundamentalist homeschoolers. At first her parents refused to let her matriculate, insisting that she spend another year with the family. During that year, Lauren got her first job, but her parents limited the number of hours she could work.
Even conservative Patrick Henry felt like a bright new reality. While much about the college confirmed the worldview Lauren grew up in, small freedoms like going out for an unplanned coffee came as a revelation. She describes it as “a sudden sense of being able to say yes to things, when your entire life is no.”
The White House is expecting a very important guest tomorrow. Said guest is adored by the children of the nation, loves Beyoncé, is obsessive about exercise, and a total ham in front of the press. He also tastes delicious with cranberry sauce. Yes, we’re talking about the national turkey.
“Today I read a study that sheds some light on why this might be. It isn’t just that liberals are more divided and conservatives are more united, it’s also that liberals believe they’re more divided, and conservatives believe they’re more unified, even when it’s not necessarily true. The study asked people about their opinions on a range of questions on both political and non-political topics, then asked them to guess what proportion of people who shared their general ideology agreed with them on that particular question. The results showed that liberals displayed a “truly false uniqueness effect”—they were more likely to think that their views were different from those of their peers, even when they weren’t—while conservatives displayed a “truly false consensus effect,” believing that their views were the same as their peers, even when they weren’t.”—Paul Waldman
“I strongly suspect that Healthcare.gov is never going to be easy to use. That doesn’t mean the catastrophic problems like the site seizing up when it has too many users won’t be solved, and it doesn’t mean that people won’t be able to complete their applications without tearing their hair out. But there’s little evidence so far that the contractors who created it are capable of designing something that’s genuinely easy to use. In the end, it’ll probably be sufficient, but not nearly as good as it could be.”—Paul Waldman
If someone is looking for the perfect example of how the 113th Congress functions, it doesn’t get much better than last week. The Senate beat back a filibuster to pass a popular bill with support from every Democrat in the chamber and a handful of Republicans.
In case you haven’t heard, in the last week or so we’ve found out that Paul gave a speech that included a lengthy description of the movie Gattaca, a description lifted word for word from the movie’s Wikipedia entry. And he gave a speech that included a description of the movie Stand and Deliver, lifted from that movie’s Wikipedia page. And he lifted a part of another speech from an AP story. And he lifted a part of a speech from a Focus on the Family report. And he copied part of a column he wrote for the Washington Times from an article in The Week. And he plagiarized reports from the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, and an article in Forbes, in his 2012 book Government Bullies.
You have to work hard to commit that much plagiarism.
“He really does want to see how New York City can become less unequal and more capable of promoting upward mobility. But assuming things go the way the polls suggest, he still faces an enormous challenge.”—Professor John Mollenkopf, forecasting what’s next for de Blasio.